The issue of faked injuries has been part of football for as long as football has been part of American life. Way back in 1939, the NFL implemented a no-questions-asked rule that strips a timeout from any team who has a player suffer an injury in the final two minutes of either half, which removes the temptation to fake an injury in crunch time.
Still, the issue has become one of the dominant story lines of the week, thanks to an obvious effort by the Giants to use phony injuries to get a free timeout when the Rams were using a no-huddle offense in the first quarter of Monday night’s game between the two teams.
But even though the issue is getting widespread notice for the first time, it’s an old problem. Former Bucs and Colts coach Tony Dungy, now with NBC’s Football Night in America, shared some thoughts on the issue with PFT via email this morning.
“A lot of teams do it and it certainly isn’t new,” Dungy said. “We used to see it all the time when I was at Indy. In fact, we had players who came from other teams who could tell me when it was going to happen because they knew the coach’s signal. However, it’s tough for the officials or the league to prove and any time we would send in evidence, the answer would always be there
was no way they could know for certain. So it will continue but teams just have
to be more subtle than the Giants.”
Dungy made similar comments during The Dan Patrick Show, saying that the Texans were the biggest offenders when playing the Colts and quarterback Peyton Manning, who routinely operates without a huddle.
Confirming the lack of subtlety was former Giants linebacker Bryan Kehl, who recently told The Sports Xchange that Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell coaches the tactic. In response to Kehl’s comments, the league office has clammed up.
Advised of Kehl’s claim, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told Howard Balzer of The Sports Xchange that the Rams “have not made a formal complaint requesting an investigation. In addition, there is no basis for taking action against the Giants. Did you see Deon Grant’s comments?”
Balzer said that Grant’s comments came with Grant displaying his injured knee to the media — which happened to be a different knee than the knee the trainers examined after Grant supposedly was hurt. In response to that information, Aiello said, “The memo we sent to the clubs speaks for itself. We are not commenting further on last Monday night’s game.”
So, basically, the league wants to quit talking about the issue, primarily since the league believes there’s no way to solve it. Without, of course, extending the rule that applies in the final two minutes of each half to defensive teams that are facing a no-huddle offense.
For reasons neither known nor apparent, the league isn’t interested in making that fairly simple change.