Urlacher said Bears faked injuries to slow down offenses

AP

The history of “wink wink” injuries suffered by defensive players when no-huddle offenses are streaming down the field is a long one in the NFL, but it is usually accompanied by the kinds of denials we heard from former Giants safety Deon Grant in 2011 when he and a teammate both dropped to the ground at the same time when the Rams were driving quickly down the field.

With more offenses moving quickly, it’s something that’s probably going to continue to happen. In his new role as a talking head on FOX Sports, former Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher offered a primer for how to fake injuries when he explained what the Bears defense used to do if they were in need of a breather in the middle of a possession.

On FOX Football Daily, via the Chicago Sun-Times, Urlacher explained how a coach would make a motion as if he was diving into a pool and the team’s “designated dive guy” would get “hurt.” Urlacher said the tactic was also useful early in the season when defenders might lose steam more easily. Somewhat incredulously, Urlacher also said that the tactic “wasn’t coached” while also saying it was “part of the game plan.”

It’s not a tactic that can be easily stopped on the field by a referee who has no way of assessing the severity of an injury and who shouldn’t be put in the position of making such determinations. The league can fine teams that are found to be feigning injuries as a way to stop the clock, but the Rule Book doesn’t have much teeth when it comes to enforcement.

“The Competition Committee deprecates feigning injuries, with subsequent withdrawal, to obtain a timeout without penalty. Coaches are urged to cooperate in discouraging this practice.”

Coaches are also urged to win games so that they remain employed, which means that players are going to sometimes drop to the turf with cramps that resolve themselves at a fantastic rate. Unless a team goes overboard with how much they reach for the tactic, it’s hard to see anyone getting punished for it.

86 responses to “Urlacher said Bears faked injuries to slow down offenses

  1. Can’t see a story about fake injuries without thinking of Emmanuel Sanders even though he’s not on defense. Possibly the worst fake injury ever.

  2. There’s a simple way to avoid this. Rather than making people sit out only one play, make them sit out 4 downs or the rest of the series. “Injuries” will stop happening so frequently.

  3. The only time (outside of murder) when you should speak on the ills of a situation is if you are totally innocent. If you are being accused and are totally innocent then speak your mind; however if your hands are dirty then you should keep your mouth shut. Urlacher was a part of it and therefore not innocent so he should shut his mouth. I don’t know who he is trying to throw under the bus, but it can get someone in trouble other than him. I understand that he is a part of the media now, but playing this game could mean someone’s job currently or in the future. (this is not the no snitching policy – which is ridicuously stupid by the way) but pertaining only to sports.

  4. 1. This tactic is used league wide.

    2. It will always be a part of the game with the physicality on that side of the ball.

    3. With how offensively biased the league rules are-defensive squads must learn to take advantage of certain situations.

    4. I am beginning to see why Urlacher was not re-signed under the new regime.

  5. I think Urlacher may be a bit bitter the Bears wouldn’t extend him a reasonable offer for another year

  6. WAIT a minute…..

    Urlacher played for the Pats?

    Since the 01 Pats’ SB team, hundreds of players and coaches have come and gone from that organization over the years.

    In all that time, with all those players, not one word from any of them about anything.

    Amazing.

  7. Great now we’ll have a rule on this and fines, and the teams will recieve a tape from the league office showing poor and good examples of flopping.

  8. If they really cared, then a mandatory time off the field would be installed. You get injured, you need 8-10 plays to get better. That would slow it down just a bit. Lose the 11th guy for at least most of one drive and possibly portions of another.

  9. Urlacher confessed to it. This does not mean other teams aren’t cheating, but it doesn’t excuse the Bears either. “everybody’s doin’ it” doesn’t work in grade school, and shouldn’t be a valid excuse in professional sports.

    I like the idea of making players with injuries sit out four plays or an entire series, though it may be difficult for a referee crew to monitor/manage.

  10. so wait… the secret signal used to instruct a player to fake an injury was to make a diving motion? thats the best you could come up with to avoid being caught? i see we have real geniuses in charge of NFL teams.

  11. Reminds me of when Strahan was closing on the sack record so Brett Favre abruptly fell down without being touched so that his buddy could get the record.

    I’m surprised that Favre doesn’t take more flak for that. It couldn’t have been more obvious.

  12. tokyosandblaster says: Sep 4, 2013 1:45 PM

    “Lol. What a bunch of cheating jackwagons.”

    Including some Packers from time to time, I’m sure.

  13. Shanahan already has a plan in place to fake injuries nanoseconds prior to an important field goal attempt.

  14. Don’t believe him..he also told me that Dish Network “gives me everything a football fan wants every Sunday”..except for NFL Sunday Ticket..

  15. This news should reduce comments to the effect that football is played by men whereas soccer is played by divas who take dives.

  16. Watching New York do it live was the most hilarious thing I have ever seen. I must have rewound that play 237 times.

  17. If the “injured” player can’t walk off the field under his own power, then that team should not be allowed to replace him for the remainder of the series. I.e. like the power play in hockey.

    Fixed it.

  18. As a Patriots fan, I’ve seen plenty of people mysteriously hurt after getting up fine and walking around for a while.

    If they want to stop this, the only way the NFL will be able to stop it is to implement a system that removes a hurt player from the game for a minimum of a quarter.

    The major issue with that is if your QB goes down… you could lose a game.

  19. How about if all the “if you’re not cheating, you’re not trying, everyone else is doing it so it’s not cheating” posters just crawl back into your bubble and root for the Patriots?

  20. they gotta come up with something better than that.sure didn’t help.as long as they have Cutler they will never in big.

  21. Well, his ‘injury’ vs. Seattle not only ended his career, it also didn’t work, as Seattle won, and that loss pretty much wiped out Chicago’s playoff hopes.

    Way to disappoint 54!

    …you damned rat – that is stating the obvious.

    Such insight.

  22. Every team does it. Just like every team’s WR1 beats up their mother and their girlfriend. Let’s move on…

  23. @rculross7 says:
    Sep 4, 2013 1:52 PM
    There’s a simple way to avoid this. Rather than making people sit out only one play, make them sit out 4 downs or the rest of the series. “Injuries” will stop happening so frequently.

    =====

    The problem with this is that most of the time the injuries are faked because the offense is running the no-huddle and they are not swapping out players. If the offense doesn’t swap out players, the defense has no chance of swapping out players. So, by faking the injury the player who sits out one play could already be sitting out four downs or the rest of the series. It’s the rest of the defense that benefits.

  24. *Yawn*

    Is this going to turn into another SpyGate? And by that I mean, another waste-of-time controversy over something that’s, in effect, no big deal?

  25. Good. I hope to see MORE fake injuries. These hurry up offenses are out of control.

    I want to see teams score because of great athletic plays or because they outsmarted the opponent with a well designed play or formation.

    I don’t want to see an offense that depends on the defense getting tired. Seems cheap to me. That’s like soccer, not football.

  26. Simple solution – make the ‘injured’ player sit out the rest of the possession, or charge the team a timeout to put him back into the game sooner than that. However, the rule should allow for any player who was a victim of a called penalty to re-enter the game as soon as he is able.

  27. Well since defenders can’t hit anyone any more, they need to do something to try and stop an offense these days.

  28. Nothing new about this practice.
    I think it was the DOLPHINS who first did it to counteract the Bills Hurry-up K-Gun attack.
    In order to be able to make the substitutions they wanted they started faking injuries. If I’m not mistaken it was then that the NFL started the rule that you had to sit out the next play if you were “injured” on a play.

  29. bucrightoff says:
    Sep 4, 2013 1:42 PM
    If you’re not cheating, you’re not trying.

    ________________________________

    Sincerely,
    The Patriots

  30. I wouldn’t call it cheating… It’s more gamesmanship. If it goes overboard, then the referees should just call a 15 yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. That will fix it fast. For example, when the two Giants went down at once. That should have been a penalty. Most other sports has a diving penalty now that works to deter this kind of behavior. That said, if a player is actually a bit hurt on a play, why should they rush to get up against a nohuddle. If they actually tweaked an ankle or were winded, they should take advantage. That’s just legal gamesmanship.

  31. randomcommenter says:Sep 4, 2013 3:02 PM

    Good. I hope to see MORE fake injuries. These hurry up offenses are out of control.

    I want to see teams score because of great athletic plays or because they outsmarted the opponent with a well designed play or formation.

    I don’t want to see an offense that depends on the defense getting tired. Seems cheap to me. That’s like soccer, not football.

    ————————–

    Designing an offiense that tests the stamina and conditioning of the opposing team is a critical way to win a game. It’s no different that having an Adrian Peterson and just running him at the same part of the line over and over again. It is designed to wear down the defense. It’s always been part of the game.

    As for no-huddle, it’s been around for 25 years. It’s nothing new. The Bengals and Bills went to 5 superbowls with no-huddle as part of their offenses.

  32. Fast paced offenses are for simple minded coaches who can’t think of a way to methodically drive the ball down the field. Any honest coach would tell you that they would prefer long sustained drives to wear out the opposing defense and preserve their own defense. With rules tilted enough in favor of offenses, the fake injury is fine with me to level the playing field.

  33. I guess if every team can do this, its fair from that standpoint. Its not as if one team can do it and another cannot.

    I don’t think this is a big deal, I rarely see it.

  34. At least most of us never noticed it…..not like when the Giants had like four guys flop down on the field near their own goal line after getting the signal from the coaches on the sideline. They had no idea who was supposed to go down so they all did. Now THAT is organized cheating because it is clearly against the rules!

  35. damnsureis an idiot if he hasn’t realized by now that Cutler is tough on game day. If you don’t like the faces he makes, the way he pouted his way out of Denver, or the actual flaws in his game comment on those.he hasn’t ever come close to faking an injury.

  36. Wow, I didn’t think the vaunted Bears defense led by Urlacher needed to resort to taking dives to slow down offenses.

  37. Even if they say a player who gets “injured” has to sit out more time it won’t stop teams. You will just see a 3rd stringer jump in there and conveniently go down.

  38. Nothing new about this practice.
    I think it was the DOLPHINS who first did it to counteract the Bills Hurry-up K-Gun attack.
    In order to be able to make the substitutions they wanted they started faking injuries. If I’m not mistaken it was then that the NFL started the rule that you had to sit out the next play if you were “injured” on a play.

    __________________

    Close, but incorrect.

    Sam Wyche had one of the first continual hurry up offenses with the Bengals one year. Marv Leavy told his players to fake injuries to slow them down. He got away with it. Later he came up with the up-tempo K-gun offense based partly on what he saw Wyche doing.

  39. Russell Wilson and the Seahawks showed last year how old the Bears had become; if I remember clearly, Urlacher limped off with a hammie, and he wasn’t fakin’

  40. That explains Tim Jennings flopping on Seattle’s game-winning drive last year.

    Or maybe Michael Robinson really did just run his a$$ over.

  41. Fellow Chicago team, Northwestern did this last week against CAL. The faking was pretty obvious with trainers laughing as they were coming off the field and not even bothering to check the guy once on the sidelines.

  42. I guess it’s because pro athletes never have to hold a normal job that they act this way, but dishing dirt on former employers is trifling and unprofessional.

  43. so brian did you fake your injury at the end of the game against seattle or did russell really end your career? just had to reassure myself lol .

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