When Greg Schiano arrived as the head coach of the Buccaneers, part of his tough-guy persona was ordering his players to try to blow up the opposing team’s kneeldowns at the end of games. Other coaches didn’t take kindly to that, and when Schiano washed out in Tampa Bay, it appeared that the practice of hitting other teams in the victory formation was a thing of the past.
And then the Rams resurrected it today.
After the Lions grabbed a game-clinching interception today against the Rams, the offense took the field for Matthew Stafford to kneel down. Multiple players on the Rams’ defense went full-speed on the play, and two Lions offensive linemen were pushed backward into Stafford, who hobbled around for a moment appearing to have hurt his leg.
On the next kneeldown, Stafford kneeled down and then lunged forward, deciding that if the Rams were going to push on the play, he would push back. Several players on both teams then pushed and shoved before separating and leaving the field.
Stafford appeared to be fine afterward, but Lions center Travis Swanson also appeared to be hurt on a kneeldown play, and he had an ice pack on his right hand afterward. The Lions said Swanson was going to get X-rays.
The Rams’ tactic of blowing up the victory formation is legal, but it tends not to sit well with opposing teams. If that’s the way the Rams plan to handle kneeldowns, it won’t make head coach Jeff Fisher and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams popular with their colleagues around the NFL.