Quick fix for the faking of injuries

Football players have been faking injuries since long before Rodney Dangerfield suffered a “broken arm” while golfing.  MDS took a great look at the Giants’ chicanery on Monday night, with two players pretending that they’ve fallen and they can’t get up at a time when the Rams had the New York defense on its heels with a no-huddle offense.

So what can be done about it?  Not much.  The official rule book explains only that the Competition Committee doesn’t approve the “feigning” of injuries, and that coaches “are urged to cooperate in discouraging this practice.”

Hell, the coaches are likely the ones who are encouraging it in the first place.

As discussed during Tuesday’s PFT Live, the only way to deal effectively with fake injuries is to remove the incentive for faking.  The league did just that years ago, by taking away a timeout from any team that has an injury in the final two minutes of either half.  To guard against fake injuries when the clock is running out, the NFL adopted a blanket, no-fault approach that essentially treats every injury during that window as a potential fake, in order to ensure that there will be none.  (After a team is out of time outs, injuries in the final two minutes can result in a five-yard penalty or a 10-second runoff.)

And so when it comes to last night’s situation — a defense trying to keep up with a no-huddle offense — the fix is simple.  The league should expand the rule book to strip a time out from any team with a defensive player who is injured while the opposing offense is using a no-huddle attack.  No questions asked, no fingers pointed.  If a guy is injured on defense while defending against a no-huddle offense, his team loses a time out.

The only real challenge would be to come up with an appropriate definition of “no-huddle offense.”  But it would entail something along the lines of two or more consecutive plays snapped with 25 seconds or more on the play clock.

Either way, there’s no way to truly prove that injuries are being faked.  The best way is to take away the benefit of faking.

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97 responses to “Quick fix for the faking of injuries

  1. I got a better idea, fine the Giants 250 grand, and suspend both faking players AND Head Coach Tom Coughlin 2 weeks! I bet that would put and end to this stuff fast!

  2. I’m sure it’s chosen at random, but kind of a bad screen shot to show on the PFT Live video here. Considering Dominik Hixon actually did, ya know, get hurt…

    Also, wouldn’t it be tough to really determine whether a team really is utilizing the no-huddle? Aside from the time stipulations you mention, what’s to stop them from a running a play, seeing an opposing player down on the field, and quickly hustling to the line to give the appearance of a no huddle attack??

  3. Yeah, great suggestion…..until someone is actually hurt real bad, gets carted off, or worse is laying on a board with his neck in a brace. Once he is scraped off the turf, then Ed Hochuli can announce the team has been stripped of a timeout. Stay classy Mike.

  4. really giants? feigning injuries is the last thing you want to do, lest it becomes real…o wait…here comes karma

  5. i think this dead horse has been sufficiently beaten.

    and for the record….i am a giants fan….and right now, they are complete garbage.

  6. There is an easier solution. Have the player sit out more than one play. Make it 10 plays when the team in a no huddle.

    No need to start taking timeouts or fining people. If that player has to sit out 10 plays or even 5 they will think twice.

  7. Why not simply make a rule that prevents defenses from substituting players during a defensive injury timeout, other than the player who was injured, whenever the offense is running a no-huddle?

  8. Considering that the NFL is all about safety, why don’t the nfl try something like, if a player goes down injuried he has to leave the field and my not re-enter the action until the next serises is played be it offence or defence.

  9. Ummm, sooooo, you’re saying this is a good idea:

    Player A gets a compound fracture on the first series of the game, but the opposing offense is running the no-huddle, so Player A’s team gets charged a timeout.

    That’s absurd.

  10. The NFL could make a rule that any injured player during a no-huddle attack must then leave the field and not be available for the remainder of that series as well as the next one to follow. I can assure you that will cut down on the faking of injuries if you risk losing a key player for that series and the next. It kind of mirrors the penalty box in hockey and the rules in soccer where a player that leaves for the sideline for quick treatment can re-enter play until play has officially stopped. In soccer, that can be ages.

  11. What if they don’t have any T.O.’s left? Sure the likelihood is minimal but it’s still there. This is done by coaching. I’ve heard a lot of good and bad ideas posted here, but what about suspending the coach for a game or so? That may change the attitude towards this.

  12. How about if a Defensive player is down injured he has to come out for the rest of that Offense drive/possession?

  13. Dumb idea…..too many variables. How about an easier fix….the player that gets “hurt” has to remain out of the game for at least 4 plays. That way if a player really is injured he would have been out those plays anyway and if he is faking he just took himself off the field for the next drive. Players won’t want to come off the field. It won’t eliminate the soccer-like strategy but it would lessen it.

  14. Buckybadger and Adamrugbyireland beat me to it: just make them sit out four plays or ten plays or a series or whatnot.

  15. This is the 3rd or 4th article about faking injuries in a little over 2 hours. I just saw a replay on ESPN, not of faking injuries, but of that moron Boley throwing a football at the interns face. I think if anything, punish him for being a complete a’hole. Then he continued to celebrate! Really! You just hit a kid in the face!

    Come on man!

  16. It might be better to impose an amount of time that an injured player has to stay off of the field. Someone who is really injured probably wouldn’t be coming back anyway. So keep all injured players off of the field for a minimum of 10 minutes of clock time. No one will want to lose a starter for 10 minutes unnecessarily.

  17. If a team gets unlucky with injuries, they’d be out of timeouts in the first five minutes against guys like Tom Brady or Peyton Manning. Also, what if a team is out of time outs already? A better idea is to give the defense the choice to either lose a time out, get a five yard penalty, or to keep the player out for a predetermined amount of plays (maybe the rest of the drive). Obviously this idea needs work, i.e. if the plays at the goal line, a five yard penalty (which would turn into half the distance to the goal line) means nothing and the defense would have no problem keeping out their nickel corner for the rest of the “drive” in favor of an extra linebacker or defensive lineman. I think it’s a good place to start from though.

  18. I can see it already, defensive players gets injured, offense races to the line to go no huddle so the other team gets stripped of a timeout. Just like Peyton Manning used to when the defense tried to sub, run to the line and snap it.

  19. How about all of the “faked” injuries that aren’t reported? Prove they faked. Alot of “injuries” don’t show up in x-ray or MRI. If you can’t prove it, move on.

  20. as many have said, the player should come out of the game for a decisive number of plays or minutes unless the coach wants to burn a timeout to put the player back in sooner.

  21. What if the team is out of time outs? Add 10 seconds to the clock instead of a 10 second run off (as is done for the offense)? The real quick and easy fix is to limit substitution to the injured player and make him sit out a number of plays on that drive.

  22. OMG you mean another team besides the one
    I root for has been accused of CHEATING !@>!@? Stupid b#astards. Just like sign stealing,
    every team does it. Idiots.

    Yo, they ain’t giving the rings back. Get over it.

  23. Yeah, great solution, except for the UNLIKELY SCENARIO in PRO FOOTBALL when someone is ACTUALLY INJURED.

    Man alive.

  24. If the NFL can see via video after the match that a player faked an injury i.e. goes down whining and hurting without another player actually having done anything to him, dock them a game cheque and ban them a game (essentially two game cheques).

    I don’t know of anyone who would risk their livelyhood for faking an injury…

  25. So let’s say they have to sit out a series or a game or until january, you think teams wouldn’t pull a hockey move and just throw someone out there from the practice squad to fake getting hurt?

  26. Why not just throw a flag for a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct in cases where it’s clear that the injury is to slow the game as in this situation? It’s already in the rulebook that it should be discouraged so they might not even have to change any rules to justify throwing a flag in those situations.

  27. This would suck for a team with a legit injury. Why not require the injured player to sit out until a change of possession? They they can only “fake” a few injuries and legit injuries dont cost the teams.

  28. Compel the “injured” defensive player to sit out the remainder of that particular offensive series to allow for sufficient time to “recuperate” on the sidelines. That would effectively deter fake injuries designed to stall no-huddle offensive schemes, and it would have the added benefit of allowing truly injured players sufficient time to be evaluated by medical staff. If the defensive player is not seriously injured, or is injured but is able to continue playing, then he must be able to get back into position for the next snap.

  29. Your solution doesn’t account for teams faking injury who don’t happen to have a timeout and need to substitute a package of players or rethink their strategy in a critical moment.

    It’s a problem either way, you don’t want to penalize teams unfairly when their players get legitimately hurt either.

  30. Oh that crap has been going on forever, I remember the Patriots Willie Mcginnest pulling that fake injury crap 8-9 yrs ago against the Colts when Peyton was had the Patriots D gassed and was about to score. Even the commentators called him out it was so obvious when he came back in 1 play later.
    No way to stop it really, just a bad part of the game.

  31. I detest cheating of any sort at any level. And I don’t care to hear from you idiots that think it is strategic or “anything goes to win.” BS. If you can’t try to beat somebody fair and square, you’re already a loser.

  32. Do you even watch football? Anybody who watches a team run the no huddle would know that the majority of times the play clock runs down pretty far. The no huddle is there more for the threat that the ball can be snapped quickly, preventing substitutions.

  33. No need for rules changes, as this type of thing is rare, and isolated to those few teams like the Patriots, Giants and Eagles, who sport low character.

    I doubt very much that it even occurs to the majority of the NFL to pull such a bush league, nancyboy maneuver. The embarrassment of the team and it’s fans is punishment enough.

  34. In MOST games, the defense suffers three injuries that require attention. Under your rule, defenses facing a no huddle would have to spend a majority of their time outs dealing with routine injuries.

    Obviously, that is a stupid idea.

  35. I’m sure players fake injuries even when the no-huddle isn’t being utilized such as when a team is in rhythm and has momentum.

    Many have nailed it when they said that an injured player shouldn’t be allowed back on the field until the series/possession is over.

    Losing a starter hits the team harder than losing a time out.

  36. another easy, blanket rule:

    if a player is “hurt”, he can’t re-enter the game for the rest of the half…I mean, hey we all know how concerned Roger is about player safety now, right? Gotta keep’em safe 😉

  37. Maybe extend the amount of time before a player can return from an ‘injury’ that resulted in the stoppage of play?

    Also, your proposal for determining a ‘no-huddle’ wouldn’t work. That would be fine against the hurry-up offense, but the no-huddles you’ve seen by the Pats/Rams/etc didn’t have many plays snapped within 25 seconds of each other. They get to the line fast to prevent subs, but then the QB will sit at the line, and read the defense while the play clock winds down, audible as needed, etc.

    A square is always a rectangle, a rectangle isn’t always a square. A hurry-up is always a no-huddle, a no-huddle isn’t always hurry-up.

  38. Actually, the quick fix would be to ban the hurry up offense. The only reason it was being run was to prevent defensive substitutions. Running to the line and snapping the ball to try and catch the defense from getting into position is just as cheap as the counter, faking injuries. I want to see an Offense vs. a Defense, not a Scooby Doo chase sequence.

  39. I just heard a great idea from Mike Reiss that actually WOULD work.

    When a player injury stops the clock, he currently has to come off the field for one play.

    We should just change this to four or five plays.

  40. Better idea: Since you must go out for 1 play after the “injury” make it 2 plays for the second “injury” 3 for the third and so on…

  41. Any injured player (offense or defense) must remain on the sideline until any of the following occurs:

    1) a scoring play
    2) a change of possession
    3) a timeout is called by either team

    Such a good solution that it has zero chance of implementation.

  42. How about this: when a defensive player is injured in this situation, every other defensive player on the field has to immediately start doing pushups until the “injury” situation is resolved, and no contact with the sideline or unrelated substitutions is allowed.

    Hey, it could work… 🙂

  43. If a defensive guy is “injured” how about requiring him to stay on the bench until the ball turns over, the other team scores or loses the ball, and his defense is then back on the field.

    Same on offense — but I’m sure this is less of a problem there.

  44. both guys should be suspended for the awful way they perpetrated the fakes, my dog rolls over and plays dead better than they faked their injuries.

  45. “you wanna lay down and cry?? i’ll give you something to cry about!!” -my mom. it cured that crap up real quick.

  46. Am I really the only one who chuckles when this happens? I’ve seen it done on many occasions, both teams know its happening.It’s not a big deal, so as long as teams don’t start doing it on every play.

    Are we going to start enforcing 15 yard penalties every time a WR catches the ball off the turf and tries to sell it as a catch? Will we start taking away timeouts when coaches ask for a measurement just to stop the clock?

    This just smells like the kind of backlash any big market team would get for nything that’s pseudo controversial.If it had been the Pats that did this on primetime, there’d be Jets and Dolphin fans here ripping them. If it had been the Eagles, it would’ve been fans of the rest of the NFC East. If it’d been the Raiders, it would’ve been, well, everybody.

  47. Construct a football version of hockey’s penalty box—an “injury box”. Call it a Goodell Box.

    Send injured player to Goodell Box for a medical examination/treatment and fair-play/ethical counselling with a Tony Dungy-approved pastor.

    This should take 3-5 minutes, which forces injured player to miss 4-10 plays. Guarantees that injured players get proper treatment and injury fakers never fake it again.

  48. Here is a better solution:

    A player takes a dive and pretends to be hurt.

    If his “injury” stops the progress of the game for a significant amount of time (5+ seconds), then that player is hauled to the sideline and is mandated to remain on the sideline for the remainder of the defensive series, plus the next 2 or 3 defensive series (which may well add up to an entire quarter).

    If a player faking an injury runs the risk of sitting on the sidelines for a quarter or so, they might think twice about faking it. Of course, it’ll be more evident that the team is planning on diving when, in critical moments, you see coaches subbing in star players with 3rd string scrubs who then mysteriously go down…..

  49. For those a little slow on the uptake… under Mike’s proposed fix, the offense would not be able to “rush up to the line” when they saw an injured opponent. It isn’t that the offense suddenly wants to start the no-huddle… it’s that they’ve been doing it. If they’ve been in it for some quantifiable time (MF suggests 3 plays in 25 seconds), then the consequence would kick in.

    Honestly, MF gives you enough to get on his case for. The least you could do is understand what he is saying before you pile on.

    Next, I don’t know that making the injured player sit out “the next four plays” is the answer, either. As someone pointed out, this could be the difference in a goal line situation of getting your nickel corner off the field… something you wouldn’t mind missing for a few plays.

    I say if the no-huddle parameter is established (by some quantifiable measurement) give the defense a choice:
    1) they can spend a timeout or
    2) the “injured” player can sit out the remainder of this drive and the next

    If they have no timeout, that player has to sit out the remainder of this drive and the next.

    It wouldn’t be hard to quantify, either. If there is a timeout, the game is stopped anyway, and we at home go to commercial. If there is a question of whether or not the offense was in no huddle mode, the Head Referee can go under the replay hood and check the prior 3 snaps against the game clock. If (in MF’s suggestion) the time between the snap 3 plays ago and the snap of the last play is less than 25 seconds, the consequence of “injury” is invoked, and the defensive coach has to make a choice.

  50. Any injured player remains off the field for a minimum of 10 plays or the entire drive, whichever is longer. I’m not how to or who would keep track of this, but a may be a solution. A timed period similar to a hockey penalty might also work, since it easier to track on the field.

  51. I think they should just go ahead and move the kickoffs up another 5 yards, and put bridles on running backs to allow horse collars.

  52. make it a safety issue…. you can’t have semi-hurt players running around out potentially doing damage to themselves, can you Goodell??? Don’t let them play for 5 defensive snaps or until the opposing team turns the ball over twice, whichever comes first…. just to make sure they’ve had time to be thoroughly evaluated, of course. And permit a sub only for the aforementioned injured player. no others.

  53. Only the player knows if he is faking or not he may or may not have cramped up.
    Maybe he was dehydrated have any of you used your medical degree to look into this?

    As for the ram fan you lost another game you should be used to that by now.

    Players cramp up all the time maybe it was something he ate or maybe it was just cramps

  54. rubbernilly says: Sep 20, 2011 7:08 PM

    “For those a little slow on the uptake…” etc..

    MF stated 2 or more not three. I just don’t like it when someone comes on here and berates all the posters without having their stuff together.

    Thanks for trying.

  55. It’s a dumb suggestion to do it during “no-huddle” only. Better solution is that when a player is injured and can’t get off the field on his own as a regular substitution and requires the ref to stop the play, his side of the ball plays short one guy for the next play. No matter what the situation.

    What this accomplishes is that only injuries that immobilize someone will stop play. A guy with a busted thumb isn’t going to sit there on the field holding up the game. A guy with turf toe isn’t going to sit there on the field holding up the game. Even a guy with a sprained ankle isn’t going to sit there on the field holding up the game. He’s going to get his ass to the sidelines so a sub can come in.

    As an accommodation for those legitimately hurt such as with a sprained ankle, they can be allowed to get off the field at the nearest point, even if it is the opposite sideline. A neutral medical person will then deal with his injury until he can either get to his sideline or his locker room.

    I haven’t thought this through but off the top of my head it makes sense. Beer?

  56. I have a sure fire simple solution. Any player on defense must be removed from field and can’t be replaced for two downs unless the team uses a time out. That removes the silliness. ENd of story

  57. QUICK FIX: Any player injured with under 2 minutes before the half or end of game can not enter the game until the 3rd Quarter or Overtime respectively. Throw in the timeout loss and/or 10 second runoff and problem solved.

  58. sh3nyg says:Sep 20, 2011 5:09 PM

    Ummm, sooooo, you’re saying this is a good idea:

    Player A gets a compound fracture on the first series of the game, but the opposing offense is running the no-huddle, so Player A’s team gets charged a timeout.

    That’s absurd.
    You’re telling me. How do they know a player’s faking anyway? Are the officials medically qualified? That can’t be determined until after an examination by a qualified doctor or at least, the Head Trainer. That is absurd. Hey, I have an idea: Why not ban no-huddle offenses period?
    Problem solved.

  59. I agree with those of you who said to take the player out for the whole series or the next series (if the faking is happening on 3rd or 4th down) perhaps. They need time to rest-up.

    And yes… the McGinest “injury” against Manning-led Colts was the BEST!

    Chargers were pulling this when the Patriots were going no-huddle this week, two. They did it a couple of times. It happens.

  60. ramsfanjoe says:
    Sep 20, 2011 5:01 PM
    I got a better idea, fine the Giants 250 grand, and suspend both faking players AND Head Coach Tom Coughlin 2 weeks! I bet that would put and end to this stuff fast!
    Yep, I’ll bet the Giants are the ONLY team to ever do this. Hey ramsfanjoe, maybe you should focus some of that anger at Cadillac Williams for being too stupid to go after a live ball. Or at the rest of the offense for not being able to get a TD on all those opportunities in the Red Zone.

    The Rams had 1st and Goal at the ONE, and they had to settle for a FG.

    And the final score was 28-16. Even if the Rams scored a TD in the No-Huddle (on the “fake injury” play), was that TD going to make the difference? What, a 12 point TD?

  61. 13forgbp says:Sep 20, 2011 5:12 PM

    Dumb idea…..too many variables. How about an easier fix….the player that gets “hurt” has to remain out of the game for at least 4 plays. That way if a player really is injured he would have been out those plays anyway and if he is faking he just took himself off the field for the next drive. Players won’t want to come off the field. It won’t eliminate the soccer-like strategy but it would lessen it.
    Sounds good in theory but the problem with that is they would have accomplished their objective of nullifying the effects of the no-huddle and could even send in a less valuable substitute player for that express purpose to slow the other team down, allow the injured player’s team time to get their act together, and replace the injured player with the more accomplished player. Nah, I think they ought to just leave it alone. The NFL has already screwed the game up to the point of tepidness as it is.

  62. Just have the ref nail the offending team with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, and let the team take it up with the league after the game.

  63. As pertains to the above post: Obviously this only works if the injured team anticipates the opposing team is going to resort to this tactic on the change of possession. Sorry, should have clarified my response. At any rate, I hope they don’t screw with the game any further. Next they’ll have them wearing pink ballerina tutu’s and slippers.

  64. Dont allow any sideline communication to the defense on the field or any substitutions other than to replace the “injured player” AND Lose a timeout and/or a 10 second runoff.

  65. Looked like this occurred during the Pats/Chargers game also; especially toward the end of the game. Chargers ????? You taking a fall ….? Just askin’.

  66. Simple solution: You can’t come back in that series. No timeout charged (unless it’s in the last 2 minutes) and no penalty. If you want to fake an injury then you can’t come back in until change of possession.

  67. numberoneinthehoodg says:
    Sep 20, 2011 8:21 PM
    rubbernilly says: Sep 20, 2011 7:08 PM

    “For those a little slow on the uptake…” etc..

    MF stated 2 or more not three. I just don’t like it when someone comes on here and berates all the posters without having their stuff together.

    Thanks for trying.

    * * * * *

    You’re right, but you didn’t go far enough. I also misinterpreted how the 25-seconds bit worked. I read it initially as “2 or more plays within 25 seconds.” Really, it was talking about how much time was left on the play clock after the ball was snapped for 2 or more consecutive plays. So there’s plenty more you could have gotten on me for. I just don’t like it when someone comes on here and berates another poster for berating other posters without taking into account the full sum of berating that should go on.

    That’s all.

    Doesn’t qualitatively change my point, though, about how people were misinterpreting the suggested plan. Be it 2 plays or 3, offenses still could not jump into no-huddle-mode after they see an injured defender just to try to take advantage of this suggestion.

  68. between the bad acting and boley nailing an intern in the face with the ball, I would say the giants are a huge embarrassment to the NFL in week two. Huge. Pretty pretty pretty huge.

  69. You people, with all your “Here’s a better way …” and “Oh, I know better” garbage “solutions” remind me of how George Costanza must’ve felt in the “Jerk Store” episode when he finally blew his stack.

    “The line is ‘Jerk Store’!! Its a smart joke for smart people and I’m not gonna dumb it down for some bonehead mass-audience!”

    That captures the essence of this entire thread.

  70. It’s very simple, if they are faking hit them with a delay of game flag because that is what they are doing.
    Officials have thrown flags for that on kickoffs and TD celebrations so why not fake injuries?

  71. Personally, I think the solution is to prevent the player from returning to the game, rather than tinkering with timeouts.

    If an injury is significant enough to prevent a player from making it to the sidelines, requiring the game to be stopped, they “must” be too injured to be allowed to return to the field without significant rest or treatment.

    So, if an injury timeout has to be called, that player should be banned from returning to play for the rest of the half.

    This not only serves a means to protect players from themselves and the established culture of “playing hurt”, thus meeting the NFL’s mandate of increasing safety provisions, but it also provides a significant disinsentive for faking injuries.

  72. According to all Pats fans (spygate) if everyone is doing it there is nothing wrong with it – sounds silly right? just like them trying to tell us Cheater Little Bill is a god……….CHEATERS.

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