NFL sides with Buccaneers on kneel-down controversy


Giants coach Tom Coughlin says Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano crossed the line by having his defensive linemen drill the Giants’ offensive linemen in an attempt to cause a fumble when the Giants were kneeling down on the last play of Sunday’s game.

But the NFL says Coughlin is wrong, and the Bucs didn’t violate any rules. The league says there will be no action taken and there were no violations during or after the kneel-down play, according to Mike Garafolo of USA Today.

In other words, NFL rules say a kneel-down play is a real play just like any other plays, and neither side needs to let up. Linemen on both sides can smash into each other just as they do on every other play, and if a defensive lineman makes it through before the quarterback kneels, he’s free to try to strip the ball.

At a time when the NFL is otherwise trying to reduce the number and severity of collisions on the field, Schiano’s approach to kneel-downs — and the NFL’s endorsement of that approach — could lead to some violent collisions on a play that has traditionally been treated by players on both teams as nothing more than a formality before shaking hands and heading to the locker room.

144 responses to “NFL sides with Buccaneers on kneel-down controversy

  1. Everyone knows the play was within the rules however it doesnt negate that it was cheap.

    Bad karma awaits the Bucs if giving up 600 yards and wasnt bad enough.

  2. They had to side with the Bucs.
    Regardless if you agree or not, if they had taken action against Tampa, hell would have been raised.
    You can’t tell players they can’t play

  3. I thought they got paid to play for 60 minutes….not 59:45. If you can’t see that a defensive lineman is getting ready to fire across the line and knock the crap out of you….maybe you should pay closer attention.

  4. As a Bucs fan I actually agree with Coughlin to an extent, it just seems pointless to me and I think he should probably just follow football etiquette and accept the loss.

    But at the same time I think he’s blowing things out of proportion. The odds of getting injured on that are about as high as us actually causing a fumble. Getting a couple linemen pushed and your QB falling lightly to the ground never killed anyone. A lot of fuss over a silly issue and it’s taking attention away from Eli’s ridiculous performance.

  5. If the Giants were up by two scores, it would be in bad taste and cheap.

    But if you have a chance to tie or win, then I say there is no issue with the call.

  6. No kidding, no action should be taken and I’m surprised the NFL even commented on it.

    Its a gentlemen’s agreement at that point. The Bucs had their chance to win and couldn’t do it. Just concede the loss at that point.

  7. The solution is the Oline needs to block just like they would on any other play. Don’t assume the other team has given up. Any hit to the QB after his knee is down should be fined.

  8. It was a good idea. Buc’s fans should be happy that they just didn’t live with the fact they were going to lose. It’s easy to prevent it, line up in shotgun with backs flanking you, the same types of collisions happen on FG try’s all the time. The NFL could adopt the “Don’t touch the center” rule in situations like these, as it would be easy to enforce.

  9. I must admit I thought it was smart. Why should the Giants be given a victory snap. Ryan Williams and Josh Morgan showed that teams can lose (or should have lost) on a single snap, so force a team to make a run play and play until the whistle.

  10. Good when there’s still a chance to win. Play every second of every game. With beer and parking costing what it does, the fans deserve all the real football they can get.

    Bad if there’s no chance to win. Sportsmanship has a place in the NFL, too.

  11. So why have the kneel down then? If the time on the clock is less than what a number of kneel downs would run off, then just end the game.

    But why stop there? If there’s less than a minute left in the game, there’s a punt or kick off and the kicking team is up by more than two TD’s, just end the game. No point risking injury on those plays, right?

    ….OR…just play the game out. Pick one.

  12. I agree with the NFL. It is a legitimate play. If one team is winning and they expect the other to do nothing, that is their choice but it is not a requirement. If the NFL wants to just end the game, they should determine the number of plays available to be run and the time left and just call it based on that. Otherwise, it is a REAL PLAY…and should be considered as such…by both sides. Who says the defense couldn’t somehow reach in there and cause a fumble?

  13. You could argue many times last year the Bucs didn’t play the full 60 minutes (more like they played about 10). And now they do and the Giants, a team who has two historic last second losses, wanna piss and moan about it?

  14. I stopped listening to the Giants complaints about other teams’ play styles after watching Giants defensive players engage in synchronized “cramping” to slow down drives.

  15. How about the lineman block it like a real play and there wont’ be any problems… they should protect the QB as if it were a slide… if someone is breaking through the line and sees the QB kneeling and he takes a shot, then there’s a violation… otherwise, call it like any other play…

    if the O-Line is getting casual on the last play of the game, maybe that’s where the real issue lies…

  16. Roger said it was ok? Then it MUST BE! Duh! I don’t care which side they say is right, in this situation it was a lose/lose for the NYG! If they take a knee, and the losing team comes through and someone gets hurt, they are screwed. If they make a play and score, the Bucs were gonna cry foul because the Giants were trying to pad stats, run up the score, and God forbid, one of the Bucs defensive players got hurt on a play that didn’t need to be made. After all, the game was all but over and all they had to do was kneel it out! Gotta follow your own feeling on how to do it, and then OWN IT! That’s what BOTH coaches did. They owned it, and now the chips will fall where there may.

  17. I don’t think Coughlin meant that the Bucs broke some rules… More like it was bad sportsmanship from the Bucs at the end of the game. Giants came back and took the game from them… They should be taking out their frustration on themselves for losing the game…

  18. So exactly what is the NFL supposed to say you think? Until they make a rule – probably next year- that creates some sort of powderpuff league rule that states “when less than 3 seconds left if the quarterback receives the snap then proceeds to twirl and curtsey he then cannot be touched by the opposing team and the game shall be deemed over.”

    I can guarantee you though there was a private call from Goodell to Schiano.

  19. It WAS a legitimate play…the Bucs were down one score, in the Giants’ territory…if Eli fumbles, & the Bucs pick it up (a la Herman Edwards), we’re talking about a heart-rendering miracle today. This “knee hunting” charge is complete BS, because the Bucs were going for the ball, not the knees. The Giants simply weren’t ready, which is Coughlin’s fault. Funny how if Coughlin is fresh off the field of Boston College trying to establish a culture in a Jacksonville, I have no doubt he’d be doing something like Schiano did. The man has gotten soft coaching this Tiffany franchise.

  20. Is it any different then when a QB fakes like he spiked the ball to stop the clock? Or the offense tries to do a quick snap to get the defense with 12 or more men on the field?
    There’s nothing stopping the center and QB from having a bad snap and fumbling the ball.
    Is it normal, no, but what they did is not against the rules, nor should it be. Everybody should be treating every play as real because it is. Its game time, not a walk through.
    (yes somebody can get hurt….just like on every other play)

  21. At a time when most fans have been complaining that the NFL is becoming more like a flag football league, I was surprised at how many were also complaining that the Bucs did this yesterday. I suspect it was mostly because there are a lot more Giants fans than Bucs fans, and they are going to side with their own team, no matter how much it made Coughlin and Eli look like pansies.
    It was a poorly officiated game all around (though to hear their fans tell it, the Giants were the only ones negatively affected by the refs.) I am just glad the NFL came out and put an end to this nonsensical argument.
    Cue the thumbs down, Giants fans…

  22. schiano is going to get someone on his team killed if he pulls this stuff all season. even bucs players were telling the giants guys–not our decision todo this.

  23. If the team is within a score to tie or win, why allow an opposing team to run plays that basically can nullify the last two minutes of a game, how does that make it a better experience to watch? How much more exciting would it be if they actually had to run plays and risk the chance of the turnover? Why take that element away from the fans??

    The kneel down hurts the integrity of the game and I applaud Schiano for trying to reverse this BS trend of ending games in this fashion.

  24. I think we all know what the Bucs did isn’t against the rules. It’s still a live play. But what Schiano did violate, in the eyes of Coughlin and a lot of coaches/players, was an unwritten rule of knowing when to call the dogs off.

  25. Of course the NFL isn’t going to take action…no rules were broken. The kneel down is an understood play between both lines. Bucs decided to forego tradition and turn it into a real play, which the Giants weren’t expecting.
    Just don’t let Schiano start complaining when one of his O-linemen gets taken out on the exact same play.

  26. Pretty simple, If the team is down by 8 or less then the play is live, Offensive line should block like an extra point. If the kneeling team is up more than 8 points then trying to kill the QB has no purpose other than being a cheap shot. In the case yesterday it was the Giants OL that should be scolded, not Schiano.

  27. The sole purpose of the victory formation (kneel-down) is to safe guard the football during last plays. It’s NOT to avoid last plays. It would be a complete waste and should be get rid of if teams just give up when see it.

  28. Cheap shot. Weak call by Schaino. Lame. Bush league.

    Was within the rules though.

    Gianst have bigger fish to fry. Coughlin made his point and I agree with him and Eli.

    Onward to Carolina….

  29. Duh, of course it was legal, but its against the unwritten rules.

    For example, but schiano like if the giants did that to his oline and freeman? Probably not…

  30. yeah it’s all the giants fault for using a play that teams have used for years to end the game without anybody getting hurt in a game that was over except for a couple of meangless seconds left on the clock. they never said it was a rules violation only a violation of common sense and fair play that has been in use for years. it’s called a victory formation for a reason. yeah eli should have called a audible because schiano was being a douche. since nobody had ever done that before why would the giants be ready for it no matter what stance they were in. I hope whoever is beating the crap out of the bucs calls time and kicks a field instead of a kneel down and see how they like having the score run up on them instead of letting the clock run out.

  31. I don’t think the Giants think they did anything against the Rules, but I think they thought it was poor sportsmanship. If this is the way that TB is going to play for 60 minutes, then why didn’t TB do the same thing right before halftime? Eli took a knee and TB hardly lined up? The difference is because TB was winning and they just picked off Eli and scored. At the end of the game, they were basically sore losers cause they blew a 14 point lead in the 4th quarter. If TB did the same thing at halftime as it did at the end of the game, then I would be ok with it. But they didn’t.

  32. I don’t like that Win Formation at all , These people are paid millions to play that game .

    Then play it until the REAL end . Run the ball instead of that stupid kneel down.

  33. “We play hard until the end” -paraphrased

    OK a couple of questions then.

    1) Why did you LET them score a TD to get the ball back? Defense parted to let the Giants score the go ahead TD

    2) After your never say die on the kneel down, why didn’t you call a Time Out to do it again?

    3) Why were the defensive ends going at the offenses KNEES?

    4) Would you rather Manning had went up top to Cruz to pad his stats and throw for 600 yards?

  34. Good call by NFL. You have to play 60 minutes. Look at the Chargers last year with a botched snap that cost them the game. Who knows what can happen at any given time in the NFL.

  35. Its not about sides, its about what is right.

    Like being up by 11 runs in the top of the ninth inning and stealing 2nd base. Is it illegal or against the rules, no. Is it wrong, yes. You just don’t do that.

    Not to mention the next batter gets to take a high fastball to the face.

  36. Any of you old duffers remember Joe Pisarcik. All he had to do was kneel down and look what happened. For those too young a lot of weird things can happen at the end of a game. I’m with the Bucs on this one.

  37. It is an unspoken rule, between gentleman. The kneeldown is a gesture of kindness. I myself hate it. Now instead of kneeling down and not running the score up, the Bucs can expect teams to keep just keep pounding them till the clock stops.

    I understand what Schianno is telling his players, it is a good message. But he needs to understand the edicate of the League. It seems as if the new College coaches coming in, don’t respect the Coaches that have put their time in the”big boys League”. See Jim Harbaugh as an example of that.

    Like I said, nothing wrong with playing 60 minutes, just make sure the other team knows that you are not going to accept your mercy.

  38. It won’t lead to any more “violent collisions” than there are on any normal play.

    From this point on, every team that plays the Bucs will know that they play the last play like it’s the first play and adjust accordingly.

    Once they know what’s coming, there will no more likelihood of injury than any other play during the game.

  39. Generally it is an unwritten rule that when an offense is planning to take a knee, that they snap the ball and immediately take a knee. When that is the case, it is an unwritten rule that the defense will respect that and allow them to do so. In the case of the Giants, last year I saw Eli take a couple of seconds to take a knee. When you do that, the traditional respect that the defense gives you goes right out the window.

    Maybe next time the Giants line up to take a knee they’ll follow the unwritten rule and do so immediately.

  40. I am not a fan of either Tampa or the Giants… I think since the game was close and if Tampa somehow stripped the ball away it was the right thing to do… If they were losing by more than one score it would have been cheap… What do you people want to watch? Flag football?

  41. Let me get this straight:

    Defensive players are routinely flagged for making legal hits in which they don’t lead with their helmets but do dislodge the ball. Somehow the act of dislodging the ball just seems too … rough for today’s NFL.

    But it’s okay to attack when the game is over, players are in a kneel-down, and completely unprepared????

    Next I guess the league will fine Coughlin for causing a ruckus. Unbelievable.

  42. The reason the Bucs didn’t do the same thing before halftime is because they were in the lead @ that point. It’s really not that hard to comprehend is it? There was a chance to recover a fumble, and I’m glad they went down fighting. Much different than last season. Any inferences to taking knees out are absolute BS!! If you don’t like teams playing you hard, then there’s always ice skating.

  43. This was a 1 score game.

    You can get injured defending a Hail Mary too. Does that make it a cheap or dirty play when a team throws a Hail Mary to end a game?

  44. I don’t blame Schiano at all for having his players play hard until the final whistle…What if they surprised the Giants and the center or Eli dropped the snap and the Bucs recover? Everyone would be going nuts about how gutsy a call it was by Schiano and wow what a call he made…He’s trying to change the culture of the Bucs and plays like that show that it’s taking effect

  45. “gs152189 says:

    I don’t think the Giants think they did anything against the Rules, but I think they thought it was poor sportsmanship. If this is the way that TB is going to play for 60 minutes, then why didn’t TB do the same thing right before halftime? Eli took a knee and TB hardly lined up? The difference is because TB was winning and they just picked off Eli and scored. At the end of the game, they were basically sore losers cause they blew a 14 point lead in the 4th quarter. If TB did the same thing at halftime as it did at the end of the game, then I would be ok with it. But they didn’t.”
    Well said…..they gave mixed signals to the Giants.

    Someone could have got hurt bad. It’s like standing over opponent as the Ref counts a boxer out 6..7..8..9…and the guy on the ground kicks him in the “Jimmy”

  46. Okay, before you “Coughlin is a whiner” people chime in, the point he was trying to make was NOT that it was against the rules, but the fact that it was a cheap shot. The game was over, the kneel-down was a formality, and take the loss gracefully. If there was a real chance of winning the game, that’s one thing. It was over… the clock just needed to wind down.

    And of course if the Giants ran a play, there would be cries of “the Giants are cheap and are trying to run up the score”. So noboby wins here.

  47. I say it was cheap. If it had occurred with 1 minute or so remaining then fine, but not with 5 seconds left on your own 1 yard line

  48. Next time the O-line should just cut block them all and tear their ACL’s. That’ll teach them, sure they’ll get a penalty, but who cares they’ll still win. This is why you don’t play hard during the kneeldowns. If they want to do that on defense, it’s going to be large risk with very very little reward if any.

  49. Sounds like some Giants fans are just asking to be reminded of the Miracle at the Meadowlands?

    The game isn’t over til it’s over. If a coach has a chance to win but just accepts the loss because it’s unlikely, they don’t deserve to be a coach.

  50. Solution is really very simple. NFL should institute a rule that within last 2 minutes, team with the ball has the option to say they elect to go into”Victory Formation”, and opposing team can accept or decline the offer. If they accept, no actions like TB’s is permitted, and if they violate, penalties will be assessed both in the current game and in the following week. If opposing team declines, the team with the ball is on notice they must play the down as live. They can still do their formation but cannot assume they don’t have to block, and the team without ball does not surrender the theoretical possibility of recovering a fumbled center exchange, etc.

  51. I posted this on a related story a few days ago, but I still feel that the kneel down play should be swapped out with an option to trade downs for clock time in that situation. It would be an easy play to work out and you could even take a couple of seconds away on a trade away to give the offense an incentive to only use that if they are truly worried about the contact in a lost game, otherwise if they truly need to bleed out every second they possibly can, then the onus becomes on them to run a traditional play to attempt to do so. The offense would have a choice or a trade off to consider in deciding how much contact do they want to expose themselves to in concert with using up clock time.

    In other words you could use your downs just like you use a time out, it could be referred to as a reverse timeout in commentator language.

  52. I agree with Coach Coughlin, but if Coach Schiano wants to play that way, don’t let him complain when some team runs up the score against his team when the game is out of hand. I’m no Giants fan, but the team was showing respect for its opponent by letting the clock run down with a kneel rather than kicking its opponent in the face while it was down.

  53. I’ve always hated the kneel down anyway. I wish there was a rule that said in the last 2:00 of each half, if the ball is not forwarded to the line of scrimmage or beyond, then the clock would stop. It would create some excitement as there would inevitably be a turnover or two as teams try to really run out the clock.

  54. im slightly surprised, since whether something is against the rules or not hasn’t stopped goddell before (see punishments from violating a imaginary salary cap)

  55. I feel sorry for whatever backup offensive lineman might be in there if Tampa ever decides to take a knee at the end of some future game, b/c he is going to get flattened…and then when Josh Freeman is laid out flat with a severe shoulder injury, it will be OK, because it was perfectly within the rules, just like his coach likes to do things.

  56. If you are within one score, you should attack on the kneel down play, especially if the play happened to be in the other teams end. The Bills botched a kneel last year. It can happen. If it was 2 scored down, I would call for the cheap shot.

    The whole reason you kneel it isn’t to be friendly. You kneel it because there is less chance of fumbling than running the RB up the middle for no gain. It’s a football play and if you are up by only one score you should expect the other team to play.

  57. Not a fan of either team, but I watch the Bucs sometimes. Look, the kneel down play is a play, bottom line. If your O-line isn’t ready to block than they need to get the f$%k off of teh field and let people on that’ll block.

    This rings especially true in close games. When the game is within reach you keep playing until the whistle blows. Now, had the game been a 2 TD difference, sure, I may have a problem with it. The game was within a TD and there’s a chance to get the ball back… Hell yeah, catch the O-linemen napping.

    Had there been a fumble we would all be praising the effort put forth by the Bucs as they tried to win the game.

    A team can fake a kneel down just as often as they can fake a spike. You also get the QBs, like Vick, that’ll stay upright as long as possible before taking a knee. Knock him on his ass, is what I say.

    I would say the same thing had a team done that to the Steelers (my fav team). I would just say it’s the other guys playing hard and our O-line needs to be prepared.

    Cry me a river, Coughlin and whiny flag football fans!!!

  58. It is simple. If game is still in reach then play till the end cause anything can happen but if u are 2 td down call it a day and just go through motions of play or otherwise that would be dirty

  59. It is like bunting when a guy has a no-hitter in baseball. If the score is 9-0, then you don’t bunt. But if it is 2-0 and a baserunner has a chance to impact the game, then you bunt in the 9th inning. It is against the “code of the game” but winning supercedes everything. Schiano is teaching the players to never give up and play 60 minutes. I have no problem with that. When a team is kneeling at the end of a half to run out the clock and then fakes and throws deep down the field, we will have a problem because the d-lineman are not allowed to rush the qb. Tom Coughlin, the same guy who coaches his players to fake injuries on the field to stop the rythm of the offense, is crying now. What a surprise.

  60. I’m a 60 year Giants fan and NJ resident. I well respected what Coach Schiano did at Rutgers, where he rejuvenated the program. But what happened at the end of the game showed that Schiano either did not bother to learn the etiquette of the game or doesn’t respect it. Neither are acceptable. Coach’s answer that he plays to the whistle is weak. The kneel down when the game is essentially over is as old as the game itself. I realize that Schiano needs to reinstill some attitude in Tampa Bay but he might be well advised to think a little more about how he’s going to do it. This move was bush and seriously damaged his legacy in NJ. The NFL is right to stay out of it because what he did was not technically against the rules, but someone needs to quietly take him to lunch and remind him that he’s in the NFL now.

  61. I agree with the Bucs on this matter. They were just trying to get the Giants to fumble. They were within a score from winning the game or tying. Had the Giants been up by 14 or more I could call it a cheap shot but under these circumstances it was a strategic move. Had Manning fumbled the ball and the Bucs recovered Schiano would have been given credit for a great call.

  62. Didn’t Rivers basically fumble a kneel down last year? Get over it whiners, have your o-line block, like they’re supposed to, and everything is fine.

  63. The “V for Victory” formation is ridiculous. Offenses should be required to run plays, actual plays, until time expires…

  64. A few comments about the Giants avoiding scoring again. That makes no sense. You kneel so you don’t fumble. Tampa would want them running and throwing so there was a chance at a pick 6. Coughlin also was pissed when the Patriots broke the unwritten rule and took his tight end off waivers. I think Coughlin has to start following the written rules instead.

  65. Phillynac

    If he is “supposedly teaching them to play 60 minutes” why let them score?? Your arguement is all wet.

    But them thats typical of Eggies fans.

  66. You can’t fault the guy for trying to get his team to make a play and win the game. It was actually a good idea – try to catch them off guard and strip the ball. If you get it and return it you’re in overtime. I like what Schiano is doing with this team. They look much better than last year and aren’t a joke anymore.

  67. Sorry Schiano, you don’t get to change 80+ years of NFL tradition. It’s a display of sportsmanship. When a team takes a knee, they’re telling the losing team that THE GAME IS OVER.

  68. Ok some of you guys on here are idiotic in nature… no where in this article does it actually say “the nfl is ok with cheap shots” what it says is the nfl said that the play was within the rules. How can you fine or do anything to them if they played within the rules. Before making a stupid remark maybe think about and truely analize the article.

  69. hawkforlife says: Sep 17, 2012 11:53 AM

    Any of you old duffers remember Joe Pisarcik. All he had to do was kneel down and look what happened. For those too young a lot of weird things can happen at the end of a game. I’m with the Bucs on this one.
    Here’s the difference, and many of the players involved have corroborated this.

    When the teams broke the huddles and lined up, one of the Philly D-lineman followed protocol and ASKED the Giants center if he should take it easy. The center replied, “No, we’re running a play.”

    That conversation goes on all the time at the line when a team is going to kneel, whether it’s at halftime or the end of the game.

    And yes, offensive teams know a fumbled snap can occur – that’s why there’s a strong, fast player 15 yards back. The Steelers use Polamalu back there in the kneel-downs because he’s their best player at pursuit-and-tackle.

    As far as an earlier post about offenses employing the fake spike… here’s the difference with that: the offense has the ball. They know in advance what they’re going to do with it. It’s always on the defense to react. When the offense intends to kneel, no O-player in the NFL is expecting to get bum-rushed.

  70. I don’t see why anyone is getting on Schiano for this. Sorry, the kneel down is not a gesture of sportsmanship, it’s a complete benefit to the offense not to have to run another play. If you can’t properly block for a kneel down in a one score game, don’t cry about it afterwards.

    Another thing: if you watch the play Eli falls down from getting hit by his own man. Then with two Bucs standing over him he foolishly and and slowly gets to his feet. If the refs hadn’t improperly blown the play dead and one of the Buc defenders had just wrenched the ball away as he was trying to get up – tie game and internet would still be exploding.

  71. I got a solution to this problem. If one team doesn’t want to have the other team hit them like that it is simple. Just give the ball to the other team and let them have it! After all that is what they wanted. They didn’t want to hurt anyone, they just wanted the ball. If the game is within one score, play the game! I would hope my team plays until the end but too often they don’t and then the hug and kiss the players on the other side after the game and go have drink, while I am out $100 plus bucks from the game.

    Stop the whining!!!!

  72. Coughlin also thinks it was a violation of the unwritten gentlemans rules when DeSean Jackson returned that punt for a TD in the final seconds a few years ago, since nothing crazy can ever happen. It was a one score game. What would have happened if Eli were to botch the snap, or something of the sort and the Bucs were just standing around not trying. Then they would be criticized for not playing hard enough. Crazier things have happened.

  73. Kneel downs shouldn’t exist. You should have to run a real play as long as there is time on the clock.

  74. Coughlin should have responded with a fake kneel down play with Eli throwing a TD pass to one of the guys on the end of the O-line. That would take the starch out of the Bucs!

  75. I believe Tom Coughlin got irritated considering he, as was his team, was not really expecting such a play to happen, especially during the waning moments of the game. And I can see Tampa’s reason for doing so, and yes, the game is played 60 minutes rather than 59.

    But on the flip side, would Tampa be offended if they were on the receiving end of such a play? Or how about if the game was totally out of reach and the Giants still set up a play to score? Would it be an issue to Tampa or would they be alright with it as they were alright with their decision to go after the ball with seconds to go?

    People can’t just decide what they want to do and then when they are put in the other position, the receiving end, they suddenly change their tunes. Yes, the play was not at all illegal and within the rules, but in this day and age where the league, as much as it is backing Tampa in this issue, is trying to minimize injury and protect players, they have to consider and really think about what Tom Coughlin is talking about.

  76. With so many of you siding with Tampa Bay, and stating that it’s part of the game, you play for a full 60 minutes, etc., how would you have felt if Manning threw a pass for a TD at that point? Despite already being up by a TD with 15 seconds left, would it have been so graciously accepted by the TB players, coaches and fans if Coughlin ordered his team to fake the kneel down and score again?

    I didn’t think so. So saying that the Buccaneers didn’t do anything wrong is BS. While it wasn’t against the rules, everyone knows there are unwritten rules that most teams generally follow. Shiano and his players had their chances to win, and it didn’t happen. The crap they pulled at the end didn’t help them win…either the game or any admirers for what they did.

  77. Time left on the clock. Down by one score. Why wouldn’t you take a crack at trying to cause a fumble during the center/QB exchange? Who knows? The Bucs could have recovered the fumble with just enought time left to try a Flutie bomb. No intent to injure. No rule-breaking. No cheating. If anything, Caughlin should be upset his team wasn’t prepared for it.

  78. I think the only person who crossed the line in this case is Tom Coughlin. He needs to understand the rules better and then talk to the opposing team coach. He could have handled the situation in much better way then he did yesterday.

  79. As long as teams keep doing those cute kneel downs where the QB backs up a little with the ball instead of not going down then D’s should be allowed to rush.

  80. I love how the same people who bitch and moan about the NFL’s stance on concussions argue that it’s ruining the game then turn around and say the Bucs were dirty.

    Personally, loved the play. If that ball comes loose and they win the game on a TD return then everyone would be praising the coaching staff for their brillance and the players for fighting for 60 minutes.

    Considering a typical fan pays in excess of $3 per minute for a cheap seat ticket the least these players can do is give us our money’s worth.

  81. How about back when Buddy Ryan was coach…the Eagles faked a kneel down when ahead of the Cowboys, and threw a TD pass. So yeah, play it out. I agree with the Bucs on this one.

  82. Not a big Buster Olney fan, but this was funny on Twitter : Buster Olney ‏@Buster_ESPN
    NFL Giants-Bucs game ends with ‘unwritten rule’ stuff. What’s next: Will a baseball game break out?

  83. That play was as Bush league as it gets. Kudos to Coughlin for getting in Schiano’s face about it. I’m not sure fans would be so adamant about “playing for 60 minutes” if their QB was at risk on the play. The Giants set themselves up for that by trying to give the Bucs the game at the end by scoring early and leaving time on the clock. Message to the rest of the league: Run up the score on Tampa and rub their faces in it. They will make bush league attempts at winning the game and hide behind “playing for 60 minutes” risking foolish injuries in the process. Win like a man, lose like a man. Go Giants!

  84. The only negative here is that it really hasn’t been done in the NFL and it came as a shock the Giants. It is pointless but not cheap or out of bounds. Now that everyone knows how TB’s coach plays they will be sure to pound them to hell if they get a chance and ensure that he gets the message about how the NFL has different etiquette than college or high school. Maybe when he is losing by 21 plus and other teams start taking shots at his best players in the open field he will learn how cruel this game can be and think twice about his policies. It won’t be against the rules but when your best players are getting pounded for no reason it will wake him up.

  85. Good grief, there are a bunch of clueless comments on this page. It is and has always been a “live” play. The offense uses it to run the clock in the safest possible manner–safe in regards to a potential turnover, not safe in regards to injuries.

    There is no form of understanding or agreement on the level of effort. That was a close game and the Giants lost sight of what they were doing–trying to protect the ball while time winds down. Blocking would be a primary method of achieving this. The backs line up the way they do in case of a fumbled exchange…that means that a fumble is almost expected.

    The Bucs did nothing wrong, at all. It was not cheap. They still had a small chance to win and they were playing hard until the game was over. If there was a 9 point lead or better, then a sportsmanship issue can be argued. This is how I would want my team to play. How the Giants (victims of multiple historic last-minute losses due to freak circumstances) could play that complacent and then complain about the other team is puzzling. Coughlin prepares his team better than that and I suspect he was just mad in the heat of the moment about his lack of preparation for that play.

  86. One can only wonder how Coughlin would have responded if he had been coaching the first team to have a forwad pass tried against them.

  87. I don’t know if this has been mentioned yet but a few years ago the Bills and Patriots played a game where it was 17-13 NE. It was fourth down for the Pats. The Bills were still in the game and were about to receive a punt from them. Do you know what the Patriots do; they put a speedy WR in as the Punter and snap the ball to him. He runs the ball back to the Buffalo End Zone and when the clock hits 0:00, he kneels the ball takes the safety but still wins the game 17-15. If a team is worried about a player being injured on a kneel down, do the same; have a speedy player line up and just run out the clock.

  88. Read up on the Miracle at the Meadowlands and you’ll know that this is ALWAYS a good play. There is absolutely nothing cheap about it while its a one possession game.

  89. @leeeroooyjeeenkiiins
    I suppose it’s also pointless for a team to kick an onsides kick if they are down one score or less late in the game as well. Play the game to win or don’t play it all.

  90. jeagan1999 says:Sep 17, 2012 11:57 AM

    Translation: Coughlin and the Giants are a bunch of whiners! I hope the Bucs make the playoffs this year and we get a chance to play them again!!

    Watch what you wish for the last time the Giants played the Bucs in the playoffs the buc’s fans fled that little thing you call a stadium at half time when the second half started no one left in the place but Giants fans
    And yes I was one of them so I know

  91. I’m proud to have a coach for my favorite team who has some balls to not just accept defeat while there is time on the clock. I agree if it was a two score lead,that it would have been a cheap thing to do, but there was a small chance and coach decided to fight to the last play.

    Go Bucs!!

  92. Hey Big Blue. Looks like a lot of folks are calling us whiners. Who has more rings than the whiners in the last five years? I guess we just cried our way to victory?

  93. It’s a “Gentlemen’s Agreement” sort of thing in a game that has very few gentlemen left in it.

  94. Roos and Stewart were there when he had over 2000 yds, and are still decent. But the other bums need to be replaced. The Titans had a chance to draft the best center in last yrs draft in the 2nd rd but didn’t. Chris Johnson needs to start hitting the hole more instead of in the back field dancing around, stop looking for the home run every time, just hit the damn hole hard! Chris Palmer probably needs to go, I’m in no way impressed with his offensive play calling…and I put the most blame on him. All these yrs that he’s been an OC for a team his RB’s have always suffered.

  95. That’s fine. Now Tom Coughlin has an excuse to run up the score or anyone else that plays Tampon Bay. Why put my guys in harms way? I’ll just hit you in the mouth w five wide and try to put up another six!

  96. If you’re not supposed to make contact on a kneeldown, then what’s the point of even being on the field? Either this is going to lead to backups taking the kneeldown (seriously, has no one ever considered that?) or another stupid rule change forbidding kneeldown contact.

  97. No matter what Walter (Coughlin) says, there was still time on the clock.

    A kneel down is a way for the offense to get off the field with a minimum of ball handling… ie, minimizing the chance for risk. There is an element of not running it down the throat of the other team as if to just pad your stats, but the primary thing is that you don’t want to turn the ball over. You want to stay in control of the ball and the clock.

    By not running it down the throat of the other team you’re saying that you don’t have to do that…. what you’ve done in the game up to that point already is enough to win. Except it isn’t. You still have to snap the ball so you don’t incur a penalty. You still have to maintain possession.

    Walter wants to complain that someone might get hurt? Why? Because they’re not ready? If a player is in pads and on the field and that player isn’t ready when the ball is snapped I’d say that reflects poorly on the coach.

    If you’re so concerned about them getting hurt, get them off the field. Or, better yet, as one poster already noted: go ahead and just give the Bucs the ball. There. Nobody needs to get actually “play the down,” because if we did that, someone could get “hurt.”

    On the off-chance that there is a fumble, or on the off-chance that TB creates a fumble by playing out that down, then they’re in a better position to recover the ball having fired off their spot at the snap.

  98. To all Buccaneer fans, what if Eli had faked the kneel and tossed an unnecessary touchdown, would that have been accepted? Not illegal or against any written rules.

    Just sayin’………..

  99. The Bucs just showed all teams they play…if they have the lead..line up 5 wide with 5 sec left and air it out….matter of fact, it’s 60 min and if the score up on the other team. The Bucs just show how classless they are so all bets should be off when playing them.

  100. bigblue, if they wanted to try i’m sure tampa would have been all for it, they were losing either way but attempting a pass would have given tampa a better chance at regaining the ball. there should be no freebie plays unless the score is out of reach, which it wasn’t.

  101. The kneel down should be seen as an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. I have always hated it. It’s as boring and unsportsmanlike as basketball was before the 24 second clock.

    “Ooh, let’s watch a bunch of world class athletes play keep away.” As far as I’m concerned the kneel down prevents the defense from an opportunity to make a play – just like intentional grounding.

    And I hate the spike as well. If you want to end the game faster and safer then eliminate the spike – teams will run out of time faster and therefore incure fewer injuries.

  102. gcryall says:
    Sep 17, 2012 12:37 PM

    If he is “supposedly teaching them to play 60 minutes” why let them score?? Your arguement is all wet.

    But them thats typical of Eggies fans.
    Um, no it isn’t. That was a strategic move at that point. There are better odds at letting them score and getting the ball back with a few seconds left on the clock than there is of letting the clock wind down and watching a chip-shot FG end your chances as time expires.

  103. In the ’96 Cotton Bowl, the Ducks were humiliated when Colorado’s Neuheisel called for a fake punt late in the game when the score was already way out of hand. Afterwards, one of the players said that the lesson the team took away from it is that anything can happen on any play. I suspect a lot of players have had similar experiences and have made a promise to themselves to always play hard, every snap. I admire a coach that endeavors to instill that kind of killer instinct in his squad. Can’t fault a team for leaving it on the field.

  104. Had they knocked the ball loose and returned it for a touchdown it would have been the play of the week. It’s only because they didn’t that there is any controversy at all. I often wondered why teams didn’t send the house on an obvious kneel in an attempt to knock the ball loose, it’s about time a team tried it.

  105. Sal Esposito says:
    Sep 17, 2012 1:25 PM
    The only negative here is that it really hasn’t been done in the NFL
    Not true. In the 05 divisional playoffs, Lovie Smith had his defense jump all over the Panthers when they were trying to do kneel downs to end the game. Carolina players and coaches didn’t whine about it on a national stage though, so you don’t know. It did make me chuckle to hear Dungy disapprove of it yesterday though. He must have forgotten his friend did it.

  106. By Coughlin’s logic, the Chiefs should have conceded to the Bills at the end of the third quarter. They weren’t going to erase a 32 point deficit, and playing hard might cause an injury. Is there a gentlemen’s agreement that if you’re pretty sure you are going to lose, you just give up?

  107. Who cares what Coughlin thinks. He is the biggest whiner in the league. If the Bucs want to play 60 minutes tell your girls to strap up. With the day Eli was having he could have fumbled the ball. Field goal, Bucs win.

  108. The fact is that there was still a chance to win the game, and if the Bucs caught NY sleeping on what they thought was a victory formation good for them. What if the Bucs actually cause a fumble and took it to the house to tie the game? Then its a much different conversation, even if Eli was injured. “You play to WIN the game”-Herm Edwards.

  109. No it is not in the rules, but it has become football manners. Now if the Giants had lined up in a regular run formation go for the “Eagle fumble.” If it is only halftime paly it our we have seen long throws on faked spikes, could happen on fake kneel downs too. But at the end of the game in the typical “Victory Formation” this is unoffically recognition time that the game is over.

    Just like in Pro Basketball if you up by more than 10 and you have the ball and there is only 20 seconds left, often winners and losers will let the man past halfcourt and just stand there dribbling the ball. It is a polite way of saying it is over you won we lost. Howver if you are only down by 6 points in BB you keep playing no matter how slim the chance.

    P.S. —- This is why I was no upset with Randy Moss when years ago he walked away with 1 sec on the clock. The Vikings would of had to convert the onside kick in 1 second to have time to run another offensive play. Cannot be done.

  110. to CKL

    Is there a difference between running a bunch of kneel downs to run off 1:40 or so and running 1 kneel down to run of the last 30 seconds or so. I would say yes, others may say no. The 1:40 is tryng to run out the clock similar to the 4 minute drill trying to get a few 1st downs to close out the game. Play hard on both sides. The 30 is the last play if it is 1,2 or 3rd down and you are not trying to run out the clock, for that has been done.

  111. Anyone who disagrees with the Bucs obviously didn’t see last year’s Monday night game where my Chargers fumbled a snap on a kneel down and ultimately lost to their division rivals, the Chiefs.

    If there’s time on the clock, the game is still on.

    On the other hand, though, the Bucs may have may have just ultimately fired the first shot of a new nuclear war, where kneel-downs are no longer gimmes. I don’t think that’s such a bad thing, though. The game just got more interesting.

  112. jagsfanugh says:
    Sep 17, 2012 2:21 PM
    The Bucs just showed all teams they play…if they have the lead..line up 5 wide with 5 sec left and air it out….matter of fact, it’s 60 min and if the score up on the other team. The Bucs just show how classless they are so all bets should be off when playing them.

    If I was a Bucs fan I would have been ecstatic to see Eli go back for a pass yesterday instead of kneeling down, because that creates the risk of a turnover. Did you forget the Giants were only winning by one score?

    The kneeldown isn’t always for mercy, you know – in this case it was a fumble-prevention strategy. How dare the Bucs try to force a fumble in that situation!

  113. nofunleague says: Sep 17, 2012 4:00 PM

    Who cares what Coughlin thinks. He is the biggest whiner in the league. If the Bucs want to play 60 minutes tell your girls to strap up. With the day Eli was having he could have fumbled the ball. Field goal, Bucs win.

    You mean the fluky INT by Wright? And the two others that came as a result of holding on Tampa DBs that weren’t called. Eli did WHATEVER HE WANTED all game. Bucs were fortunate they didn’t lose by 23. Not win by 3.

  114. Good for Schiano. Coughlin has always been a whiner. When I go to a game, I expect to see 60 minutes for football, but 59:55 minutes. Anything can happen in a close football game in 5 seconds.

  115. If a fake kneel is allowed, which I believe it is, then even a kneeling play is a normal football play and all players need to protect themselves and play as such.

    If there are still ticks on the clock I don’t have a problem with a team doing everything they can to win within the rules.

  116. for the six games each season that the bucs are in the position to kneel and win the game, i expect their opponents will dive at their knees as well, to you know, force a fumble.

  117. This is STUPID!!! For all te people who call Jay Cutler a crybaby, here is your crybaby, his name is Tom Coughlin!! For all the time we’ve had to endure the cliche about playing hard every snap and now Coughlin wants to get chippy with the opposing coach when Shianno just gave him a perfect opportunity to preach about playing every snap. How hard is it for the line to be ready for anything on a kneel down?!?!

    Next I suppose Coughlin is gonna get bent out of shape when the other team ACTUALLY TRIES to block an extra point!! Or maybe he’ll think it’s bush league when his gunner gets run out of bounds all the way to the bench.

  118. RIP NHL I miss you, Hockey players do not whine like these football players, they play to the whistle, like every professional team should. Just because you think that you have the game in the bag, does not mean the other team should just give up. Especially if you can tie or win the game. Of I am a coach of any sport i want 100% effort on every play at every second of the game. Sportsmanship is not a factor in this, simply because you say its an “Unwritten Rule”. If the game is played within the rules, then game on. The Giants should be embarrassed that this happened and it exploited the fact that they were not trying, that is why i think Coughlin was mad. I just hope the NHL signs a new CBA soon, because seeing this crap as a complaint or controversy is ridiculous.

  119. I think every team that plays the Bucs should teach the Bucs the difference between what’s in the rules and how the game is played.

    Technically it’s not illegal to chop at someone’s knees every single play of the game as long as the player’s not engaged…

    I think the bucs need to learn this lesson.

  120. First of all, not once IN THE HISTORY OF THE GAME has an attempt to swipe at the ‘victory’ snap or cause a fumble has ever worked. EVER. 0% success rate. ZERO.

    Second of all, the play DOESN’T start until the ball is snapped. A snap is when the center passes the ball to the QB. Unless you’re Superman, you can’t get in there fast enough to cause a fumble without being offsides, so there’s no real chance to create a fumble.

    Third of all, the Bucs did a kneel-down against the Panthers the week before. This dumb coach is a hypocrite and only did this because he’s a sour grapes loser.

    I’m a Cowboys fan and I agreed with the Giants 100% on this. The game is essentially at that point. The kneel down is for the benefit of the winning team.

    You know, the purpose of the game IS to win, right? It’s not about being ‘fair’ at this point. Hey, other team, wanna borrow one of my timeouts? Want us to give back one of our TDs, to make the finish more interesting? How about we bench our best players so you’ll have a better chance to win?

    Geez, we’re getting silly with this.

  121. Looks like the Giants and their head muckity muck Mr. Mara are real good at trying to enforce the “unwritten rules” of football. Just ask any Redskin or Cowboy fan about how their salary cap space disappeared this year. The Giants seem to think the world revolves around them.

    This argument is simple. Down by 8 or less you play EVERY play to win – period. If you want to give up before that then tell the ref you quit! Man up boys, this is the NFL!

  122. It’s a SIXTY minute game of tackle football. If you can tie, or win by making a play, then make the play. There really shouldn’t be any controversy here. ASIDE: I am surprised that Bill Belichick wasn’t the first to do this.

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