Yes, they were serious about that.
The NFL issued a memo to all teams on Friday, December 2, regarding the faking of injuries — and the punishment to be imposed on teams, coaches, and players when fake injuries happen. The NFL has decided that, on Monday, December 5, Saints defensive end Cam Jordan faked an injury.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Jordan was fined $50,000. His position coach, Ryan Nielsen, also was fined $50,000. Coach Dennis Allen was fined $100,000. And the Saints were fined $350,000.
The incident happened after a third-and-17 play by the Buccaneers, midway through the fourth quarter. As quarterback Tom Brady lined up the offense for fourth and 10, Jordan looked to the sideline, took a knee, and pointed to his lower left leg.
The source says that other camera angles reveal Jordan receiving direction from the sideline to go down.
The obvious goal, as the NFL concluded, was to take steam out of the Tampa Bay effort to morph into hurry-up mode and convert the fourth-down play. After the injury stoppage, the Buccaneers punted.
The situation first came to light because Jordan has complained about the situation on Twitter.
“Most expensive fine to date from the NFL came in yesterday… added stressor for no reason,” Jordan said.
He also asked whether fines are made public.
“I just feel like this should be public knowledge,” Jordan tweeted. “‘Cause some of the fines are silly but this 1… ridiculous. Anyways & for what a ‘deliberate action to delay game’ before a [team] punts?”
But he didn’t do it, in the league’s estimation, to stop a punt. He did it to stop the Bucs from putting the pedal to the metal on fourth down.
If Jordan wants to win his appeal, there’s a simple path. If he admits that he was simply doing what he was told, there’s a very good chance his fine will be rescinded. The other fines, obviously, would not be.
And the league office is indeed very serious about this. Injuries are faked to secure a competitive advantage. If the league simply shrugged when it believes a fake injury has happened, it would be complicit in the assault on the integrity of the game.