Quick thought on the Tom Coughlin – Greg Schiano beef

Initially, when I had heard that the Buccaneers were trying to cause a fumble when the Giants were in “victory formation,” I thought it was a tad bush league.  Here’s what happened:

After giving it some more thought, I really don’t have a problem with it.  The job of the an NFL coach is to use up every last percentage of winning probability possible.  That’s all Greg Schiano was doing here.  After all, that very play has worked for him 4 times in the last 5 years as the head coach at Rutgers.  Of course he’s going to try it in the pros.

The argument that “You don’t do that in this league,” in my opinion, is nonsense.  Why not “THIS” league?  What’s so sacred in this league that it shouldn’t happen here, but it’s OK in any other league?  We’re talking about a league here that had one team recording another team’s hand signals and using that footage to make adjustments at halftime.  We’re talking about a league that had a team with a bounty system in place.  It’s a league where all 32 teams put in countless hours intensely scouting over 1000 prospects every year, and draft about 8 of them.  Every little competitive advantage that can be gained… will be gained.  That’s just how it is, and frankly, it’s a little surprising more teams don’t try to knock the ball loose when the opposing team is in victory formation.

Want to eliminate that play?  Make it a rule.  When a punt returner wants to field a punt and guarantee that he won’t be hit, he waves his hand over his head.  By doing so, he also waives the right to advance the ball once he fields it, and the play is blown dead after the fair catch.  If the NFL wants to eliminate what the Buccaneers did on Sunday, they can make a rule in which the QB gives a clear signal that he plans on taking a knee at the snap.  If the defense contacts any member of the offense, it’s a penalty.  If the offense does anything other than kneel down, it’s a penalty on them.  Until then, that play is fair game.


  1. What about this from the NY Daily news which is I think is a fair point to raise.

    “Tuck said Tampa Bay’s move was a “classless play,” especially because of how the Bucs handled things earlier. For all of Schiano’s tough talk of playing until the very last whistle, the Bucs allowed Andre Brown to waltz into the end zone untouched with 31 seconds to play in an attempt to get one more possession.”

    Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/giants/ny-giants-justin-tuck-insists-refused-bucs-orders-article-1.1162588#ixzz26yN0wYYZ

  2. Willgfass says:

    I highly disagree. It takes less than a second to snap the ball and place your knee down. There’s nothing you can do legally under the rules to disrupt the snap from center to the quarterback. You’re hoping for a bad snap, which in nearly all cases happens from a back up center, in the hurry up, or rushing to get the snap out before the playclock runs out.
    In victory formation, that doesn’t happen.
    Notice in the video Eli has already taken the knee before he falls backwards. The knee’s been taken pretty much as soon as the defensive players contact the line!

    Despite that, I have more objection to the players going for the knees. Okay, make the effort to get the ball in the infinitesimal chance the snap is botched. Why go for the knees?? Herm Edwards didn’t go for the knees before he returned the ball!
    It’s asinine.

    1. slandog says:

      If the players (OL) actually lined up and blocked on the play the knees wouldn’t be an issue.

      The problem here is that everyone is upset that the OL was caught offguard. Well the DL lines up showing they were going to attack, why would the OL not be ready for it? Sounds like a poorly prepared team to me or just a stupid bunch of guys. If someone lines up across from me looking like they are ready to fire off the ball I’m going to be ready for it. No matter if it’s never happened in the past.

      The Bucs weren’t going for the knees they were going for the ball, which is snapped from a low level right. So yes it is around knee level but if you ask any of the Bucs DL I’ll bet not one of them went for the knees of the GIants OL. Again why aren’t the Giants OL ready to block when the guy lined up across from him is 4 inches from the ground ready to explode off the ball. I blame the Giants not the Bucs, come prepared.

      So to blame the Bucs for any of this is crazy, you may not agree with the play. But it’s not dirty, or against any rules (written or unwritten). This is just a case where the Bucs played until the clock read 0.0 and the Giants didn’t. So Tommy gets fired up. Well maybe Tommy should have his team better prepared!!

  3. José P says:

    Our lives are governed by unwritten rules. When someone breaks an unwritten rule, they get called out for it. That’s the price they pay. For example, when there’s a long line of cars exiting a freeway, there’s always that guy that will zoom around the line and force his way in near the front. Did he do anything illegal? No. Is he a mother fucking dickweed asshole? You mother fucking bet he is. Now please stop whining about a guy who made a dick move getting called out. That’s what’s supposed to happen.

    And saying that “every little competitive advantage that can be gained… will be gained.” is demonstratively false. As evidence, I cite the thousands of previous times where teams haven’t tried to attack the QB on kneel down.

    1. I agree with your dickweed asshole corollary. However, the NFL is built on dickweed asshole strategy. And every time a new dickweed asshole strategy is born, a new rule is invented to prevent it.

      Let’s say the Bucs force a fumble on the play, and on the next play they throw a bomb and tie it up. Schiano is a genius. But as is, he’s a dickweed asshole.

    2. rabbit says:

      [quote]And saying that “every little competitive advantage that can be gained… will be gained.” is demonstratively false. As evidence, I cite the thousands of previous times where teams haven’t tried to attack the QB on kneel down.[/quote]

      They haven’t tried to attack the QB on a kneel down because by observing the unwritten rules they are guaranteed the same courtesy when they want to kneel down for an uncontested win the next time it happens.

      This is, actually, evidence in advantage of Jimmys statement about “every little competitive…”, because every Coach expects to be more successful than his opponent and that means that Coach expects that this tactic will yield a net result of him getting to kneel down a win more often than his opponent as long as everyone follows the, unwritten, “rule”

      This might be typical self-delusional nfl head-coach bullshit thinking but it’s still their own continuing rationalisation of the unwritten rule.

  4. TylerD says:

    So what’s wrong with saying your disapointed about how it turned out it’s not like Tom was playing the victim here.

  5. TylerD says:

    The play was Taboo, that’s it. It’s like why don’t more NFL teams keep their foot on the gas when they are blowing out an opponent. A coach who keeps his foot on the accelorator stats that it’s not his job to stop his team from scoring and the other coach has to play to the end of the game blah blah blah. Yeah that’s true but its Bush, same with diving into the victory formation to try and recover the ball. Nothing illegal about it and yeah you can say play till the end of the game blah blah. But ask yourself this question when your team wants to take a knee to run the clock out and the opponent dives into your line if you loose your starting QB or an offensive lineman are you going to be here defending this stupidity after that.

  6. TylerD says:

    I thought I read it worked but Rutgers was offsides so he never actaully got the ball back from doing that.

  7. brisulph says:

    My issue with it was they cut low, right at the o-line knee level. That is the bush league of it all. Their defense apologized right after the play, as they were following orders from the coach. They were embarrassed by the whole thing, and that tells me more than enough it never should have happened.

    However, I hope this doesn’t continue as a practice now, as it will result in somebody getting a knee blown out, and all hell will break loose in the media after that.

    1. slandog says:

      It’s football, I really don’t see it as bush league at all. If the OL fired off the ball no knees would have been hit. the DL would have been buried because the OL would have just fell on top of them. If the OL actually blocked it wouldn’t have been an issue at all.

      Coughlin and his “unwritten” rules…..

      1. Willgfass says:

        It’s a problem when no one’s expecting it. When people get injured in the Pro Bowl, it’s more times than not because they’re not going at full speed, which just leaves them more open for being hurt.

        1. slandog says:

          Their in the game, between the white lines, right? Well then they should be expecting anything. It’s part of the game, if you’re in the game you should be ready to play.

          Besides you disguise what you do all over on the football field, offensively, defensively and on special team. Their not going to show their hand that would be just stupid, right.

          So they should line up expecting to get blown up on every play. If they don’t it’s their issue not the other way around.

          1. Willgfass says:

            See my post below

            1. slandog says:

              See my post below

    2. mjoedgaard says:

      OLs cut block DLs all the time. Rarely do you see injuries on a such a block. The dangerous players are the one Ed Reed made when he dove at McCoys feet and instead took out the centers knee

  8. Ankpsu12 says:

    Anyone else catch the late shots taken by the giants o – linemen after the play. Same old dirty giants players

  9. NYG_slater says:

    Yea I don’t really have a problem with it either. Its not against the rules, so be it. However, I took a little umbrage to the fact that Eli said they were taking a knee and the bucs gave them no indication they were going to fire off until the offensive line was already in their stance/ relaxed splits and see 3 guys lined up over center on their elbows. Again, nothing illegal, just a bit cheap/ poor sportsmanship. Considering there were a total of 5 seconds left, for that play to have any effect, they would need to (a) cause a fumble (b) recover the fumble (c) run it back for a touchdown….all in the same play. I’m not sure if it was worth the retaliation the bucs are gunna see the rest of the year, but yea w/e, Schiano and the bucs sure are “tough”.

    On Coughlin side, he played it perfectly. I had a good chuckle when jaws said Coughlin should apologize to Schiano for getting upset. I bet NFL players love when their coach gets fired up and confrontational about trying to protect them. Even though Coughlin is an old, ruddy Irish guy I didn’t expect that type of reaction from him. Loved it.

    1. Dez Bryant's Probation Officer says:


      1. NYG_slater says:

        yes, that is exactly why teams take a knee. The play you are referring to was a hand-off and the principle reason why teams now take a knee, because the chance for a fumble runback TD is ridiculously low…..like has never happened before low. Thanks for proving my point.

        1. slandog says:

          You can still take a knee, shotgun formation. The OL actually blocks and the QB and take a knee………there done deal.

          But don’t blame the Bucs here the Giants and Tom Coughlin are just whining…it’s becoming sad.

          1. NYG_slater says:

            never once did i say what Schiano did was wrong. In fact, my very first sentence was I do not have a problem with it. He can coach his team how he pleases. However, it is obvious other teams will react differently from now and I’m not sure its in the bucs best interest to continue it considering the insanely low probability of anything good happening. Realistically, the play could work by catching the offensive line by surprise, but that element is gone now.

            Coughlin was trying to protect and stand up for his players. If you think Andy Reid/ Shanahan/ Jason Garrett or any other coach wouldn’t do the same, you are wrong.

            1. slandog says:

              I know Tommy is just protecting his players, as would Andy Reid. But Reid also wouldn’t be complaining about it for days. He’d say his piece in the press conference and then let it go, that’s how he is.

              I’d also be willing to bet that if his players complain about it days later he’d put a stop to it, that’s the kind of coach he is.

              The Giants……no so much it seems.

        2. Tommy K says:

          The reason the Giants were running a play was Frank Lemaster busting through the line on a kneel down the play before…

    2. slandog says:

      That’s just complaining now. The defense “hides” “bluffs” all the time. What’s the difference if there is 5 seconds left or the whole second half? That is just complaining on your part.

      You play to win, everyone understands that and playing until the clock stops only makes sense.

      You can be upset that it happened but you can’t call them “cheap/poor sportsmanship” If anything the Giants are showing poor sportsmanship for complaining so much after the fact that another team played to the end.

  10. Todd B. says:

    I also want to point out that this is the second time Coughlin cited an unwritten rule and became irritated when others were not adhering to these rules.

    The first time was over the summer when the Patriots claimed Boss even though he was put on waivers.

    The Patriots did nothing wrong by claiming Boss then and TB did nothing wrong this time.

    1. joe says:

      wrong. It was Ballard. I think Coughlin did that to make the Giants seem like good people. Cutting Ballard was not a popular move, but a logical one.

      1. joe says:

        That 500k the giants saved, was given to Rocky Bernard. He has played phenomenally, considering his large snap counts. Once Austin and Canty get going, Bernard will be even more productive.

      2. Todd B says:

        Sorry, right. Ballard. Boss was a few years ago. Nevertheless, he did get all bent out of shape when the Pats claimed him so my point remains unchanged.

    2. NYG_slater says:

      Coughlin said he was surprised and very dissapointed about Ballard (not boss, silly) but this unwritten rule stuff was the media. Jerry Reese actually went out of his way to say there are no unwritten rules.

      However, generally teams do show some courtesy about claiming injured players, but normally the players aren’t starters (normally backup/fringe players). I imagine teams show this courtesy is because its hard on the player. If a player gets claimed when they are significantly injured they need to switch medical staffs, training facilities, and either move or leave their home/family to be within daily distance of the new team. Its kinda a dick move considering the player isn’t going to play that year.

      But yea the giants were dumb trying to slide a starter through waivers. However, I’d imagine the patriots were very FAR back on waiver wire priority, so the vast majority of teams did show the giants and Ballard that courtesy–teams that even need a TE. Considering how loaded the pats are at TE, I think BB was still pissed about the SB.

      1. slandog says:

        Maybe, but it’s not a rule and honestly Billy did nothing wrong. Tom just didn’t get his way on that one.

  11. Rollo T says:

    I can understand the mentality of “play to the last second”, and I agree because it’s always disgraceful to take a snap on the football field with the full intent of not playing to win.

    That said, there’s not a lot to gain from this. The chances of creating some sort of domino effect that causes a fumble are pretty low, but the chance of injurying someone during the collapsing lineman tumble is rather significant. David Diehl went out of the game earlier during one of those lineman pileups.

    There’s no need to make this play unless your goal is to hurt the other players, but since it isn’t a rule you can’t stop it. That said, I hope this gets made a rule the next pass through. What Schiano did isn’t wrong, but it’s terribly stupid.

    1. I would normally agree here, but as noted above, Schiano had it work successfully 4 times in the last 5 years at Rutgers. That’s more than just a flukey thing.

      1. Derf Diggy says:

        Plus the whole idea of the victory formation is just downing the ball. A team can do that while still PLAYING. The idea that it somehow jeopardizes the OL/QB, and puts them at risk for injury is ridiculous. The offensive line has been blocking all game, they can continue to do that until the whistle blows….they choose not to for the last 2 minutes of the game, that doesn’t mean the defense has to agree. That’s a conscious decision made by the coach. Much like the Pats when they were running up the score a few years ago. Yes, the games out of reach….no, the game isn’t over.

        1. slandog says:

          I agree completely. The OL blocked for 65 plays prior, why can’t the block for another 2 or 3 to end the game.

          This complaining just makes the Giants and Tom Coughlin look like cry babies.

          I’m surprised something like this doesn’t happen more often, it should. You play to win, not to give up the last minute of regulation.

      2. joe says:

        Can you confirm that number?

        1. Schiano said it in his post-game press conference.

          1. joe says:

            so no – 4 times in 5 years seems pretty ridiculous. To knock the ball out & recover it on a snap & kneel?

            1. never said he recovered the fumble four times. Just caused them. One of those times I know was negated by an offsides penalty.

      3. Rollo T says:

        That number surprised me too when I first heard it, but the thing that bothered me was he didn’t mention if Rutgers actually recovered any of those balls. This thus far is all I’ve been able to find on the topic. http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/09/17/rutgers-twice-forced-victory-formation-fumbles-under-schiano/

        2* in 11 years is a much smaller statistic especially when applying it to NFL teams. I don’t blame Schiano for this decision. It’s entirely within the mindset he’s trying to establish. That said, it’s still a stupid decision far more likely to get someone hurt than win the Bucs the game.

        1. slandog says:

          What’s the difference if Rutgers was able to recover the ball? The point is, is that they gave themselves the opportunity to recover the ball. It’s better then just letting the clock run out, isn’t it?

          And if it gets anyone hurt it’s because the OL didn’t block the DL. The DL is coming, they have that right until the clock reads 0.0. They don’t have to but if they get hurt it’s on them not the DL or the opposing coaches.

          1. Rollo T says:

            If there’s never been a successful recovery then that’s a pretty good indication of why this play isn’t done more. I don’t believe Schiano is a visionary changing the landscape of the game–other teams don’t try this because it doesn’t work and it’s dangerous to try.

            Yeah, the Giants should have been blocking, but the D-linemen are going to be coming low and fast on this play since there’s a very limited time to reach the QB, so the danger is inherient. Block all you want, but this play by nature is meant to cause chaos by knocking the linemen down and create a domino effect.

            The risk isn’t worth the very rare reward.

            1. slandog says:

              It might not be worth it but there’s no reason why it can’t be done either. To each their own, right. But the reward % is minimal but there is a chance and who’s to say they can’t try it? You, Tom Coughlin, Bugs Bunny……nobody really. It’s within the rules so he can and is going to do it.

              The Giants just need to get over it and man up, next time I bet they will be ready.

        2. Tommy K says:

          Schiano wasn’t at Rutgers for 11 years. Up until 4 years ago or so, he was Delaware’ defensive coordinator.

          1. JKH says:

            Ummm, what? Schiano was head coach at Rutgers from 2001-2011. He never worked at Delaware.

    2. Joe in Sellersville says:

      But doesn’t that mentality negate everything any coach has ever stressed about playing until the whistle blows?

  12. Joe in Sellersville says:

    Couldn’t agree more. As Herman Edwards stated, “You play to win the game!”

    1. eagles2zc says:

      That exact quote came to my mind also when I heard about the incident

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