On September 16, 2012, the New York Giants survived a scare from the upstart Tampa Bay Buccaneers with a 41-34 comeback triumph. The Bucs carried a 27-13 edge late into the 3rd quarter and it appeared Giants' QB Eli Manning would be hard-pressed to overcome 3 interceptions. Yet, the reigning Super Bowl champs found their form in the 4th quarter and Manning eradicated doubts by passing for 510 yards and 3 touchdowns.
However, the fireworks did not end as the game clock reached zero. In an unusual play, the Bucs attempted to tackle Manning when he took a knee for the final play. Though the outcome was seemingly determined, Tampa Bay's Coach Greg Schiano instructed his team to defy "victory formation" and attempt to free the ball. The scheme did not work and concluded the contest on a sour note.
Meeting mid-field for the traditional post-game greeting, veteran coach Tom Coughlin skipped the handshake and gave Schiano an earful of his frustrations. While the 66 year-old gestured repeatedly to express obvious displeasure, the Bucs' rookie coach stood toe-to-toe with his adversary to defend his playing to the final whistle.
These longtime Garden State residents will undoubtedly not be sharing a day at the Jersey Shore anytime soon. As football reaches new levels of scrutiny, such incidents are becoming more common. Though players are being forced to abide by new rules of sportsmanship, it is clear that coaches still have room to learn. Here is a look at the 5 most notorious skirmishes between football coaches.
1.) Jim Schwartz vs. Jim Harbaugh -- These leaders shared an explosive meeting on the field that followed a 25-19 win by San Francisco 49ers over the Detroit Lions on October 16, 2011. Instead of simply offering a dull handshake, Harbaugh excitedly smacked Schwartz's hand, slapped his counterpart on the back, uttered some form of profanity in jubilation, and ran off to celebrate with his team. The dejected Lions' coach was not in the mood for such buffoonery and actively pursued his rival down the field. When the coaches met again, an argument ensued and the pair needed to be separated by security and even several players.
2.) Bill Belichick vs. Eric Mangini -- These star-crossed coaches participated in a series of awkward post-game meetings during 8 match-ups between their teams from 2006-2010. None were more frigid than the initial meeting on September 17, 2006, where both men aloofly turned away as their hands briefly touched. Though Belichick was Mangini's mentor for a decade, the student angered his teacher when he fled the New England Patriots for the hated New York Jets. Belichick responded by refusing to utter Mangini's name and filing tampering charges for illegal contact with Deion Branch. The rivalry became even more intense when a Patriots' employee was caught videotaping Jets' defensive signals during a 2007 game. With Mangini's insider knowledge, the Patriots' "Spygate" scandal was exposed and the team was punished for approving such illegal activities.
3.) Pete Carroll vs Jim Harbaugh -- It is fitting that these former Pac-12 college coaches are now NFL rivals in the NFC West Division. It is equally appropriate that Harbaugh, a former quarterback for the fiery Mike Ditka, qualifies for this notorious list twice. On November 14, 2009, Harbaugh's Stanford University pulled off a stunning 55-21 road upset of USC. Believing Carroll's Trojans ran up the score in a 45-23 laugher over the Cardinal a year earlier, Harbaugh kept his foot on the gas and even attempted a 2 point conversion in the 2009 game's final moments. When the coaches met, they feigned smiles and famously each asked, "What's your deal?"
4.) Buddy Ryan vs. Kevin Gilbride -- This January 2, 1994 incident took bickering to a new level. In the nationally televised final game of the regular season, the long-standing feud between the Houston Oilers' defensive coordinator (Ryan) and offensive coordinator (Gilbride) finally exploded. Ryan detested Gilbride's pass-happy offense and, following a fumble that forced his defense rapidly back onto the field, the defensive guru sucker-punched his colleague along the Oilers' sideline. Ryan's shot squarely connected with Gilbride's face and players interceded quickly. Though the incident was shocking, fighting was nothing new Ryan, who famously came to blows with his boss, Mike Ditka, during the Chicago Bears' 1985 Super Bowl season.
5.) Tom Cable vs. Randy Hanson -- While most coaching feuds can be remembered fondly, this confrontation was no laughing matter. Not surprisingly, one of the NFL's most violent allegations involved the Oakland Raiders. During his first training camp as head coach in 2009, Tom Cable arranged a private meeting after practice with defensive backs coach Randy Hanson. The assistant was hired directly by the Raiders' owner Al Davis and not liked by the squad's new leader. Blaming him for confusion among the defense, Hanson alleged that he was assaulted by Cable, who threw him from a chair and broke his jaw. Hanson further claimed Cable threatened to kill him. The NFL investigated the altercation, as did the Napa Police Department, but both parties declined to pursue the matter.
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Jeff Briscoe is a writer who covers sports for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. A loyal Tampa Bay Bucs fan, he co-hosts the Florida-based radio show, The Sports Train.