September 19, 2011
Sam Bradford(notes) and the St. Louis Rams offense were running the no-huddle offense on a depleted New York Giants defense on Monday night and doing it with great success. Unable to stop the Rams through traditional means like tackling and pass deflecting, the Giants tried a different strategy: faking injuries.
Following an 8-yard run on first down, two Giants players, Deon Grant(notes) and Jacquian Williams(notes), simultaneously fell to the ground as the Rams came to the line without a huddle. The phoniness of both injuries was so obvious it was called out in the booth by the usually uncritical ESPN announcing team.
Trainers attended to Grant (Williams got up once he realized there was another possum on the field), play was stopped, the Giants caught their breath while waiting for the game to resume and then held on the next two plays to force a Rams field goal.
Philadelphia Eagles tight end Brent Celek(notes) appeared to do the same thing Sunday night in an attempt to give Michael Vick(notes) some time to shake off a big hit. Celek was limping off the field, looked toward the Eagles sideline and then conveniently fell to the ground to wait for trainers to attend to him. He was back in the game two plays later.
Redskins safety Laron Landry(notes) pulled a similar move last season (is it an NFC East thing?) and I'm sure it happens a handful of times per season. I don't want to get all "back in my day" on you, but you know this type of nonsense wasn't happening when Sam Huff and Lawrence Taylor were patrolling the field for the Giants. Football is a different game now, what with all the rule changes and overbearing protection of the quarterbacks, but it's still the milieu of tough guys. Don't invite comparisons to soccer by diving every time the situation becomes difficult.
Stamp out this practice before it becomes a trend, Roger Goodell. Since you can't expect officials to determine which injuries are legitimate and which aren't, don't leave it open for interpretation: If play has to be stopped because of an injury, that player can't return until the next series.
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