Report: NFL investigating Giants' potentially illegal walkie-talkie use vs. Cowboys

Shutdown Corner
<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nfl/players/6760/" data-ylk="slk:Eli Manning">Eli Manning</a>, right, said the <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nfl/teams/nyg/" data-ylk="slk:New York Giants">New York Giants</a> had communication problems against the <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nfl/teams/dal/" data-ylk="slk:Dallas Cowboys">Dallas Cowboys</a>. Did they solve them illegally? (AP)
Eli Manning, right, said the New York Giants had communication problems against the Dallas Cowboys. Did they solve them illegally? (AP)

According to Paul Schwartz of the New York Post, the New York Giants might have violated NFL rules when they used a walkie-talkie on the sideline of Sunday night’s Week 14 game against the Dallas Cowboys when their communication system broke down. The Cowboys filed a formal report — remember those key words earlier in the week? — on the matter.

After the radio transmitter in Manning’s helmet stopped working early in the fourth quarter, Giants head coach Ben McAdoo used a walkie-talkie to transmit the plays to Manning. The league is looking into the matter; NFL rules stipulate that communication between the coaches and quarterbacks must stop when there are 15 or fewer seconds on the play clock.

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The Giants did not issue a comment. Quite the off-field week for the team after the report that the Giants asked the NFL to look into the matter of the Pittsburgh Steelers potentially using underinflated footballs in Week 13.

Manning told the Post that there were communication problems during a brief stretch early in the game against the Cowboys, and he might accidentally have implicated the team on the matter.

“I’m kind of sitting there waiting for the play, and it was a TV timeout. I went to the sideline, ‘Hey, you got a play for me?’” Manning said on Thursday after practice. “He was going and I’m not hearing it. We had another minute, and then it popped on right before we were gonna start.”

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Then the communication system for the Giants shut down completely for a brief stretch in the fourth quarter. Manning struggled in the game, and he threw a bad interception on the Giants’ first possession of the fourth quarter.

“I just wasn’t getting anything, so I had to run to the sideline to get the plays,” Manning said. “Four plays maybe, we don’t have signals for stuff. It happened to be all run plays. If it’s pass plays, [backup quarterback Ryan] Nassib or somebody could signal them to me. I had to run to the sideline, sometimes he was giving it to Odell [Beckham Jr.] right there, and Odell would run to me and get the play in. Like high school.”

That’s when McAdoo started using the walkie-talkie, and the communication was functioning again.

“I don’t know when he was on the walkie-talkie or not,” Manning said. “I just knew it was back in my ear, and we were going.”

When told that the walkie-talkie use might not have been legal, Manning backtracked: “I don’t know if we did or didn’t or what happened there.”

It appears the Cowboys also intercepted the walkie-talkie usage and informed the NFL with the formal request to investigate the matter this week.

Is this the biggest deal in the world? No, and the NFL could find that it was an honest mistake; right now it’s not even clear if what the Giants did was illegal or not. But it’s interesting that the 9-4 Giants, who have their sights set on the postseason, now have found themselves involved in two stories where rule breaking has been alerted to the NFL offices — once by the Giants and once against them.

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Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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