Buccaneers’ kneel down tactics continue to stir talk in NFL
Published: Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 00:09
At the very end of the thrilling Giants win last week over the Buccaneers, Eli Manning prepared his team for one final play before the clock read 0:00. They had been knocked down by a fourth quarter deficit of 11 points only to storm back for a 41-34 lead with just seconds on the clock. Unbeknownst to Manning and co., they were about to get knocked down one more time.
In a series of seconds that has since been hotly debated by football fans everywhere, the Tampa Bay defensive front fired forward at the snap and toppled the unsuspecting Manning and his offensive lineman. The ploy, intended to spur a fumble and possible defensive score for the visitors to tie the score, sent New York head coach Tom Coughlin into a fury postgame.
Confronting Buccaneer head coach Greg Schiano at midfield, Coughlin fumed about the tactics, calling them unprofessional and dangerous. Schiano has since stated to the press that he would call for the same play all over again, saying his team will play to the very end of the game.
The tactic, while largely unpracticed in the NFL, is legal and something Schiano coached at Rutgers, his previous head coaching position prior to Tampa Bay. There he executed it and forced four bobbled snaps; at home against North Carolina a year ago, versus Pittsburgh and West Virginia in 2009 and against Maryland in 2007.
The play irked several New York Giants caught off guard by the desperate attempt at a comeback. Defensive end Justin Tuck, who witnessed the rush from the sideline called it “a classless play” with “no place in the NFL”. Other players and analysts around the league, including ESPN’s Ron Jaworski, declared the Bucs were just playing to the point of finishing the game. Jaworski went as far as to say this is something Coughlin himself preaches and thus owes Schiano an apology.