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Tom Coughlin shouldn't be upset with Buccaneers on final play

September 17, 2012|By Dan Loumena
  • Buccaneers Coach Greg Schiano, left, looks a bit puzzled that Giants Coach Tom Coughlin is giving him an earful after the game.
Buccaneers Coach Greg Schiano, left, looks a bit puzzled that Giants Coach… (Julio Cortez / Associated…)

Giants Coach Tom Coughlin chastised Tampa Bay BuccaneersCoach Greg Schiano for having his defense go after the ball when New York quarterback Eli Manning was taking a knee to run out the final seconds of the game Sunday.

Coughlin gave Schiano an earful (photo above, video below) as they were shaking hands following the game, which the Giants won, 41-34. (Note to Coach Coughlin: You've guided the Giants to two Super Bowl victories, which is impressive, but Coach Schiano doesn't look to be a guy with which you should be picking fights.)

There evidently are some unwritten rules in football, including one that suggests when the opposing quarterback is taking a knee to kill the clock that the defense doesn't rush him as it would do during any other part of the game.

“You're going for the ball?” Coughlin could be heard screaming at Schiano during their postgame handshake. “You're trying to hurt the quarterback.”

Schiano defended the call, saying it was something he teaches his players, who are instructed to play hard until the final whistle.

”I don't know if that's something that's not done in the National Football League, but what I do with our football team is fight until the game is over,” Schiano said.

Shouldn't the NFL just put in a rule -- as they do almost annually to protect the safety of players, especially quarterbacks -- that the game is over if the defensive team is out of timeouts and the offensive team can take a snap or two to run out the clock? Why snap the ball one or two more times? The quarterback could injure a finger taking the snap. He could pull a groin or hamstring while stepping back and quickly downing the ball.

Oh, wait, let's think about this. The game lasts 60 minutes for a reason. The quarterback could actually fumble the snap. If he does and the opposing team isn't rushing him, the quarterback or one of the running backs, who usually line up behind the guards in a protective position, could simply fall on the fumbled snap. The defensive team's chance at one last possession, particularly in a close game where they might be in field-goal position with a turnover, would be for naught.

So, from this point forward, opposing offensive lineman protecting a quarterback who is going to take a knee should be forewarned that the defensive players might actually fire off the line toward them in a manner that is consistent with trying to get to the quarterback. Kind of like in boxing, where the fighters are warned before the bout to protect themselves at all times.

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