Anytime the San Francisco 49ers play the Detroit Lions, you can bet that "the Handshake" will be rehashed ad nauseum. Now the lucky fans of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New York Giants will get to enjoy the same treatment.
The Giants had just finished off the Buccaneers in a surprisingly offensive game, 41-34. However, the entertainment didn't cease with the final play.
Tom Coughlin greeted Greg Schiano with some harsh words and wild gesticulations, which Schiano did not seem to like. He responded by stepping up to Coughlin and exchanging verbal blows until parting ways.
According to Jenny Vrentas, the fight had to do with the dirty play of the Tampa Bay defenders late in the game.
Players upset after they say Bucs line dove at Giants center, guards' knees. Locklear said one of Bucs said it was coach's orders. #nyg— Jenny Vrentas (@JennyVrentas) September 16, 2012
If true, Coughlin will only cement his legacy among his players. Winning two Super Bowls in four years gets you respect, but sticking up for your guys in such a manner wins their complete loyalty. The confrontation could have a galvanizing effect for the Giants that carries them through the season.
Conversely, it'll be interesting to see how Schiano addresses his team, since his coaching approach is one of discipline and accountability. He risks losing the locker room if he does not hold himself to the same standards.
The Bucs have been an improved team due to buying into Schiano's program. If he can seize this opportunity and show his players that he is committed to his values, the same galvanizing effect the Giants might enjoy could be felt by Tampa Bay.
Another interesting matter will be the action taken by Roger Goodell. If Schiano was using dirty tactics that purposely exposed players to unnecessary injury risks, Goodell might be forced to hand out some discipline of his own after the Bountygate debacle. He needs to reestablish the parameters of his power and will assuredly try to portray his concern for player safety, whether real or not.
As for doling out any punishment for the argument itself, the league likely won't take any action since none was taken against Jim Harbaugh and Jim Schwartz last year. The Handshake of 2011 was much more intense and involved than this brief exchange.
Regardless, if these two teams meet in the playoffs, you can bet that the intensity will be palpable. I, for one, would love to see it.