The victory offense is supposed to be an easy and simple game-ending play.
Following a Michael Boley interception of Josh Freeman, Eli Manning and his offense came out to take a knee and end the game. Yet when the ball was snapped, the Tampa Bay defensive line shoved the Giants offensive line into Manning, who went flying back and had a shocked look as he hit the ground.
When the game was officially declared over, Giants head coach Tom Coughlin and Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano met at the center of the field and their exchange was not friendly.
Instead of the typical handshake and good-luck exchange, Coughlin got in Schiano's face, pointing angrily in his direction, and whatever words were said definitely did not look too flattering.
According to Jane McManus of ESPN New York, when interviewed after the game, Coughlin defended his franchise quarterback and his actions after Sunday's game:
I don't think you do that at this level. You don't do that in this league. You don't jeopardize the offensive line, you (don't) jeopardize the quarterback. Thank goodness we didn't get anybody hurt, that I know of, a couple of linemen were late coming in (after end of game).
Schiano, on the other hand, felt justified in the final play and doesn't regret it.
Giants offensive lineman Sean Locklear offered his thoughts:
It's nothing I've ever seen. I think it's a dirty play. When we're all telling them we're going down, they're not gonna get the ball. They're not gonna get the snap, we're not gonna fumble the ball. But it's a play that they did.
Many of the Giants players—including Locklear and Chris Snee, who were involved on the play—defended their coach and thought what Schiano was trying to teach his NFL team should stay at college and not at the pro level.
The Giants are right—as was Coughlin in his actions to confront Schiano.
Everyone knows that the victory offense is the end of the game, and players don't go at the opposition with a full head of steam.
Yes, you are supposed to play to the whistle, but Tampa was going to lose the game. What did Schiano think was going to happen, another version of the original "Miracle at the Meadowlands"?
The victory offense and the quarterback kneel-down were invented because of that game. Generally, when a defense tries to bull rush the victory offense, it's considered a cheap shot and "bush-league tactics."
That's exactly how it came off for Tampa and especially for Schiano, who is a first-year NFL coach.
Teaching his players to do that is wrong, and eventually, he and his players will develop the kind of reputation that could lead to certain retaliations by opponents.
For the 66-year-old Coughlin, who just saw his team pull off a comeback and get a victory, to get that upset over the play, that really must have irritated him as soon as it happened.
For guys like Snee, Locklear and even Giants owner John Mara to come right out and defend Coughlin shows how much respect the Giants head coach has.
Manning, who took the brunt of the play, even said it was a cheap shot:
That was a first. Obviously I think it is a little bit of a cheap shot. Going down, we are taking a knee, in a friendly way. They are firing off, and it's a way to get someone hurt.
Manning is right; it could be a way for players to get hurt. Let's not forget, the NFL suspended people from the New Orleans Saints over their bounty system that centered around hurting players for money.
If this type of thing with Schiano and the Bucs continues to happen in the future, I could see commissioner Roger Goodell getting involved with the matter.
No matter what gets said about the situation, the Giants and Coughlin had every right to do what they did and say what they felt.
Hopefully by the time Thursday night's game against the Carolina Panthers rolls around, the play becomes a thing of the past and the Giants can just concentrate on playing football.
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