So, they call it a dirty play and question the character of our football team, huh?
By now I'm sure you've all heard the uproar coming from MetLife Stadium surrounding the Giants' final kneel-down and the resulting scrum.
About how the Giants took exception to the Bucs knocking Archie's boy, Eli, to the ground. You know, about how their feelings were hurt and how the line was crossed and yada, yada yada.
Eli called it a cheap shot and several of his linemen called it a dirty play and unnecessary.
To which I say: Mr. Pot, I'd like to introduce you to Mr. Kettle.
These cries of incredulity coming from the New York Giants are amusing and ironic, given the fact that former Patriots safety Rodney Harrison—himself no stranger to cheap shots and late hits—once said about playing the G-Men, "It wasn't no secret. They push, they hit late, they come at you and try to take you out. That's the way they play."
And yet here we are the next morning, talking about the Bucs like they're the dirty team. Like they're the ones that should be ashamed of playing hard until they blow the final whistle. Like they're the ones in need of an NFL etiquette course.
Giants coach Tom Coughlin said of the kneel-down play, "You don't do that in this league."
Well Coach Coughlin, to quote former Tampa Bay Lightning and current New York Rangers coach John Tortorella, "shut your yap."
You see, last season the Bucs were soft. They were undisciplined. They played like a team that was scared and unprepared. If that's the team the Giants were expecting, then the apologies should be coming from the other sideline.
If this year's Bucs team has shown us anything, it's that Coach Schiano and his staff have made them tougher and more physical. They've also played noticeably faster and grittier.
And if you look close enough, you'd probably see a scowl or two underneath their face masks.
Don't get me wrong, I am not advocating late hits and/or the intent to injure other players. But if you watch the replay (as I'm sure you have), that wasn't what the Bucs were attempting to do.
There was time on the clock and crazier things have happened in the game of football. Why not go for the football? Why not give your team another opportunity to win it?
The Bucs should make no apologies for playing the way they played. Well, other than all of the long touchdowns they allowed.
Yeah, they should apologize for those.
But the manner in which they played and the attitude they displayed? Not today, not tomorrow, not ever.
Coach Coughlin and his band of choir boys can call the Bucs what they want and take exception to the final play, but it won't change my perception of them in the least.
Unlike last season, when the team showed no fight, they played from whistle to whistle and until the clock read all zeros.
The Giants can call it dirty and unnecessary.
I call it an improvement.