Is Tom Coughlin Right or a Hypocrite?
Nobody is talking about the 14-point comeback the New York Giants showcased against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 2 of the NFL season. The only thing we keep hearing about is the Tom Coughlin and Greg Schiano fiasco.
With the game winding down, Eli Manning and the Giants lined up in the victory formation. The snap ensued and the Bucs defensive linemen pushed through the relaxed Giants' line, trying to hold nothing back.
You either agree with one or the other. So who was right?
Coughlin and Schiano exchanged heated words after the game. The Giants' head coach was very angry at what happened, but the Bucs' head coach says he did nothing illegal. The debates have been at full force all morning on various sports media outlets.
According to The New York Times, Coughlin stated after the game:
"I don't think you do that at this level. You don't do that in this league."
The Giants' head coach believes it was an unethical play that was disrespectful to the game of football. His premise was that the game was over, but was it really?
Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano responded with this comment after the game. Via ESPN:
"I don't know if that's not something that's not done in the National Football League, but what I do with our football team is we fight until they tell us 'game over.' There's nothing dirty about it and there's nothing illegal about it."
His reason is that he coaches his team to never give up, and the game isn't over until the whistle blows. He is teaching the Buccaneers to continue fighting, no matter the adversity.
Multiple players, new and old, have chipped in on the conversation. Of course, offensive players like Eli Manning and former quarterback Dan Marino say Coughlin is right. Meanwhile, hard-nosed players like former Giants linebacker Antonio Pierce and Hall of Famer Mike Ditka believe Schiano made the right decision.
The NFL has responded through a spokesperson stating, via The New York Daily News:
"There is nothing further on the incident at the end of the game. There were no violations on the play or afterwards that would require follow up from our office."
Was it dirty? Was the game really even over?
Not over Until the Fat Lady Sings
The Chargers were going for the come-from-behind win in Kansas City, scoring a touchdown and two-point conversion to tie the game at 20. When they got the ball again, they looked on their way to the game-winning drive. They got a first down at the Chiefs' 15-yard-line with around one minute left to play.
In position to kick the game-winning field goal, Philip Rivers and the Chargers were getting ready to run the clock down one more time and kick a field goal with little time left. A fumbled-snap-recovered-by-the-Chiefs later and the game goes to overtime; Kansas City wins a thriller.
For the Kansas City defensive linemen, the game was pretty much over. Their backs were to the wall and they didn't have enough timeouts to get the ball again. But, if those linemen had not jumped the snap enough, they might not have recovered that botched fumble and move on to win the game.
Eli Manning fumbling a snap in the victory formation may be a stretch, but literally anything can happen in the NFL.
What I'm saying, and what a lot of great football coaches and players are too, is that the game is not over until that final whistle has blown. Like Antonio Pierce eluded to on ESPN, these men are not getting paid to play 59 minutes and 57 seconds. Just like young children stepping into the game are taught: you don't stop until you hear the whistle.
Coughlin's Defense Has Never Done Anything Wrong
Tom Coughlin's biggest problem with the quarterback-kneel fiasco is that it was unsportsmanlike in his eyes. "It's just something you don't see at this level," Coughlin's son-in-law and offensive guard Chris Snee said, according to The New York Daily News. Although it did happen and no flags were thrown.
And, of course, he wouldn't stoop down to that level. No, he and the New York Giants never play dirty football. The funny thing is, I remember a Giants defense not too long ago that actually took part in the most unprofessional football act I had ever seen.
Let me take you back—again, just last season—to a Monday Night Football game in which the Giants took on the Rams. As St. Louis was driving down the field with a no-huddle offense, players on the defensive side of the ball all of a sudden started flopping to the ground because they were "injured."
Don't let Coughlin's words fool you. His defense has been known to do much worse than playing until the final whistle.
The Huffington Post has the video to refresh your memory.
The verdict is still out, and everyone seems to have a different take on it.
Schiano's players may have been playing out of frustration since they let the game slip between their fingers. At the same time, football is football, and a game isn't over until it's over.
If this game had resulted in the same outcome of the Chargers and Chiefs game, would this be a discussion about dirty play or players never giving up?