The Giants had finished their comeback, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers along with it. With only seconds left on the clock and no time left for the Bucs to come back, the Giants did the traditional kneel-down to end the game. When the ball is snapped, the defense usually makes light contact. The QB takes a knee and the play is over.
Yesterday, when Eli Manning took the snap, he was bowled over by the surging Bucs’ defensive front. When the game ended and the two coaches met to shake hands in the middle of the field, Tom Coughlin had some heated words for new Bucs’ head coach Greg Schiano.
“I don’t think you do that at this level,” Coughlin told the media afterward. “You don’t do that in this league. You don’t just, you jeopardize the offensive line, you jeopardize the quarterback. Thank goodness we didn’t get anyone hurt–that I know of. A couple of the linemen were late coming in.”
Onlookers were also confused at why the Bucs would do such a thing, which is generally frowned on at the NFL level. Eli himself was taken by surprise:
“That was a first. Obviously I think it’s a little bit of a cheap shot. We’re taking a knee, we’re in a friendly way and they’re firing off and that’s a way to get someone hurt.”
Schiano, who is in his first season as Bucs’ head coach after spending the past 12 years in the college ranks, had coached in the NFL prior to that and should have known the protocol. After the game, however, he made no apologies.
“I don’t know if that’s not something that’s done in the National Football League,” Schiano said as per the Tampa Bay Times. “What I do with our football team is that we fight until they tell us game over. And there’s nothing dirty about it, there’s nothing illegal about it. We crowd the ball like a sneak defense and try to knock it loose. There’s nothing…if people watched Rutgers, they would know that’s what we do at the end of a game. We’re not going to quit, that’s just the way I coach and teach our players. If some people are upset about it, that’s just the way it goes. I don’t have any hesitation. That’s the way we play. We play clean, hard football until they tell us the game is over.”
Not sure a Jim Harbaugh, Jeff Fisher or a Bill Belichick would agree.