It turned out to be Sunday, however, when Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano ordered his team to treat it like any other play and go after Giants quarterback Eli Manning, who was trying to take a knee and run out the clock in New York’s 41-34 victory.
Tampa brought pressure on the play, knocking Manning to the ground. Giants coach Tom Coughlin was outraged and let Schiano know about it at midfield after the game.
“I don’t think you do that at this level,” Coughlin told ESPN later. “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 …”
The usually placid Manning wasn’t too happy about it either.
“That was a first,” he told ESPN. “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.”
Schiano, in his first season in the NFL, was in no mood to apologize, saying he had used the same tactic at Rutgers.
“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,” Schiano said. “There’s nothing dirty about it and there’s nothing illegal about it.
“We crowd the ball — it’s like a sneak defense and you try to knock it loose. Watch Rutgers, they would know if they watched us that’s what we did at the end of the game.”
“We’re not going to quit, that’s just the way I coach and teach our players,” Schiano said. “Some people were upset about it — that’s the way it goes. I don’t have any hesitation. That’s the way we play — clean, hard football until they tell us the game’s over.”
Giants offensive lineman Chris Snee said the play might be OK for college, but not the NFL.
“When I get a helmet off my knee at the end of the game I’m not going to be happy. It’s a shame that this is what we have to talk about, two teams who fought their tails off. It was a great game. Maybe that was acceptable in college, it’s not acceptable [in the NFL].”
With the NFL’s emphasis on player safety, should Schiano be called on the carpet for the play; or are Coughlin and the Giants making much ado about nothing?