In their 28-16 victory over the St. Louis Rams on Monday night, the New York Giants managed to bring more suspect acting to prime-time.
Two New York Giants defensive players flopped onto the field in the first quarter, faking injuries in an effort to slow down the St. Louis Rams offense, which had just driven inside the 10-yard line. The display by safety Deon Grant and linebacker Jacquian Williams was significantly enough over the top (watch here) that ESPN’s Mike Tirico had to comment on it, saying when Williams jumped up, “Miraculously, he recovered quickly.” Oh, yes, it was a veritable miracle. Grant stayed down and was visited by trainers.
“I hate to say that he’s not really hurt,” Jon Gruden added, “but that’s a tactic defenses have used in the past against no-huddle offenses to try to slow it down.”
Don’t expect any repercussions, though. The NFL said there will be no punishment unless the team or players confess their guilt. Which seems unlikely, given Tom Coughlin’s comment about Grant. (“From the sideline I thought he was cramped. At that point in time, all I noticed was a player down.”)
The move isn’t exactly new or confined to the NFL, as Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk wrote. There was a preseason incident involving LaRoy Landry in 2010. The Patriots’ Willie McGinest did it in a 2003 game against the Colts and was called out by Peyton Manning. But when it happens on “Monday Night Football” and involves outright scenery chewing, it’s probably going to be something that the NFL reminds game officials to watch for.
Mike Pereira, the NFL’s former director of officiating, was asked about the issue on a FoxSports chat and replied: “It is allowed because it is not against the rules. It will end up getting discussed in the offseason. This has been going on for a long time and needs to be addressed. It is totally unethical.”