Posted September 09, 2013

Jerry Jones accuses Giants of faking injuries to stop Dallas’ no-huddle offense

Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, NFC East
Cowboys tight end Jason Witten had a few issues with the Giants' alleged defensive tactics.

Cowboys tight end Jason Witten had a few issues with the Giants’ alleged defensive tactics. (Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin may have been “disappointed and embarrassed” by his team’s six-turnover performance in a 36-31 Sunday night loss to the Dallas Cowboys, but it seems that there are those on the Dallas side of things who aren’t altogether happy with how the Giants’ conducted themselves in one particular stretch of time. Specifically, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said that the Giants were feigning injuries to stop Dallas’ no-huddle offense.

“I thought us experts on football were the only ones who could see that,” Jones said with a smile after the game, per Clarence Hill of the Fort-Worth Star-Telegram. “I didn’t know everybody could. It was so obvious it was funny. It wasn’t humorous, because we really wanted the advantage and knew we could get it if we could get the ball snapped.”

The most obvious example, if this actually occurred, came with 4:44 left in the first half. The Cowboys had the ball at the Giants’ 48-yard line after a five-yard pass from Tony Romo to Jason Witten when Giants defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins went to the ground with some sort of upper-body injury. He jogged off the field after a short consultation with the team’s training staff and returned to the game later.

Witten is seen telling side judge Ronald Torbert that Jenkins is “faking it,” and Romo is seen talking to referee Tony Corrente, presumably about the same thing.

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It’s interesting that, while the Cowboys had run a lot of shotgun through the first and second quarters, they didn’t run any no-huddle snaps until there was 6:39 left in the first half — four plays before the Jenkins injury. On the play before that, Giants linebacker Dan Connor was injured. After a two-play break, Dallas returned to no-huddle, and finished off a 9-play, 71-yard drive with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Romo to Witten.

“it’s absolutely not true,” Coughlin said on his Monday conference call. “Both of those payers were injured.  Connor never returned to the game.  Cullen was in a position where he needed to regroup.  That really wasn’t orchestrated at all.”

If the Giants actually did this, it wouldn’t be the first time they’ve been accused of such nefarious tactics. In September 2011, the St. Louis Rams were driving with their no-huddle on a depleted New York secondary, and after one no-huddle play, two Giants defenders — safety Deon Grant and linebacker Jacquian Williams — suddenly dropped to the ground.

“They couldn’t get subbed, they couldn’t line up,” Rams quarterback Sam Bradford said about the Giants’ reaction to his hurry-up offense. “Someone said, ‘Someone go down, someone go down,’ so someone just went down and grabbed a cramp.”

The Rams spoke to the league about it, and the league subsequently sent out a “zero-tolerance memo” to all 32 teams.

Going forward, be advised that should the league office determine that there is reasonable cause, all those suspected of being involved in faking injuries will be summoned promptly to this office … to discuss the matter. Those found to be violators will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action for conduct detrimental to the game.

We have been fortunate that teams and players have consistently complied with the spirit of the rule over the years and this has not been an issue for the NFL. We are determined to take all necessary steps to ensure that it does not become an issue.

The league sent out a similar memo last week. And as anyone who’s watched professional football for any length of time will tell you, that statement ranges from naiveté to flat-out hilarity. One wonders if the individual at the league offices who was writing it up did so with a chuckle.

There is a long and storied history of fake injury subterfuge against various hurry-up tactics — it goes back to at least the late 1980s, when the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals were blowing defenses away with their fast-paced offenses, and defenses were faking injuries and shuffling extra players in and out to slow things back down.

Former Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher recently said on FOX Sports that the Bears had a “designated dive guy” — a defensive player who would flop after receiving a signal from coaches.

And when I asked Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll about this phenomenon a few days after the Giants-Rams episode, he didn’t exactly seem stunned by the idea. Carroll coached in the NFL in the 1980s and ’90s before his long run at USC and subsequent time in Seattle, so he knew the history.

“I think it’s legit — they saw something and they’re on it,” he said. “There was a time, though … there was a time. That’s not the first time that’s ever happened in football [laughs]. When we used to play against Buffalo in the old days with the ‘K-Gun’ [no-huddle] offense, guys were going down, and that happened before. I’ve seen it happen … they were snapping the ball every 17 seconds, and every once in a while, guys got those ’17-second cramps.’ I think the fact that two guys went down on one play — that was a little telling. So, as they tried to compete at that moment, they got nailed.”

The question is, what (if anything) will the NFL do about it? It’s just about impossible for officials to decide who’s faking it on the field, and they should never be put in such a position. The league has already had enough fallout from improperly diagnosed concussions; you can only imagine the uproar if a player was really hurt and his team was penalized for it. Unless the NFL finds a way to ding teams after the fact, this strategy will be a part of the game.

One addendum to the Giants-Cowboys angle: After Romo’s touchdown pass to Witten, the Giants took the field and ran their first no-huddle snaps of the game. The result? A 70-yard touchdown pass from Eli Manning to Victor Cruz.

Perhaps the Cowboys should have done some flopping of their own.

39 comments
Steve Phillips
Steve Phillips

So now jones is an expert? He has screwed up more good teams than any other owner of an NFL franchise!

MashaManning
MashaManning

experts don't pay players like romo 100m.

MashaManning
MashaManning

6 turnovers and only a 5 point difference? i thought the pundits thought the cowboys were da bomb?

Merv
Merv

“I thought us experts on football were the only ones who could see that,” Jones said 

Wow, talk about delusional.  

Karen10
Karen10

Don't flatter yourself Jerry. The Giants beat themselves. The way they played it should have been a shut out. Same Dallas team with the same excuses.

ArizonaYankee
ArizonaYankee

IMO, any injured player is out for the next 4 plays. That will cut most of it.

Vu
Vu

crap...  now the Giants are following the Miami Heat's guide to playing...

Calvin1965
Calvin1965

That Sound about Right Jerry Jones always cring about something give him a Tissue

RD
RD

Do like they do in soccer sometimes and just play around the hurt player.  That will stop this pretty quickly!

Robert96
Robert96

It has been going on before................The refs need to be a bit more proactive. And if a player gets hurt enough to stop the game,  he has to sit out at least one quarter.

WHO*IS*ESPN
WHO*IS*ESPN

"Can't believe these so called pros FLOP"-----Lebron

eddie767
eddie767

Didn't the Cowboys win? Why are they complaining,since if what the Giants are accused of didn't work? 

TeddyBloomquist
TeddyBloomquist

Install a penalty box for unsportsmanlike conduct, NFL. . . Rather than his team having to go shorthanded like in hockey, a player receiving an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty would be required to sit out a full 15 minutes of game time for a first infraction, 30 for a second, and so on.It's not perfect, but at least it would make dudes think twice about faking injuries, which seems pretty unsportsmanlike to me. . .

bubbleboy74
bubbleboy74

If a defensive player needs medical attention and must stop the clock to get it, then he should be out the rest of the game unless the team chooses to take a timeout and buy him back in.  If it is so serious that he can't get off the field, then he shouldn't be in the game anymore.  If the team is out of timeouts, then to get that player back in the game will cost them a 10 yard penalty.  If not for the game, at least for the half.  As a fan, there is nothing more irritating than watching a behemoth drop to the ground like he'd been hit by a car to then watch him jog off the field 30 seconds later.  Ain't nobody got time for that.

6marK6
6marK6

Hey Jones, your crummy team got six turnovers from the Giants and still barely won. Be thankful you won a game.

dethkat666
dethkat666

Man, I wish we could fire the owner.

Old Schoolers
Old Schoolers

Jerry Jones is an expert on football?  (“I thought us experts on football were the only ones who could see that,” Jones said.)  How come he has had one of the highest paid mediocre teams in the league for the last decade plus?  Face it, he's a rich fan.

Whatever
Whatever

There's no penalty for faking an injury, so guys will continue to do it until it's made illegal. And if anyone is called to the Commish's office to "discuss" it (and leave with their fine in hand), you better believe the NFLPA will have an appeal filed within hours.

houndstoothunderwear
houndstoothunderwear

Giants were only trying to help Jerr..Romo moves any faster the ints start piling up

NYRedd42
NYRedd42

So when is the parade for the Cowboys week 1 Championship? "US" experts, really Jerry?

caleb
caleb

Best part of this whole story - "“I thought us experts on football were the only ones who could see that,” Jones said..."   Us experts Jerry???  That's a good one!

muser
muser

That's been nowhere near as effective slowing down the "Boys as Jerry's faking being a GM...

sunalsorises
sunalsorises

We already knew the Giants faked injuries.  They're dirt bags.  Playing at a mediocre level has its price and having to do something bush league is that price.

Stewart.BuryJones
Stewart.BuryJones

Maybe they could extend the period that an 'injured' player has to stay on the sideline.  Few real injuries are dealt with in the span of a single play, so making players who go down at least stay on the sideline for 3 plays or the rest of the series might give offenses an opportunity to exploit the replacement player.  Teams could still have a rotational or marginal player take a knee but it would take a greater sacrifice to get a breather.

clu
clu

@ArizonaYankee Too short.  5 minutes plus the duration of the stoppage of game clock, carries over between halves and overtime, longer if the player has to be helped off the field.  Couple that with another rule change where the team with the injured player may not make substitutions for the next play, and you'll see the faking stop immediately.


If the defenders can't keep up, make them run some laps already.

bubbleboy74
bubbleboy74

@eddie767 Probably because if the league does nothing about it, then they will likely continue doing it.  The Rams complained about the Giants 2 years ago.  It may not have worked this time in the final result, but it is definitely an advantage that they can slow the Cowboys down without having to take a timeout.  They play again later this season and twice every year.

PaulSharpe
PaulSharpe

@6marK6 Actually, Giants LOST, Got It... LOST!!? and were lucky not to lose by 30...  SUCK it NY losers....   LOL

RichardStorm
RichardStorm

@Old Schoolers please, you don't have to be an expert to KNOW that the Giants were faking....A junior high school football player could see it.  ;)  

6marK6
6marK6

@Whatever Actually the referees are instructed to call an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty if they feel the injury is fake. Of course that can be a touchy call. But there is definitely a penalty for it. 

RobertJacke
RobertJacke

@sunalsorises Like other teams dont fake injuries like the Bears, Urlacker said in a interview just last week......

MikeFisicaro
MikeFisicaro

Classless? Classless IS faking injury so you don't get beat