We all remember the 2003 regular season game between the Colts and the Patriots at the old RCA Dome. Patriots linebacker Willie McGinest practically faked his own death when he flopped down on the field with an apparent 'injury' in order to slow down the Colts no-huddle offense, which was giving the Pats defense fits that day.
Fast forward to as recently as 2009, when then-49ers coach Mike Singletary sent signals to his defense players to flop down. Even more recent: Last year, when our own Matt Grecco noticed this during the Colts v. Jaguars game at Lucas Oil Stadium late in the season:
Stop me if you've heard this one before: Team fakes injury to slow down Colts no-huddle offense.
Most of the time, it's pure speculation, or completely done by the player, so you can't say with certainty that he was faking. However, on Sunday you can thank the Jacksonville coaching staff for showing everyone inside Lucas Oil Stadium plain as day that they wanted a player to go down to the ground with an "injury".
The Colts ran their first 6 plays at blazing speed, with no substitutions, covering 26 yards on multiple quick strike plays. Then Donald Brown goes up the middle, through the defense for a 47 yard blast, getting down to the Jacksonville 7. Peyton Manning had the Colts racing down the field, trying to keep the up-tempo pace going. The Colts are close to the line, when the whistle blows. Jaguars injury.
Teams faking injuries to slow down Indy's no-huddle is no new thing. Yeah, it's dirty. It's cheating. It's demeaning to the game of football. But, as long as their is no consequence for doing it, dirty coaches will employ it as a tactic.
Faking injuries is certainly nothing new. Hell, Bill Belichick told his players to fake injuries way back in 1995 when he coached the Browns.
So, why all the outrage now?
What I personally find fascinating is the utter gall of New England Patriots players (like Tom Brady) complaining about the San Diego Chargers apparently 'faking' injuries on Sunday to slow down the Pats no-huddle. If you watched the game, as I did, it was obvious Chargers defensive players were flopping to slow down New England's offense. Tom Brady was clearly annoyed by it on the field, and even walked over to a few Chargers players to check to see if they were actually hurt.
The next day, on Monday Night Fotball, the the New York Giants defense put on a pathetic display by faking injuries against Sam Bradford and the St. Louis Rams. After seeing this, the whole media community seemed OUTRAGED these tactics were being usedg.
Where were these people in 2003? Or 2009? Or last friggin year?
Joel Thorman at Arrowhead Pride thinks the outrage is a result of more media coverage now than in previous years. Personally, I don't buy that. The league is more pass-happy than ever, and lots of teams (Patriots, Steelers, Rams) have copied the Colts offensive system built around the QB checking plays at the line of scrimmage. Back when just the Colts were getting screwed, no one cared. Now that multiple teams are getting screwed, it's an affront to the integrity of the league, or some such nonsense.
Listen, if it is dirty now, it was dirty back then. And if the league wants to do something about it, they should fine teams and coaches who encourage it. If that doesn't work, start suspending coaches. Not players. Coaches.
You'll see this kind of activity stop very quickly when a coach is faced with the prospect of missing money.