I already wrote this morning about how the number of penalties in the NFL so far this year is ridiculous, but one penalty that wasn't a result of stricter enforcement or referee error was the flag thrown on Colts wide receiver Hakeem Nicks after a 36-yard catch and run against his former team, the New York Giants. Nicks held the ball out in a taunting manner, and then it appeared he had some words for the Giants sideline. Of course, the flag was thrown for unsportsmanlike conduct - taunting.
And Colts head coach Chuck Pagano wasn't happy with Nicks for it. He gave Nicks a talking-to (that's putting it nicely) as the receiver came over to the sidelines in a break in the action. After the game, Pagano again let it be known that he doesn't appreciate that sort of behavior from his football players. "It doesn't matter who the opponent is. They're nameless, faceless objects to us. Good football team," Pagano said. "We respect all, we fear none, but it's not about them, it's about us and how we handle our business, how we play the game. So it doesn't matter what the situation is, and Hakeem knows. Right after it was over, he knew exactly what the discussion was going to be. He's better than that, he knows that. Next time he'll learn from that, and it won't happen again."
Pagano certainly praised Nicks for his performance on the field on Saturday night, but here's how he summed up his thoughts on Nicks: "He did a great job; minus the one penalty it would have been a fantastic night. He had a really good night, it would have been a fantastic night."
Nicks also talked after the game about how it was his fault, saying, "Actually, that was my mistake. I should have known better than that. I was just playing ball at the time. I didn't really think they were going to call that, but they did their job and that was my mistake." After being prompted by a media member, Nicks jokingly said, "Yeah, I was just waving, a friendly wave."
It was simply a dumb penalty for Nicks on a night filled with many positives, and the penalty came on third down as Nicks caught a pass and took it for 36 yards. It was called back, and the Colts again had to play the third down. Just completely unnecessary and dumb, and both Chuck Pagano and Hakeem Nicks know that.
On the bright side, when they re-played the down, Andrew Luck went right back to Nicks for another first down. Altogether on the night, Nicks caught 5 passes for 53 yards playing as the Colts' number one receiver with Reggie Wayne and T.Y. Hilton both out. On the field, it was a very encouraging night from Nicks, and it was yet another sign that perhaps we'll begin to see the Nicks of a couple of years ago this year in Indianapolis.