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I saw on NFL Network earlier today that there is apparently some controversy regarding the following play at the end of the New York Giants / Tampa Bay Buccaneers game on Sunday, September 16th:

After the game, during the handshake, Giants coach Tom Coughlin was apparently irate with Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano regarding this play, shouted at him the whole time, and almost walked away without shaking hands. The folks on NFL Network were even talking about the possibility of the league taking action against the Buccaneers and possibly even changing the rules somehow to prevent this sort of thing.

Tom Coughlin yells at Greg Schiano

What a big baby!

The Buccaneers are trying to win the game! That's the whole point of playing. They are trying to force a mistake that will give them an opportunity to get the ball back and score.

I guess the Giants just didn't want another "Miracle at the Meadowlands" to spoil their game.

The NFL should absolutely not take any action to penalize the Buccaneers for this play. Nor should they even seriously consider the possibility of changing the rules to try to prevent something like this. The Buccaneers should have every right to try to win the game, even if the Giants just want to go home.

How would the NFL change the rule, anyway? Not even let the defense on the field for a kneel-down play? Just end the game as soon as the offense declares that they are going to kneel down to run out the clock?

If you do the latter, then you remove the possibility of the offense screwing up on their own accord (i.e. the "Miracle at the Meadowlands", above). It can happen (see video below).

If you do the former, then you open up a whole new can of worms. Consider a situation in which a team is losing and wants to kneel down to just get the game over with. They may run a trick kneel down, similar to Dan Marino's infamous fake spike (video below). If the defense isn't allowed to rush on a kneel-down play, then the offense would be able to line up in the kneel-down formation, but then simply run a play, and the defense would be completely defenseless.

Tom Coughlin: stop being a whiny little bitch. If you're afraid of getting your prized quarterback hurt because the other team is playing too hard, then put in your second or third string offense to run the kneel-down play(s). Otherwise, shut up and play the game, and remember that the other team is trying to win too.

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