Last week, former Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher conceded that faking injuries was part of the Bears’ gameplan to slow fast-paced offenses in recent years, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
Urlacher explained the Bears had a "designated dive guy" who "would get hurt" when a Bears coach would make a swimming motion from the sideline. Urlacher specifically said the tactic was used on long drives or early in the season, when "defenders were more easily gassed".
Urlacher merely put into words what many fans see frequently in games, but hardly ever see sanctioned. In the wake of Urlacher's "confession", the NFL sent a memo to teams warning them not to fake injuries.
"We have instructed all officials to be on the alert for violations of this rule," Blandino wrote in the memo, via ESPN.com. "Further, if it is determined by video review or other means available to the League office that defensive players are engaging in such practices, such players and their coaches may be subject to disciplinary action."
During a second quarter stretch when the Cowboys were playing hurry-up, an injury apparently suffered by Cullen Jenkins gave the Giants defense a much needed chance to catch their breath - and enraged Jason Witten to a point that he loudly complained to the referees about the Giants' delaying tactic. Jenkins returned to the game after sitting out just one snap, which prompted Jerry Jones to call out the Giants tactics after the game.
"I thought us experts on football were the only ones who could see that," Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said, laughing and winking, per Tood Archer of ESPNDallas. "No, 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."
As usual, the NFL will have a hard time proving anything, because it's not easy to find proof of such "gamesmanship" after the fact.
But for the Giants, this is not the first instance of trying to slow down a no huddle offense early in the season, as this clip from the 2011 Week 2 game against the Rams shows:
The crowd at AT&T Stadium immediately understood what was happening on the field and booed the Giants' tactics, but no penalties were called. Perhaps the NFL should send their memo to the referees as well.
(Go here to watch the NFL.com video in which Jason Witten goes up the referee, points at Jenkins and repeatedly says, "He's faking it.")