Faking injuries has always been a part of the NFL, and likely always will be.
Yes, that’s tough to hear, mostly because it leads to the mental image of a brutish, barbaric, finely tuned athletic machine being on the same level as your average Italian soccer player.
In fact, I hardly slept last night due to a nightmare that looked something like this…
Thankfully, football will never get to the masculinity destroying lows of futebol. But be very aware that a tweaked hammy that’s miraculously cured seconds later has been around the NFL since a time when the term “pigskin” wasn’t just playful slang.
The blatant simultaneous flopping by the Giants Monday night that ended in safety Deon Grant crumpling to the ground has spawned a spirited discussion on the art of acting in the NFL over the last two days.
Earlier this morning the league officially spoke on the matter, issuing a memo to all 32 teams:
Should the league office determine that there is reasonable cause, all those suspected in being involved in faking injuries will be summoned promptly to this office in New York to discuss the matter. Those found to be violators will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action for conduct detrimental to the game. Discipline could include fines of coaches, players and clubs, suspensions or forfeiture of draft choices.
The problem of course is finding that reasonable cause and indisputable evidence. As has been outlined at length here and elsewhere, NFL referees aren’t paid to form medical opinions in a matter of seconds, and that’s not a practice the league wants to pursue, especially given the greater emphasis that’s been placed on player safety.
Defensive players faking injuries to slow down an offense is nearly as common in football as sign stealing is in baseball. Fans are now upset at a part of the game that’s existed forever, just as Oregon Ducks fans became filled with rage last fall. The only available concrete evidence though is if a player or team admits to their poser skills, and hell will resemble Antarctica before that happens.
A possible solution to help curb faking would be to keep an injured player out for an entire series as opposed to just one play. Or if the league wants to get radical more timeouts could be given to both teams (let’s say six apiece), and one will be taken away after every injury. Currently teams with timeouts remaining lose one during an injury, but only if it occurs in the final two minutes of a half.