The play was over. I looked down to check my twitter feed on my phone… seconds later I looked up at the TV just when Deon Grant flopped to the ground as if he was knocked unconscious, several moments after the play ended.
I thought to myself – hmm, that is really odd. Then the Giants defense made a tremendous goal line stop and all was forgotten in that moment of a potentially devastating Deon Grant injury. And he was right back out on the field on the next Rams possession.
But allegations of Grant’s ridiculous theatrics in faking an injury to allow the Giants time to substitue their goal line defense have stirred the pot as to how powerless officials really are in the NFL in some cases, and the lengths some players will go to while putting their team in a positions to win.
It was obvious to everyone watching that Giants defensive back Deon Grant and linebacker Jacquian Williams were faking when they flopped to the ground during the first quarter of Monday’s game (video here). The Rams had marched inside the Giants’ 10-yard line and were lining up for another play, and the Giants wanted to get their goal-line package on the field, so they took a free timeout by pretending to be hurt.
“We’re stuck. The only thing an official can do – and this is at every level – is if they see what looks like an injury, they have to stop the clock. We can’t get in the business of deciding whether it’s valid or not.”
Everyone knows this happens, and frankly when it’s your team doing the dirty work you don’t care. But something was clearly wrong with Grant in the sense that he collapse like he had a seizure and the was fine, back in the game, and making tackles the very next chance he got to take the field. Clearly — there is a way to take advantage of the NFL’s policies on player health and the referees job to enforce those policies. What should be done about it? I haven’t the first clue… perhaps it’s all part of the game?
Do I question Derek Jeter faking being hit by the pitch so he can take first base in a close game? No I don’t… the Yankees needed that advantage. Do I question a receiver selling a pass interference call whether or not mutual contact got pushed over the line by the defender? Not if my Giants receiver is getting the favor. Did I ever question Michael Jordan selling a foul to get to the line? No — he needed those free throws to get his team back in control of the game.
And that’s just it — dirty or not it’s the name of the game. We love to talk about it, debate it over and over, take hard lines on the ethical practice of such tactics. But at the end of the day, love or hate it, it’s still all part of the game.