x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach competitive but no sport

Greg Schiano's decision to have his players to charge past New York Giants line is not appreciated.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano, left, and his counterpart at New York Giants Tom Coughlin exchanged a few words at the end of Sunday's game. Julio Cortez / AP Photo
Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano, left, and his counterpart at New York Giants Tom Coughlin exchanged a few words at the end of Sunday's game. Julio Cortez / AP Photo

Each sport has unwritten rules, gentlemen's agreements observed – even though breaking those rules is not a violation.

One such ordinance from American football applies to the "victory formation" deployed by an offence at the close of an NFL game when the outcome is clear. Players line up passively, with no intention to exert themselves, as the quarterback takes the snap and instantly takes a knee to end the play. The unwritten rule calls for the defence to act similarly, with no effort, allowing the clock to expire.

Greg Schiano, the rookie coach at Tampa Bay, either had not read the unwritten rule book or he ignored it. In his second game, with his Buccaneers trailing by a touchdown, Schiano instructed his team to charge past an unsuspecting New York Giants line and towards Eli Manning in an unlikely attempt to force a fumble.

Following the push-and-shove antics between teams, the Giants coach Tom Coughlin did not exactly welcome Schiano to the league in the post-game handshake. Later, a perturbed Coughlin said the tactic invited injury.

Schiano was excoriated in the aftermath. He was wrong, but vilification is too much. His mantra with the Bucs goes something like this: play hard till the end.

It was telling that no Bucs players backed the move, instead saying they were just following the coach's orders. Unspoken but clear was their concern that an opponent could retaliate.

Schiano can make his "never quit" point to Bucs players in more sportsmanlike ways.

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