Momentum is one of the most powerful weapons on the football field. Unlike physical talent, it is an intangible that teams have struggled to slow down, making it nearly impossible to stop.
Or is it?
This past Friday night, the College went up against the Ursinus College Bears. Leading the entire game, the Lions gave up a late touchdown and fell behind 24-20. With less than three minutes to play, they needed to score immediately. The College’s final drive started off promising with multiple completions.
Then, with all the momentum on the Lions’ side, an Ursinus player went down with an injury. After he was helped off the field, the momentum was gone. The College was stopped on their quest for a comeback, and they turned the ball over on downs.
This triggered a memory from a game last year in the NFL. The New York Giants were playing the St. Louis Rams on Monday Night Football. As the Rams were driving in the Giants’ red zone, two players, safety Deon Grant and linebacker Jacquian Williams, flopped and fell to the ground with a supposed injury. The pause in action wound up killing the Rams’ momentum.
However, in this case, it was obvious that the Giants’ players were faking to slow down the Rams’ offense. Commentators, analysts, fans and even blind men could see right through the bad acting jobs of New York’s players.
Seeing this really bothered me. How could football players, some of the toughest athletes in the world, resort to pulling a LeBron James and acting as if they’d been shot over nothing?
There were no repercussions for the Giants or their players because the NFL would be unable to 100 percent prove it was an act unless they had a confession from the players.
Something similar happened in a game later in the season between the Atlanta Falcons and Green Bay Packers. Packers linebacker A. J. Hawk gave Falcons’ offensive lineman Joe Hawley a small shove after a play. Hawley flew backwards as if he had been hit by a car, and Hawk was called for a penalty.
Luckily, this wasn’t an issue for the rest of the season, but now with the new season about to start, commissioner Roger Goodell needs to keep an eye out for this. As if the replacement referees weren’t enough cause for concern, issues arrive every season, and this could be one of them.
If this comes up again, Goodell needs to watch tape on the “injury” very carefully, as well as have doctors determine whether the player is actually hurt. Then, he should sit down with a panel and come to a verdict on whether or not the athlete is exaggerating. If they are, come down on them with a swift fine, and players won’t do it again.
The NFL is the most popular league in America so therefore, it should be held to the highest of standards. The act of a player faking an injury to slow down the opponents’ offense is very cowardly, lame and it hurts the integrity of the game.
I’m very excited for the NFL season to start, and I know I’m not alone. I just hope problems like this don’t compromise the sport we all know and love.