Blog Entry

Should the NFL fine players who fake injuries?

Posted on: September 20, 2011 12:01 pm
Edited on: September 20, 2011 12:09 pm
Posted by Will Brinson

On Monday night, the Rams got pummeled pretty bad in New York (28-16, though it didn't feel that close). But the Giants weren't rolling the entire game. In fact, early in the first quarter, Josh McDaniels put the pedal to the floor and had the Rams running a no-huddle offense that absolutely gassed out the Giants defenders.

The result was, as you can see above, what appears to be a classic case of faking an injury to stop the clock. Now, I don't want to sound like a jerk and call out Deon Grant and Jacquian Williams ... but I will anyway, and I won't be the first person, especially considering that Jon Gruden was practically mocking them in the booth on Monday.

As he should have -- Grant and Williams looked like bowling pins as they hit the ground at the exact same time in a blatant attempt to slow Sam Bradford's march down the field.

This is a problem because, well, there's not much that officials on the field can do. The NFL certainly can't order referees to start flagging people they think are faking injuries. That goes against every single aspect of player safety that the league touts in today's game.

And faking injuries to slow down the pace of the game and/or halt momentum isn't something new either; it's been happening for a long time and in almost every sport, in case you forgot how Ghana managed to burn through clock against the US in the most recent World Cup. As Michael David Smith notes at Pro Football Talk, the NFL has a catch-all rule for "palpably unfair acts" but the league won't use that on faking injuries.

But the league should do something, and it wouldn't be hard to hit Williams and Grant with a fine, either.

"However, if a player demonstration constitutes taunting or unsportsmanlike conduct, or delays a game, a foul will be called, and a fine will be assessed," the NFL's memo to players and coaches regarding league discipline reads.

That passage is technically designed to cover excessive celebration penalties, but clearly the language therein ("delays a game") gives the league some wiggle room with which to fine anyone who fakes an injury in order to slow down the other team.

Now the league just needs to exercise that power.

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Since: Jan 29, 2007
Posted on: September 20, 2011 12:28 pm

Should the NFL fine players who fake injuries?

The problem is that missing one play is not enough of a deterent to stop the faking. How about making the players sit out some number of minutes (5?) of game time to allow the player enough time to "recuperate" from their "injury". They can add the option that the team could use a timeout to avoid the "penalty". Also since this is mainly a tool used by defenses, it would only apply to them (avoiding the issue of losing a QB for a long time when he's a little slow getting up).

Since: Feb 9, 2007
Posted on: September 20, 2011 12:28 pm

Should the NFL fine players who fake injuries?

How about changing the injury rule, so that if a player goes down, he misses the next 5 snaps of the ball for "recovery"time? On the second time a player goes down, he misses the remainder of that offensive possession.

That way they can say they're doing it for player safety, and not have the Players' Union's panties in a bunch

Since: Jan 23, 2007
Posted on: September 20, 2011 12:27 pm

Should the NFL fine players who fake injuries?

They can't fine them but they could require them to sit out until the series is over. That would put a stop to it.

Since: Aug 20, 2008
Posted on: September 20, 2011 12:21 pm

Should the NFL fine players who fake injuries?

Why not?  They fine tackling and every other goddamn thing.

Since: Aug 10, 2011
Posted on: September 20, 2011 12:16 pm

Should the NFL fine players who fake injuries?

No, you can't fine players who fake injuries.  You can't even really throw a flag on them.  It's kinda hard to prove.  Even if two guys take a dive at the same time with mystery cramps or something, it is possible for them to argue their injuries are real.  It's part of the game.  The Giants were getting beat that drive, they wanted to make substitutions, so they did what was smart and went down with an injury to get the personnel in they needed to stop the Rams.  It sure sucks if you're the offense on a roll, but every team has the same opportunity, they can all do the same thing.  

Since: Jan 4, 2011
Posted on: September 20, 2011 12:13 pm

Should the NFL fine players who fake injuries?

When there is video evidence that conclusively shows that a player (or players) faked an injury to slow their opponent, that player, their coach, and their team all need to be fined.  This is a huge breach of sportsmanship and needs to be stopped immediately.

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