It didn’t take long for Greg Schiano to start ruffling feathers.
Schiano, in just his second game as head coach of the Buccaneers, drew the ire of Tom Coughlin and the Giants on Sunday when the Bucs’ defensive line knocked down Eli Manning as the quarterback was taking a game-ending knee. Coughlin confronted Schiano on the field following the incident, which capped off a 41-34 victory, and the common phrase thrown around the Giants’ locker room after the game was “cheap shot.”
“That was a first,” Manning said of the incident. “Obviously I think it is a little bit of a cheap shot. Going down, we are taking a knee, in a friendly way. They are firing off, and it’s a way to get someone hurt.”
Coughlin further questioned the decision made by Schiano — who is in the midst of his first season coaching in the NFL after a lengthy stint at Rutgers — during his postgame news conference.
“I don’t think you do that at this level,” Coughlin said. “You don’t do that in this league. You don’t jeopardize the offensive line, you [don’t] jeopardize the quarterback. Thank goodness we didn’t get anybody hurt, that I know of, a couple of linemen were late coming in [after end of game].”
Schiano doesn’t quite understand the frustration, though. In his mind, the Bucs were simply playing until the final whistle, which is something he wants to see out of his players on a weekly basis.
“I don’t know if that’s not something that’s not done in the National Football League, but what I do with our football team is we fight until they tell us game over,” Schiano said. “There’s nothing dirty about it and there’s nothing illegal about it.
“We crowd the ball — it’s like a sneak defense and you try to knock it loose. Watch Rutgers, they would know if they watched us that’s what we did at the end of the game.”
Victor Cruz, Justin Tuck, Sean Locklear and Chris Snee were among the other Giants players who questioned the Bucs’ move, and Giants owner John Mara told ESPNNewYork.com that, even though he missed the final play, “you just don’t do that in the NFL.”
It’s interesting that on a day in which Jim Schwartz and Jim Harbaugh were supposed to be the main event of coaching feuds, it’s another coaching tandem that steals the headlines. The Schwartz-Harbaugh bad blood didn’t linger like many had anticipated, but the Bucs-Giants drama could be a different story.
Tuck’s message was simple.
“It won’t be forgotten,” he said.
Jim Schwartz and Jim Harbaugh show everyone how to play nice.
I’m not scared to fail. It stinks when you do. But I wouldn’t go out there every day if I was scared to screw up.
–Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski, vowing to put Sunday’s missed field goal attempt behind him
That’s cause for celebration.
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