It’s one of the greatest conspiracy theories in football — defensive players faking injuries to slow down fast-tempo, no-huddle offenses. But now, recently retired Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher is pulling back the curtain.
Urlacher: “We had a guy who was a designated dive guy, so when Coach did that he’d get hurt. He’d get hurt.”
Analyst: “You had a player … your coach would tell you … ”
Urlacher: “We had a designated guy that when coach — I’m not going to name the coach — would do this, the guy would fake an injury.” (Via Fox Sports 1)
The linebacker-turned-analyst’s statement confirms what many football fans already believed — that defensive players really do fake injuries to slow down offenses and catch a breather.
And there are tons of video evidence that seemingly reinforces the former all-pro linebackers claim. (Via YouTube / nflhottrend)
Perhaps the most obvious and hilarious example came in 2011 when two Giants players went down almost simultaneously for no obvious reason. (Via YouTube / GridironDisciples)
Now, this issue hasn’t gone unnoticed by the NFL’s administration, which issued a memo in 2011 stating players caught faking injuries would be assessed heavy fines.
But Pro Football Talk’s Josh Alper points out the fairly obvious -- that it’s difficult for officials to know if a player is faking, and the NFL is being especially cautious about injuries after all the attention it has received in recent years over concussions and the like. (Via NBC, PBS Newshour)
But the guys at ESPN’s “Pardon The Interruption” think the league could make some simple adjustments to discourage the underhanded tactic.
Kornheiser: “You have to go to the officials for this. There has to be unnecessary delay of game … ”
Wilbon: “If you’re not up without assistance coming from the sidelines, therefore stopping play, you got to go out for three plays.”
Still, with the NFL regular season set to kick off tonight, it is unlikely the league will make any policy changes this year.
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