By Danny Cox
The New Orleans Saints are going through a horrific time this season while dealing with the fallout from the Bountygate scandal. With suspensions and plenty of legal trouble all over the place, one would think that other teams would use the Saints as an example and be wary of what they do on the field.
Actually, it appears as if the reverse is true and “cheap shots” are taking over early on in this 2012 NFL season.
First, there was the issue from this past Sunday in the game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New York Giants. Leading 41-34 with less than a minute left in the game, the Giants had the ball and Eli Manning said that the Bucs knew what his intentions were.
“A lot of teams will ask in those situations, ‘Are you taking a knee?’ and I will tell them ‘Hey, we’re taking a knee. … We’re not firing off.'” Manning said, via SportsRadioInterviews.com. “We don’t tell our lineman to fire off and hit them on that last play.”
With that being said, the Buccaneers ended up plowing through the Giants’ offensive line and going after Manning. The men in blue looked on confused and did whatever it took to protect their offensive leader.
An argument broke out after the game between Giants coach Tom Coughlin and rookie Bucs coach Greg Schiano. Manning knows nothing can be done about what happened, but he let it be known that the Bucs were well aware that he was kneeling the ball.
“I said it. I said as I walked up, ‘Hey we’re taking a knee,’ but obviously they were down and ready and had a feeling they were about to fire off,” he said. “There’s nothing I can really do about it. I have to make sure I get the snap and the only thing I’m worried about right there is securing the ball and making sure we get the win.”
Giants’ guard Chris Snee wasn’t as forgiving and forgetting as Manning.
“We’ll just tighten up and just be ready for them to fire off,” Snee said via the New York Daily News. “And I wouldn’t change my reaction in any way. If a guy dives at my knees, my knee is going into the back of his head. That’s what happened in the game and that’s what will happen going forward.”
Some other big hits have happened around the NFL, and it is obvious that a number of players are still going for direct head shots. Combine that with a lot of trash talking, and there will be occurrences like in the game between the St. Louis Rams and Washington Redskins from this past weekend.
Robert Griffin III says that he believes the game was played “dirty” and “unprofessional.” RG3 even states that he distinctly remembers one Rams player coming up to him after a play was over and telling him, “we’re going to hit you every play.”
The Redskins’ staff and players believe that a lot of the rough play is coming thanks to the replacement officials. Many think that the replacement refs are allowing teams to get away with far too much and not calling late hits and extra shoves.
One would think that most teams want to watch their steps, thanks to what happened with the Saints in the offseason, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. Perhaps having the ruling of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell overturned is making them think that they have a bit more freedom than originally thought.
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Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. His work can be found on Examiner.com.