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Sports: Schiano the Bully

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Tampa Bay coach an embarrassment
By Brandon Niles Sports Columnist

In consecutive weeks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano has decided to wage war against the knee-down play, sending his defensive linemen after the opposing quarterback in this position.

A legal play in football, this is where the quarterback drops to his knee immediately after receiving the snap, ending the play. The clock keeps running, which is why the kneel-down play is used at the end of the half or at the end of the game in order to prevent a fumble and let the clock run out. Often, a team will choose not to risk a turnover at the end of the first half, and will run a kneel-down play. At the end of the game, a team preserving a lead might run one as a means to expedite the end of the game after the score has been decided.

In most cases, opposing defenses simply let up during this play, understanding that the game is over and not wanting to risk an injury. This is an act of sportsmanship on both teams. The winning team is choosing not to try and run up the score or rub it in the face of the losing team, and the losing team is choosing to accept defeat and not risk injury to the players.

But Schiano, in his first year with the Bucs after several years coaching Rutgers, has decided to take away this mutual respect by attacking the opposing offense during the kneel-down play, and he has done this with the kind of hubris that one would expect from a person spitting in the face of traditional sportsmanship.

While not doing anything technically against NFL rules, Schiano has certainly committed a faux pas in football circles. Most players, coaches and analysts have condemned him for his actions, with only a few people defending him.

Schiano has said this is simply his brand of football – a level of toughness and a “try hard till the very end” mentality that sounds fiery and motivating until you remember that player safety is supposed to be a league concern and that he’s fighting a battle no one else cares about. With all the issues that have gone on in the league, and the concussion problems plaguing football players at all levels, Schiano has chosen this act of graceful sportsmanship as his target? I refuse to believe this is his real goal.

The Giants performed a kneel-down to end the half against the Bucs a few weeks ago, and Schiano did not rush the quarterback then. Where was the “try hard until the whistle blows” mentality then? Rather, it seems clear this is just a coach whining about losing and throwing a tantrum.

This is an embarrassment to the league, and it’s dangerous for the players. If the league doesn’t step in and stop this, then it’s only a matter of time before a player gets injured. If that does happen, the league office will have a hard time explaining why they let someone in a position of power express his own frustration in such a petty and destructive manner. I would be embarrassed to be a member of the Bucs and to be associated with Greg Schiano.

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