Was that a cheap shot by the Bucs?
WRONG TIME TO GIVE THE OLD COLLEGE TRY
Coaching in college and coaching in the NFL are two very different things.
Greg Schiano learned that lesson on Sunday.
Tom Coughlin -- in his 17th year as an NFL head coach -- embarrassed Schiano in front of thousands of fans and millions of TV viewers. And rightfully so, because there's no room in professional football for child's play.
The new Tampa Bay Bucs coach, just two games into his tenure, instructed his players to crash into the Giants' offensive line -- with Eli Manning & Co. in victory formation, one kneel-down away from cementing a 41-34 win.
The O-linemen ended up taking shots to their knees, Manning ended up on his rear end -- and Schiano's just lucky no one got hurt, or else he'd be a pariah right now.
Listen, I understand that Schiano, the former Rutgers coach, is trying to change the culture of a franchise that lost 10 straight games to end the 2011 season.
And the early indications are he has done a good job. The Buccaneers beat the Carolina Panthers in Week 1, and they went toe-to-toe with the defending Super Bowl champs. Veteran All-Pro Ronde Barber sang Schiano's praises last week when speaking with the New York media.
But there is a time and a place to make your point -- and the final play of Sunday's game wasn't it.
The chances of the Bucs somehow obtaining the ball on that play are infinitesimal. Furthermore, there is an unwritten rule in the NFL on this -- when's the last time you saw a team put up a fight in a kneel-down situation?
These players aren't college kids -- they're men, literally putting their bodies on the line every Sunday to earn a living and entertain the masses.
The Buccaneers didn't handle the loss like men on Sunday. Because their coach acted like he was still in school.
Kieran Darcy covers the Giants for ESPNNewYork.com.
YOU PLAY TO WIN THE GAME
You play until you hear the whistle.
It's a basic tenet of any contact sport. It applies perfectly to football.
And it's all that Greg Schiano's Bucs were guilty of doing on Sunday.
Instead of conceding the victory, the Tampa defense tried to disrupt the snap and create a turnover on the Giants' final play, a kneel-down by Eli Manning.
It didn't work out, of course. And the Giants walked off the field with the win, but not before Tom Coughlin had a chance to speak his mind to Schiano.
Coughlin was angry, and understandably so. His quarterback ended up on his backside on the final play.
But to call what Tampa attempted a "cheap shot," as some of the Giants did, would be misguided. That implies the Bucs were attempting something illegal, which wasn't the case.
They were simply playing to the final whistle. Maybe a Bucs defender gets a hand on Eli, knocks the ball loose and gives Tampa a chance to score.
"Who knows what can happen?" Super Bowl-winning coach Mike Ditka said on ESPN Radio's "Mike & Mike" show on Monday.
And Ditka is right.
If it sounds crazy, just ask Herm Edwards about the benefits of an improbable late-game turnover.
Edwards, then an Eagles cornerback, picked up Giants QB Joe Pisarcik's botched handoff and ran 26 yards to score a game-winning TD in 1978, on a play dubbed "the Miracle at the Meadowlands."
You never know what's going to happen.
"You've got pads and a helmet on, [the] game's not over," Ditka said.
That's something those upset with Schiano should consider before crushing the coach for what happened Sunday.
Ian Begley covers the Giants for ESPNNewYork.com.