The unwritten rules of sports, the secret code of conduct for certain situations, the unspoken but expected to be understood ... can we just, once and for all, discard them?
Enough already with the whistles supposed to be swallowed in the final minutes of a hockey game, the tit-for-tat evening out on the basketball court, the never-ending list of silly charades in baseball all related to what should have happened but didn't, and, please, let's just drop it with the hands-off kneel downs to end NFL games.
Considering his tough-as-nails rep, it was a little weird to see Tom Coughlin squawking at first-year Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano after the latter's squad played to the final whistle Sunday at MetLife Stadium. Gasp, the Buccaneers actually made a push to get the ball back from the reigning champion Giants in the waning seconds. The visitors even got a finger or two on Eli Manning. Oh, the audacity.
Good for Schiano, good for the Bucs and good for the NFL ... to see a resounding thumbs down being given to the status quo - an entirely defeatist, give-up, woe-are-we status quo at that.
Take note, "purists," a new trend the newcomer may have made. The Broncos, trailing Atlanta by six in the final minute in Week 2's final game, actually made a similar push to get to Falcons QB Matt Ryan.
It's amazing how the Bucs' action, under Schiano's direction, has been labeled "dirty." There was nothing dirty about it. They went after the ball, trying to get it back for one more chance at a score (and point-after kick) - which, um, would have tied the game. They played it straight, hard-nosed, and, really, smart.
The Giants, if anything, were anything but smart in, essentially, taking the play off, going through the motions as they relied on end-game "etiquette" to protect them and the lead.
Before Coughlin and his backers get too carried away on the topic, perhaps they should pick up an NFL rulebook, peruse through it and come up with the section labeled "Running out the clock, no-touch style."
Good luck in finding it since it hasn't been written.
While many are making fun of Schiano for being bush league, especially after he offered that anyone would know that's how he plays the game if they watched tape of his teams at Rutgers, the irony is, he's the one who played by the book in this one, who kept after it, who had his team going until the game clock hit all zeros.
In the NFL, which likes to promote itself as the biggest and baddest operation out there, isn't that the way to go? It seems the "college coach" just gave those at the highest level a lesson.
- Before the Michael Vick bashers get going full-bore on his penchant for turnovers, keep this in mind: not one, but two Mannings threw more interceptions this weekend than the Eagles QB did. Eli's three-pick effort Sunday was matched by older bro Peyton Monday night. Vick "only" got pilfered twice by Baltimore, and one of those was off a pass that went through the hands of TE Brent Celek, who otherwise had a brilliant day (8 catches, 157 yards).
- QB Jake Locker led the Titans in rushing Sunday. That's not a good sign, especially when he did so on just 2 carries (for 21 yards). What in the name of Chris Johnson is going on in Tennessee? Is the rocket-fast RB ready to be grounded in just his fifth season, three years removed from a 2,000-yard campaign? He had just 8 carries (for 17 yards) in the 38-10 loss. As if those numbers weren't telling enough, check this one: the Titans ran just 40 offensive plays against the Chargers while their hosts rattled off 75.
- Two years and change after a brilliant, highlight-reel career at Clemson earned him a first-round selection by Buffalo, C.J. Spiller finally is getting the ball. It's about time. In the Bills' 1-1 start, Spiller has 29 carries for a whopping 292 yards and 3 TDs. In his first two NFL seasons, during which he played in 30 games, Spiller averaged just 6 carries per contest for 28 yards.