Soccerstoriesbook's Blog


SIMULATION COMES HOME TO ROOST

The National Football League has warned its 32 teams of fines, suspensions and loss of draft choices if it determines that a player has faked an injury during a game, the Associated Press reported.

Though the practice is widespread, the league didn’t issue its edict until the New York Giants’ Deon Grant appeared to feign an injury late in a game against St. Louis two days earlier, thus slowing the Rams, who had gone to a no-huddle offense.

“Someone said, ‘Someone go down, someone go down,’ so someone just went down and grabbed a cramp,” said Rams quarterback Sam Bradford.  New York went on to win, 28-16.

The reaction among NFL players and coaches was, not surprisingly, a wink and a nod.

“It’s always been in the game,” said Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed.  “It’s all tactical stuff you need to use.  Whatever it takes ….  If you’re tired, you’re tired.  You get a break however you can.”

Said Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan when asked if he ever instructed his players to fake an injury, “I can’t say I have.  But I won’t say I haven’t.”  After flashing a coy smile, he added, “It happens all the time, and the warnings will come out, and it’s happened again.”  [September 21]

Comment:  That sound you hear is muffled laughter coming from all corners of the soccer-playing world.

If a contact sport played by billions cannot figure out how to adequately deal with what is known throughout soccer as simulation, how can a collision sport known as the NFL?

As Grant said in an adament denial, “When you see after I made that tackle and bang my knee on that play, you see me bending my knee as I am walking ….  (Teammate Justin) Tuck is walking behind me and saying, ‘D, don’t run off the field.  Just go down.’  As I am walking, they line up, and knowing that I can’t get back in my position because of the knee injury, I went down.”

How many times have we seen soccer players hit the deck as if shot, most of them jumping to their feet as soon as they got the foul call or had killed off an adequate number of seconds off the clock?  How many NFL types, from media members to the average fan, have mocked soccer players as a bunch of actresses in shorts?  Or make that skirts?

Best of luck to the NFL in stamping out its own problem with simulation.  But as long as MRIs cannot be performed on the field, on the spot, these two sports will actually have something in common.

For more on the problem as it exists in soccer–with no concrete solutions offered–go to http://goal.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/09/17/on-diving-soccers-integrity-is-at-stake/

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