Not sure if any of you have seen this, but for those who don’t want to view the video, what happened is that a quarterback pretended that the ball needed to be moved 5 yards downfield due to a penalty. While everyone was standing around, he made a break for it and scored the game-winning touchdown.
There was also a recent case when a Cal coach was suspended for having his players fake injury:
Because they run a tempo offense, this sort of thing happens to the Southern Tech Packers with regularity. Pack fans have taken some heat because we’ve come to start booing injured players from certain teams, which is a no-no. It doesn’t help that it often happens with one of Sotech’s rivals, the Piermont Riptide.
Some rivalries are made (due to proximity, usually) and some are born. Sotech and Piermont actually have next to nothing in common as universities (Piermont is a small, private school with a mildly religious background while Sotech is a large public school) who had a rivalry born with a long history of playing one another in games with a lot at stake. Also, Sotech used to be in the habit of running up the score on and on a couple of occasions posted victories with more than 90 points on the board, and Piermont has never forgotten (and they consider it further proof that we are a low-class school). Adding to all of this is an immense dislike by Packer fans of Piermont’s coach, Rod Gandi for reasons I won’t get into.
Anyhow, a couple of seasons ago Piermont inexplicably redesigned their uniforms for a game to emulate ours. Presumably to confuse our players. Typical Gandi, we thought. Then, as we were driving down the field to win the game, over and over again they kept getting “injured” and slowing us down as we were trying to catch their defense off-guard with high-tempo, no-huddle play. Same two players. After the game, Piermont fans were bragging about that it’s not against the rules or anything (actually, as the video demonstrates, it is) and we should just suck it up.
Flash forward to the next season and the our team and our fans are going ballistic every time a player gets hurt. The Piermont fans (on the message board) complained and again suggested that it just showed how low-class our fans were. Others even admitted that they had faked injuries before but that the benefit of the doubt should always go to the limping player. Our fans, obviously, disagreed.
The problem with trick plays like this, whether they are against the rules or not, are that they often lead to things like fans getting angry at injured players for the other team (for the record, one Piermont player we booed was out for the season). I don’t like injured players getting booed. And I want to give every seemingly-injured player the benefit of the doubt. But our coaches and players are left to appeal to the refs every time a player doesn’t get up right until the stretcher comes out and it becomes apparent that there might be a real injury here.
As cute as the
high middle school play shown above is, it creates a similar problem. In the event that there is any sort of confusion, what should the defensive players do? If they’re wrong in one direction, it’s a touchdown. If they’re wrong in the other direction, it’s a 15-yard penalty (and possible ejection from the game). Ultimately, it’s not just a trick play, it’s a bad-faith play. A few of the articles talking about the play are saying that it’s a play you only get away with once. Maybe. And maybe some kid will get tackled because some defensive lineman thinks that play has started. In this case, the player walked past the defenders, but next time he may just start walking to the sideline with the ball. Maybe he will genuinely be confused. Maybe not. When there’s not a clear indication of what the defense is supposed to be doing, it’s a recipe for potential problems.
Which is a shame. Cause it really is kind of a cool play.