Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Why Greg Schiano was right to have Tampa Bay Buccaneers play to the bitter end

Giants coach Tom Coughlin has won more Super Bowls than Bucs coach Greg Schiano has won NFL games. That would suggest Coughlin knows more about this NFL business than Schiano. And when it comes to putting together game plans, motivating players and winning trophies, I'll take Coughlin over the Bucs' rookie coach.

But when it comes to the most controversial 1-yard loss in NFL history, I'm siding with Schiano.

In case you missed it, the Giants were in victory formation Sunday, needing a snap and an Eli Manning kneel down to close out a 41-34 victory over the Bucs. The Bucs blasted at the Giants line and knocked over Manning in trying to create a fumble. They created a firestorm instead: a controversy that had the entire NFL buzzing on Monday.

Coughlin chewed out Schiano for what he thought was a dangerous bush-league move that could've injured someone. Schiano fired back that his team plays until the final gun.

So who was right? Who was wrong? The answers likely depend on your allegiances. But here's why Schiano was in the right.

1. You cannot guarantee the Bucs could not have won

What are the odds that the Bucs would've jarred the ball loose? What are the odds that the Bucs would've recovered the ball? What the odds that the Bucs would have scored after the fumble?

What were the odds that all three of those things would happen? One in a thousand? One in a million? One in a billion? The point is, they would have been one in something.

Snaps are bobbled all the time, a fumble was possible, miracles do happen. The Bucs could have had the ball near the Giants 30, certainly an easy throw to the end zone.

Unless you can say with absolute, positive certainty that the Bucs had a zero percent chance of scoring (which no one can), how can you fault them for trying?

2. The Bucs were trying to win

If the Bucs trailed by more than one score than the Giants would have every right to be upset. But the Bucs weren't being poor sports or trying to injure anyone or looking to send a message. They had one purpose: create a fumble to get the ball in an attempt to tie the score, then win the game. Isn't that the point of pro football?

3. The clock, not the Giants, should signal the end of the game

The Giants seemed bothered that the Bucs didn't respect that they were victory formation. Let me get this right: The Giants were ready for the game to be over, so the Bucs had to stop playing, too? Excuse me, but who put the Giants in charge of when the game should end? Isn't that what the clock is for? Just because the Giants were in victory formation doesn't mean the Bucs should automatically have to be in surrender formation.

Final analysis

Schiano points out that there was nothing illegal about what the Bucs did. There was no penalty. The NFL isn't looking into it. No written rule was broken.

And here's the problem with unwritten rules: they aren't written. How can you interpret something that isn't there? But I do know I like Schiano's argument that he's trying to win more than Coughlin's argument that teams just aren't supposed to do what the Bucs did.

Sunday's final play now leaves Schiano's Bucs open to having teams do the same thing to them. It leaves them open to an opponent running up the score by throwing a pass out of victory formation. It risks one of their own linemen or quarterback Josh Freeman getting hurt. As long as Schiano is okay with that, no one should have a problem with his actions.

Quite frankly, I'm surprised more teams don't try what the Bucs did.

In the end, how can you fault Schiano that the other team quit playing before the Bucs did in a seven-point game? How can you fault Schiano that the other team quit playing before the game was officially over? Most of all, how can you fault Schiano for trying to win, no matter how improbable that victory might have been?

Tom Jones can be reached at and can be heard from 6 to 9 a.m. weekdays on WDAE-620.

tom jones' two cents

Why Greg Schiano was right to have Tampa Bay Buccaneers play to the bitter end 09/17/12 [Last modified: Monday, September 17, 2012 11:44pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Storm routs Cleveland


    TAMPA — Alvin Ray Jackson intercepted two passes, returning one for a touchdown, and recovered two fumbles as the Storm routed Cleveland 57-27 Saturday night in its home regular-season finale at Amalie Arena.

  2. Miscue sends Rays to another stinging loss to Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays gave away DJ Kitty onesies Saturday night. Then they gave away the game.

    Rays centerfielder Mallex Smith misses a drive hit by Adrian Beltre with two outs in the sixth, allowing the tying runs to score. Beltre puts Texas ahead 4-3 when he scores after two wild pitches.
  3. Rowdies shut out Charleston


    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rowdies know a thing or two about stalemates, with five of their past 10 games ending in a draw.

    Rowdies in the first half during the game between Tampa Bay Rowdies and the Charleston Battery at Al Lang Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Saturday, Jul 22, 2017.
  4. Rays journal: Former closer Sergio Romo acquired from Dodgers

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays made a move to help the bullpen Saturday night when they acquired RHP Sergio Romo, who had been designated for assignment last week by the Dodgers.

    Reliever Sergio Romo has 84 career saves, including 38 in 2013, but has struggled this season with the Dodgers, posting a 6.12 ERA in 25 innings before being designated for assignment.
  5. Dale Earnhardt Jr. backs wife's "not worth risk'' opinion on Daytona

    Auto racing

    INDIANAPOLIS — Dale Earnhardt Jr. on Saturday defended his wife's Twitter post — and blamed himself for putting her in a position where she believed she had to speak out and upset some of his fans.

    Amy Earnhardt worries about Dale Jr.’s concussions.