Many may not know the term well, but when a team has a “dive guy” a coach on the sidelines will give a signal as to when the specific player (known only by that team) should stop the game and fake an injury. The tactic is generally used to slow down high-powered offenses and to give their own team a chance to regroup. Sometimes the “injuries” are so bad that they can result in an official timeout, which gives both teams enough time to get things together and even change games entirely. In the NFL, when a player claims he is injured, the lead official must stop the clock. Because the referees are not doctors, they cannot properly assess whether or not the player is actually hurt and thus is required stop the clock to allow team doctors and trainers to better analyze the player.
Although the comment was very shocking, this is not a new tactic for the NFL or even other sports leagues. The same thing was said about the New York Giants in 2011 after linebacker Jacquian Williams and defensive back Deon Grant openly flopped in a game against the St. Louis Rams. The Rams had just crossed the Giants’ 10-yard line and were about to execute in the red-zone when both Giants players fell to the ground in pain. After the league office was able to review the tapes of the red-zone flop, both players and the Giants organization were fined, as it seemed the players were not in on the trick alone.
This plan also worked for the Patriots in 2003, when LB Willie McGinest found himself on the ground late in the 4th quarter during a game against the Indianapolis Colts simply to recover a minute later. McGinest returned to the field to make the game saving tackle.
If you are a college football fan, you most likely know that the Notre Dame Irish was deemed the “Fainting Irish” in 1953. This nickname was given to them after a Notre Dame football player, Frank Varrichione, pretended to faint during an intense game against Iowa. The fainting allowed the Irish to regroup, fight back, and score just in time to tie the game.
We can see that the sneaky tactic is nothing new and clearly successful, but does that make it tolerable? Should the NFL and other sports leagues try to better monitor the faking strategy? Which games or plays have you seen and felt that this kind of a scheme has been executed? And is it always successful?