Why It's OK to Fake Injuries in the NFL

The Giants flopped against the Rams: Was it worth it?

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 19: Danny Ware #28 of the New York Giants runs the ball against Darian Stewart #20 of the St. Louis Rams at MetLife Stadium on September 19, 2011 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

    We Americans have long had a distaste for flopping. It's the reason we hate soccer. It's the reason we hated Vlade Divac. Flopping and faking an injury, to us, has long been a sign of weakness. You aren't a real man if you flop. You're supposed to win the game by being strong, not by faking fragility.

    That's why the Giants are getting flak for faking injuries on Monday Night to shut down the Rams' no huddle offense. Not only did people find it lame to do this against the RAMS of all people (much more understandable to do so against the likes of New Orleans or Green Bay), but it somehow offended their patriotism to see a football team resort to such underhanded tactics. People take this stuff very personally. It's almost more of a reflection on them than it is on the team doing the flopping.

    But faking injuries in football isn't a new thing. The Jets have done it. College teams have done it. I probably did it six times when playing touch football because I was out of breath and needed a second to work out my stomach cramp. It happens a lot, but every time a team does it, somehow people get newly outraged, as if the country has suddenly descended to an unacceptable level of wussiness.

    But here's the thing: I kind of like it when defenses do this. I'm not saying that just to be contrarian. I really do find it enjoyable. The entire NFL system is rigged to favor the offense. The offense gets to know the snap count, the play, and they get increasing protection from the league when it comes to contact. Defenses have been neutered, and if you've seen Tom Brady's passing numbers lately, you know it's only getting worse.

    So what can you do if you're a defender to stop the onslaught? FLOP. Flop like a man, baby. This isn't like soccer flopping, where some Italian guy goes down and starts screaming like a little girl. Football floppers are much more manly in their flopping. They sit down, clutch their knee, let out a mighty grimace, and that's good enough. Much more macho. OOF! OH! OH, THAT MIGHT BE A KNEE! OR AN ANKLE!

    I like that, in a league that has grown increasingly more civilized, there are still pockets of filthy, old school, underhanded tactics: biting in the fumble pile, vaselining your jersey, and flopping. Flopping isn't manly on its own, but the REASONS for it -- to undermine the authority of the league and win at any cost -- are as American as you can get. I like to see a defense fight back using every available tool in its arsenal, and if a little flopping needs to be deployed, so be it. Maybe you think it's bush league, but sometimes bush league tactics are what makes sports such naughty fun.