Here’s How We End Fake Injuries in College Football

The hurry-up no-huddle (HUNH) offense has taken college football by storm. With Chip Kelly at the helm as the Philadelphia Eagles Head Coach it’s even making an appearance in the NFL. With it’s newfound popularity, comes a new way to slow blazing fast offenses. Unfortunately, that “strategy” is defense players faking injuries.

We’ve discussed this topic before with a well-reasoned post essentially asking fans to “respect the injury,” because we simply don’t know if it is fake (at least not for certain). That is to say, the injury should be taken seriously by the referees and medical staff, and the fans should be respectful and refrain from booing-commonplace when the crowd estimates that the injury is illegitimate. Nonetheless, the fake injuries are dishonest, unfair, and very irritating.

In explaining this frustration to a pair of friends and arguing that something has to be done to quell fake injuries I suggested that the referees make a judgement call and if they felt it was a fake injury then to just continue play. In the heat of argument it sounded great, but this is clearly a non-starter, as we explained in the previously mentioned post, player safety comes first and we must “respect the injury.” We can’t allow injured players to lay on the ground while play continues. It would be rather ridiculous. That left us with, “something has to be done,” but nobody had a solution. Then, a light bulb flashed and I won’t claim credit. (credit to Robert Reinhard (Blogger So Dear).

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This year, for player safety, a rule was added to encourage players to keep their helmets on. If a helmet comes off during a play, that player must sit out a play. A very similar rule can be added, or in this case expanded for injuries that cause a stoppage in play. When a defensive player is “injured” and causes a stoppage of play, they must sit for X plays (with X>1).

Obviously if someone leaves the field “injured” after “recovering” on the ground for some time, they miss a play, but what if they missed two plays, or 4 plays, or the rest of the drive, or the rest of the game, or the rest of the season? Ok, I got carried away, but you see where we landed with this. Whatever the appropriate amount, this is the only solution I can imagine that still “respects the injury,” prioritizes player safety (added bonus – it gives more time for the training staff to evaluate a player before he restarts play), and upholds the integrity of the game. It may be senseless to apply this to offensive players (we already have a 10 second runoff for the equivalent problem from their end), but for defensive players, this seems like an option that keeps the health of student athletes as the number one goal.

Thoughts? Feel free to crush this idea in the comment section below, but feel more free to tell me I’m a genius!

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5 thoughts on “Here’s How We End Fake Injuries in College Football

  1. Having to sit out the rest of the drive is the best solution. Defining a number of plays to sit out isn’t effective for any drive lasting longer than 4-5 plays post-injury in my opinion.

    • That also has the advantage of being easier for the referees to keep up with.

      Here’s what people will say though. What if UF is down four with four min to play and has the ball at their own 20. Clowney gets a legitimate cramp on the first play of the drive. He leaves the game after a brief stoppage. Should he not be able to play on the game deciding drive?

  2. Actually this is a pretty good idea. The number of plays the injured player should be out is 3, for a couple of reasons. Most of these flops seem to occur after a fast paced team gets a first down, 3 plays give the offense a chance to get through a potential third down play before the athlete comes back. If a player is actually hurt they need to sit anyways IMHO.

    • I would think yes, but only because there is more football being played. Probably not more injuries per play (I’d guess about the same or less), but it’s like playing an extra game per season, you’d probably expect more injuries.

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