NFL Week 2: Coughlin-Schiano Incident Is the Latest Media Feeding Frenzy

Dan Kelley@@dxkelleyCorrespondent IISeptember 18, 2012

Image courtesy
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The NFL might as well be a sitcom.

It is a weekly showcase that features a plethora of important games that are boiled down to one or two storylines that get blown out of proportion by a media desperate to milk the sport for everything it’s got.

What happened in Week 2?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ coach Greg Schiano allowed his players to push forward during a kneel-down to try to knock the ball loose and give his team an improbable fumble recovery that could lead to an equally improbable win.

New York Giants’ head coach Tom Coughlin was not pleased by the fact that Schiano allowed rough tactics that put Coughlin’s unassuming quarterback on the ground, a scenario that could have (but did not) caused an unnecessary injury.

During the postgame handshake, a typically red-faced Coughlin gave Schiano a piece of his mind and the two exchanged words.

Somehow, in a sport that features 22 men clashing heads every 40 seconds for a full hour of game time, the media found the biggest act of aggression to have centered around the Coughlin-Schiano nonsense.

“Debates” about the final play and subsequent handshake raged in media outlets from ProFootballTalk to The New York Times on Monday, which might have lead the casual viewer to believe this comical confrontation was part of a greater discussion in the sport, a conversation that could determine the future of the game.

Hype on Monday Night Football pregame shows and programs like Pardon the Interruption contributed to the nationwide focus on one botched handshake, further distorting the occurrence.

What happened on Sunday afternoon?

Greg Schiano tried to win, right up until the last minute.

Tom Coughlin stood up for his quarterback, who had been put in a vulnerable situation.

Both coaches did exactly what they should have done, and no harm was caused in the process. The sport goes on, and life goes on.

Of course, in a sports culture that devoted huge chunks of its Sunday Night Football preview to recaps of a contentious handshake between Jim Harbaugh and Jim Schwartz rather than the playoff hopes of two very good San Francisco and Detroit football squads, it should be expected that a little confrontation after the 60 minutes expires will not go unreported.

Never mind debating the ridiculous blindside, helmet-to-helmet hit by Seattle’s Golden Tate on Dallas’s Sean Lee. That might introduce an intelligent conversation on player vulnerability and safety in the wake of allegations that the league would hide evidence of brain damage in its players (via ESPN). The real story is in the differing opinions of the coaches, right?

Professional football is played three days per week at the moment, leaving major media outlets with plenty of time to devote coverage to the most moronic, miniscule incidents of each week in football.

Come next week, some player will yell at a coach on a sideline or some receiver will cross the line with a touchdown celebration. Whatever the incident, the tabloid-style sports media will be there to cover it.

If it’s two coaches trying to do what’s best for their team, you can bet your bottom dollar it will be spun every which way but that.


Dan Kelley has been a Bleacher Report Featured Columnist since 2011. Follow him on Twitter: @dxkelley