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PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 9:57 am 
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Mike Freeman wrote:
Newest craze in NFL cheating: Hamstring Hoax
by Mike Freeman

No one knows the NFL better than me. Yes, that's wholly and disgustingly arrogant. But it's true. I once told a coach how his center was tipping run or pass by the way he -- ahem -- touched his crotch before a snap. True story.

I've seen things on game film coaches have missed. Players have asked my advice on how to stop certain superstars. Most of the time my advice is pure dogs--- but on occasion I tell a player or coach something they didn't know. True story as well.

Jamaal Westerman deserves a hand from his rested defensive teammates for his acting job Sunday night. (US Presswire)
Jamaal Westerman deserves a hand from his rested defensive teammates for his acting job Sunday night. (US Presswire)
I believed I knew the NFL better than anyone, and then came Sunday night's game between the Jets and Dolphins. My smarmy, know-it-all a$$ was taught a little something-something that evening.

Apparently there's an entirely new level of cheating in the NFL that few people outside of the sport know about. Even arrogant legends like me.

During that New York-Miami game, Jets defensive end Jamaal Westerman was running downfield on a kickoff. Toward the end of the play, he acted as if his hamstring had popped. He fell to the ground and writhed in pain.

He looked hurt, initially, but something was strange about the injury. The Sunday night crew was suspicious as well before turning downright mocking as cameras caught Westerman walking normally just minutes later. While all of this was going on the Jets defense got a nice bit of extra rest.

Former Jets kicker Jay Feely saw what happened and Tweeted that indeed the Jets were likely faking injury for rest purposes. It was a smart move by New York since it was hot in Miami and any needed break was welcome. But it still felt kind of dirty.

"The broadcast is dead on with the fake injury thing," Feely explained. "Jets often tell a guy on kickoff to fake an injury to give the [defense] a breather."

You mean, they cheat?

Feely later Tweeted to me: "Lots of teams do it. Tell a guy to fake a cramp after the kickoff is over to give the defense a breather when they are tired."

I've since asked other journalists and not one had heard of this phenomenon (as it specifically applies to kickoffs). Faking injuries to break up the rhythm of a no-huddle or fast-moving offense is fairly common, but doing this on kickoffs means an entirely new realm of cheating has opened and few people noticed.

This type of cheating across the board -- I'll call it the Hamstring Hoax -- seems to be expanding. Last year Cleveland coach Eric Mangini accused Detroit players of faking numerous injuries to slow down the Browns' no-huddle offense (insert Browns joke here). The Broncos did it to the Jets several years ago.

"I've watched from afar teams do that on defense to Indianapolis to slow them down," Feely Tweeted to me. "Someone did it to Jets last [year]."

He added in a different Tweet: "Tennessee did it to Jets [last year]. Guy would go down, allowing the defense to substitute when the offense is in no huddle [and] come back the next play."

Now the Hamstring Hoax cheating is apparently spreading to special-teams play and is being used to give defenses a rest. It's a brilliant tactic, even if it is terribly cheap.

If the Hamstring Hoaxes expand in both number and obviousness at some point the NFL will have to step in. Not sure exactly what the league office can do about it. After all, how do you determine if a guy is really injured or not?

"How could you tell if a guy truly had a cramp or not?" Feely explained. "No way to differentiate real vs. fake."

The league could leave it up to game officials. If officials suspect a guy is faking he could be asked to sit out a certain number of plays. But then you're adding more to an already crowded officiating plate.

So for now this cheating will go on unabated, though with the great acting talents these athletes possess a flood of Emmy nominations is certainly on the horizon. ... _York_Jets



PostPosted: Wed Sep 29, 2010 10:49 am 
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Joined: Fri Apr 16, 2010 2:05 pm
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Location: NSW, Australia
Force them to sit out a quarter or 10 minutes or as stated above a certain number of plays.

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