Cheating in the NFL: An Examination


Uh-oh. Do we have ourselves another cheating controversy in the NFL? That’s right folks, our good friends over at Stampede Blue are asking about potential cheating scenarios that took place yesterday at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Go back to the fourth quarter. Remember when Parys Haralson had a cramp? And remember when Takeo Spikes had a cramp? Both injuries took place in critical situations during Colts’ drives. Well what if they weren’t in fact injured at all? Niners Insider Kevin Lynch didn’t seem to think they were. The Colts’ radio announcers didn’t seem to think they were. Fans in attendance at the game didn’t seem to think that they were. That’s why you heard the stream of boos in both situations. I never want to see fans boo an injured player, but if they were in fact faking the injuries, then they can boo them all they want.

In the end, it didn’t matter, because the Colts won the game. Has a player been told to fake a cramp before? No doubt about it. Did Mike Singletary advise his players to do so yesterday? Maybe. Maybe not. No one knows but the coaches and the players. So, I can’t accuse him of doing that.

But honestly, should we really be surprised if this is indeed true?

This is the NFL. A league where coaches and players play musical chairs when it comes to switching teams. And why? Because there’s always someone out there who can replace you. And when a team has gotten the most out of you, they show you the door. You see what kind of league that we’re dealing with here? It’s a win at any cost situation. And that’s the way it’ll always be.

A leg cramp isn’t exactly the most devastating way of trying to cheat your opponent. There’s been all kinds of cheating that has taken place in the league in the past. There’s Spygate. There’s the whole Jets tampering with Michael Crabtree thing. And the list goes on and on.

Let’s face it. We can believe who we want to believe, and we can accuse who we want to accuse, but, in the end, teams are finding ways to beat the system. Is faking a leg cramp cheating? Nope, technically it’s not. Is it right? Nope, not at all. So maybe we’re talking more about ethics here. But seriously, ethics went out the window a long time ago in this league. If it’s not in the rulebook, then it’s fair game for coaches whose jobs are on the line.

I know that there are coaches out there who don’t resort to this kind of stuff. I think that Jim Caldwell is one of those coaches. And I also know that there are coaches out there who will resort to anything in order to keep their job and get their team a victory. You can point fingers at whoever you think falls into that category.

Plain and simple, we can’t prove that the 49ers cheated yesterday. Because, is faking an injury cheating? We can’t prove that the players weren’t in fact injured. Is it morally right? Again, no it’s not. But again, to repeat, ethics went out the window a long time ago in this league. When you start bringing out video cameras, that’s when we can say that it is blatant cheating.

All in all, this 49ers situation will be one that goes away after today, and people won’t think much of it anymore. It bothers me that a team would do something like this, but who am I kidding. It happens all the time, and there’s nothing I can do about it. I’ll still keep watching football.

And I’ll continue to know that somebody out there is constantly trying to get one step ahead of the competition. And for some of those, it’s by any means necessary.