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Victory Formation

If anyone watched the New York Giants vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers game on Sept 16th, they saw the coach (Greg Schiano) of Tampa Bay try something that doesn’t usually happen in the NFL. It is an unwritten rule in the NFL, that when an offensive team is in the “Victory” formation, that nothing exciting is supposed to happen. The defense is supposed to let the offense snap the ball, and kneel down, which keeps the clock moving, and essentially ends the ball game. This is a very common occurence in virtually every college, and NFL game, and oftentimes takes place at the end of the first half, in addition to the end of the game.

Upon getting the ball, the Giants set up in their Victory formation and assumed that Tampa Bay would follow suit. They didn’t. They played aggressively, and went after the ball. Granted, they didn’t cause the fumble that they hoped that they would, but they tried.

Immediately following the game, the Giants coach, Tom Coughlin, was upset because of Coach Schiano’s aggressiveness. My question for Coach Coughlin is this: “Why don’t you coach your players to play until the last whistle as well?” After all, why put a clock up if the final minute and a half of every game is going to consist of kneeling the ball. I don’t see the problem with the defense doing what NFL players are paid to do…go after the ball.

A couple of arguments against my stance:

  1. What about the players’ safety? My response: How are they any safer during the other 58 1/2 minutes of the game? Just because the offensive players check out during the last 90 seconds, doesn’t mean that the defense should comply.
  2. What about the unwritten rules of football? My response: What about winning the game? Here is proof that Coach Schiano’s idea can work. Albeit, it doesn’t happen that often, but perhaps if more defenses tried this approach we would see a game go down to the wire more often.
  3. The Giants were trying to be good sports. My response: In a competitive game, where the defense has a shot of winning (no matter how distant the odds), I don’t see where this is unsportsmanlike. I understand, if the offense is ahead by 3 touchdowns, it’s time to call it a day, and kneel on the last three plays. However, when one of the teams decides that they aren’t quite done playing, then it’s not their fault that the other team doesn’t agree.

What in the heck does this have to do with leadership?

In my opinion, Coach Schiano pushed the limit of what is considered the norm. He did so in a perfectly legal way. Just because it wasn’t done in the way that it’s always been done, doesn’t make it wrong. It makes it different. And that’s ok.

What do you do in your position of leadership to push the limits? What have you done lately that hasn’t been looked upon as being “normal?” What ideas have you been thinking about that can take your business places that your predecessors didn’t get to?

I applaud Coach Schiano for coming in, as a rookie head coach, and pushing those limits, in a legal way.

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