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NFL: Final play of Giants-Buccaneers game sparks nationwide debate

The “victory formation” does not always secure a win. Just ask former OU and Lawton quarterback Charles Thompson.
By Mike Baldwin Published: September 17, 2012

During the Big 12 teleconference on Monday, coaches were asked proper etiquette when a team lines up in the “victory formation.”

“What is the etiquette? I don't know?” said OU coach Bob Stoops. “In the end, you're showing being decent, just finishing the game. But in the end, it is fair if you're within a score. It's happened before where someone has muffed the ball. You still have to play it out. There is no good answer there.”

Another Oklahoma high school playoff game represents a different kind of worst-case scenario.

In 2005, Shawnee led Tulsa Washington, 14-10. With less than a minute left in the game, Shawnee quarterback Tucker Brown took a knee to run out the clock. But Tulsa Washington defensive lineman Jermaine Holmes appeared to throw a punch at a Shawnee offensive lineman. Officials warned Holmes.

On the next play, Holmes leapt over the line of scrimmage, grabbed Brown by the back of the helmet and tried to pull him to the ground. Brown retaliated by kicking Holmes.

“I've been in places — I'm not going to mention when or where — the offense would do the same thing and would take out the defensive linemen's legs,” said West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen. “If people viewed that as a cheap shot, I would assume those same people would view this is a cheap shot as well.”

Texas coach Mack Brown, who hasn't seen the Giants-Buccaneers play, said it might be another example where rules officials will investigate to promote player safety.

“It probably goes in the category of the defenseless player,” Brown said. “Coaches and players want to protect each other. No one wants to see a young man get hurt, especially get hurt seriously.

“At the same time, we're all trying to teach. Where is that line? How low can you hit a guy without taking his knee out? It's a very good question.”

But the Bucs were still trying to win.

“If the quarterback just steps back and takes a knee, then everybody is somewhat relaxed,” said OSU coach Mike Gundy. “If he's moving around, at times you have defensive players that may be frustrated they're losing and take extra shots.

“I've seen it happen both ways. We always tell our quarterback to do the best they can to just get down to try and eliminate any of those issues.”