A game that was supposed to end with Eli Manning on a knee instead culminated with the Giants quarterback on his back and fiery words being exchanged between the two teams after the game clock reached all zeros Sunday.
Three Buccaneers players dived at the knees of Giants offensive linemen on the final play, prompting heated words between the players and even the coaches as they exited the field. Giants coach Tom Coughlin barked at Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano as the two met. They did shake hands, but neither seemed pleased with the other's methods.
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"I don't think you do that at this level. You don't do that in this league," Coughlin said afterward, a clear shot at Schiano's college background, most recently as the coach at Rutgers.
Guard Chris Snee followed that line.
"That's something you really don't see at this level," he said. "It's the end of the game, it's a kneel-down, this is the NFL. Maybe they got away with that in college, but you don't do it here."
Schiano was unapologetic.
"I don't know if that's not something that's done in the National Football League," he said. "What I do with our football team is that we fight until they tell us game over. And there's nothing dirty about it, there's nothing illegal about it . . . If people watched Rutgers, they would know that's what we do at the end of a game. We're not going to quit. That's just the way I coach and teach our players."
But it did not seem as though everyone on the Bucs agreed with that philosophy.
"One of the guys said after the play: 'It's a cheap shot, but Coach told us to do it,' " Giants tackle Sean Locklear said. "You could look on their faces; it was one of those things where they didn't want to do it but you do what you're told."
The "meeting" between Coughlin and Schiano came almost a year after Lions coach Jim Schwartz and 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh nearly came to blows during their postgame handshake. Schiano and Coughlin never got close to being physical and did eventually shake hands.
Still, Locklear called it a "dirty play." Even Manning, who usually avoids saying anything controversial, called it "a little bit of a cheap shot."