Sometimes when a particular player brings an obscure rule to light, or changes the rule itself, he winds up with his name attached to it. It’s been happening since the Bronko Nagurski Rule was enacted after the 1932 NFL Championship Game, when the league declared that forward passes could be made from anywhere behind the line of scrimmage, and has continued through the years all the way up to the Hines Ward Rule that prohibits blindside blocks and the Calvin Johnson Rule that says a player must control the football throughout the entirety of a catch.
We may be close to having a John Jerry Rule.
The Giants guard was flagged for a delay-of-game penalty in Sunday’s loss to the Eagles when Jerry got tangled up with defensive tackle Elijah Qualls, who was trying to get off the field while the Giants were in hurry-up mode.
It was a penalty that everyone from Jerry to Eli Manning to Ben McAdoo had the same reaction to.
“I have never seen that before,” McAdoo said.
Jerry spoke about the play on Wednesday, admitting that he did grab Qualls briefly by the wrist but insisting that it was a natural reaction and not some wily veteran move.
“It was definitely a reflex, I didn’t intentionally just grab a guy,” Jerry said, noting that Qualls being on the Giants’ side of the line of scrimmage at the time further confused him. “I honestly think that’s what made me grab him. You run into somebody and your initial reaction is to grab them. I honestly don’t know what was called. I’m waiting on an explanation from the league.”
Jerry and McAdoo had a conversation about the play, and seemed to come away just as confused as they were when they entered it.
“I told coach what I was thinking,” Jerry said.
At the time, Jerry said he was thinking that the flag was against Qualls.
“For a second I’m thinking they got him offsides since he’s on my side but then they come back and Eli is like: They got you for whatever they called me for, I think delay of game,” Jerry said. “I’m thinking we got him or I’m thinking somebody is running on because he’s running off. It was kind of a freak thing. You try to hurry up and snap the ball and you have so much going on at the same time.”
Whatever the reasoning, the play was costly. It negated a 7-yard pass that would have set the Giants up with first-and-10 inside the 15 with just over three minutes remaining. The Giants wound up settling for a field goal to make the score 24-21 before losing, 27-24.
“I definitely learned a lesson from that,” Jerry said. “Trying to get a guy running off the field, you can’t do stuff like that . . . It was definitely a costly penalty in that situation of the game right there. I feel just as bad as anybody else about that.
“Next time I get him,” Jerry said, “I’m just going to look instead of reacting.”