The Bucs kept it close, but when quarterback Josh Freeman threw an interception to linebacker Michael Boley as time was running down, Manning was able to take a knee and run out the clock.
Or, that's how things were supposed to go. As Manning took that knee from his own 29-yard line with five seconds left, the Bucs and Giants got into it in an altercation that Coughlin said could have caused injuries when it's generally accepted that teams adopt a "hands-off" policy.
[Also: Patriots stunned after Stephen Gostkowski misses winning kick]
"Obviously I think it's a little bit of a cheap shot," Manning said. "We're taking a knee, we're in a friendly way, and they're firing off, and that's a way to get someone hurt."
After the game, when the traditional coaches' handshake took place, Coughlin let Tampa Bay head coach Greg Schiano know exactly what he thought of the play.
Coughlin started out with a couple of choice words, then came back to give Schiano, who's in his first season as an NFL coach after a successful tenure at Rutgers, a brief education in League Etiquette 101.
"I don't think you do that," Coughlin told the media after the game, per Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News. "You don't do that in this league. Not only that, you jeopardize the offensive line, you jeopardize the quarterback. Thank goodness we didn't get anybody hurt — that I know of. A couple of linemen were late getting in."
Coughlin said that his players told him that the idea to scrum came from Schiano, but "I don't know. I don't know that. You'd have to ask them."
Schiano was unmoved. "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. We crowd the ball like a sneak defense and try to knock it loose.
"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. If some people are upset about it, that's just the way it goes. I don't have any hesitation. That's the way we play. We play clean, hard football until they tell us the game is over."
Most likely, that's what Coughlin was telling Schiano: You're not coaching at Rutgers anymore.
If nothing else, this episode gave us a reminder that Week 2's "Sunday Night Football" game features the San Francisco 49ers and the Detroit Lions, and another possible opportunity for a postgame fracas between coaches.
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