You've probably heard someone complain that there's too much diving in football. What if they meant American football -- or, gridiron, for our readers across the pond -- all along?
Jimmy Garoppolo made a great case Sunday.
The 49ers quarterback drew a block-in-the-back penalty on New England Patriots linebacker Chase Winovich in the first quarter at Gillette Stadium, and Garoppolo, uh, definitely made the most of it.
Garoppolo's gamesmanship cost the Patriots 15 yards of field position after he threw an interception, forcing his former team to start at its own 48 rather than the 49ers' 37. The Patriots regained those 15 yards on the next play, though, with 49ers defensive lineman Dion Jordan called for rushing the passer after ... well, you be the judge.
Much like a striker going down in the box while trying to draw a penalty call, Garoppolo and Patriots quarterback Cam Newton wouldn't embellish calls if it didn't work to do so.
QBs enjoy a tremendous amount of protection from NFL referees, with no hits more scrutinized by officials than the ones that signal-callers receive in and outside of the pocket. That's fine for teams, which value quarterbacks far more than players at any other position, but then QBs on the field have perverse incentive to go down when subject to any kind of questionable contact.
Some of that protection is for very good reason, as evidenced by the hit that knocked Dallas Cowboys quarterback Andy Dalton out of Sunday's loss to the Washington Football Team. But the penalty Garoppolo drew and, to a lesser extent, the one called on Jordan show the flip side of the league-wide emphasis on the position's safety.