Brian Urlacher is making waves as an NFL analyst (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
The Chicago Bears have always been known for their tenacious defense, but according to former linebacker Brian Urlacher, the team had a special arrow in their quiver when it came to using trickery to gain an edge.
Speaking in his role as an analyst for Fox Sports 1, Urlacher described how the Bears had a designated "dive guy" who would, upon receiving a signal from a coach on the sideline to do so, fake an injury to draw a whistle from the officials. The trick was pulled in order to slow down an opponent's offense, and would be especially useful when the other team was employing a "no-huddle" offense and marching down the field.
Here is how Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times described it:
"Urlacher said a Bears coach would simulate a swimmers' diving motion with his arms from the sideline and the player 'would get hurt.'
"He said it was beneficial on long drives or early in the season when defenders were more easily gassed."
The story raises a couple interesting points, not the least of which is that an NFL player would cop to doing something many fans would probably find distasteful. Granted, in a league where every play is magnified because of the shortness of the season, occasionally using deception to gain an edge is part of the game, but there is something inherently off about utilizing fake injuries to slow down an opponent's offense.
Beyond that, it's also interesting that Urlacher would choose to magnify something that his former team did mere months after retiring from the game. Many of Urlacher's teammates are still in the starting lineup on defense, including guys like Lance Briggs, Charles Tillman and many others, so by going public with these statements, Urlacher has ensured that his former mates will be under more intense scrutiny in the coming season.
With Marc Trestman's emphasis on offensive speed, it would stand to reason that the defense will be under a bit more pressure because of increased workload in the new system, and if players can't handle it, then accusations of "faking it" will surely be ginned up.
At any rate, bending the rules has been a part of sports for as long as sports have existed, so while Urlacher's comments may rub some the wrong way, gaining an edge in any way possible is simply a part of the game.