Former Chicago Bear and current Fox Sports 1 NFL analyst Brian Urlacher admitted that his former team routinely faked injuries to stop high-powered, fast-paced offenses from staying in a groove.
"We had a guy who was the designated dive guy," Urlacher said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Urlacher explained that a Bears coach would make a diving motion a swimmer makes with his arms, and the player designated as the dive guy "would get hurt."
Urlacher said while the team wasn't coached on how to fake injuries, the practice was part of the Bears' game plan. He also asserted that many other teams in the NFL in NCAA college football do the same.
In fact, the Bears’ amateur neighbor to the north, the Northwestern University Wildcats, have recently been accused by some of faking injuries during their season opening win against the California Golden Bears in Berkeley last Saturday.
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The Wildcats, who play in the Chicago suburb of Evanston and have branded themselves as “Chicago’s Big Ten Team”, saw several players go down to the ground with apparent injuries in the second half, a process that automatically stops the clock as soon as the player is attended to, which inherently slowed down Cal’s up-tempo offense. Cal head coach Sonny Dykes was visibly annoyed on the sidelines, and while the stalling wasn’t a game-changing factor, many Cal fans expressed outrage on Internet forums and social media following the 44-30 Northwestern victory.
When asked about the injuries, Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald said, “If anybody were to question the integrity of myself, our program or our players, I question theirs," and then he explained how he tells injured players to go down and wait for help instead of rushing to the sidelines at the risk of further injury.
“Our guys get dinged up. They get dinged up, they’re instructed to go down. You’ve never walked in and heard me say that ever, have you? I have a hard time with that. But if our guys get dinged up, they’re instructed to go down not hobble of to the sideline,” he said.