No one expected the New York Giants to be battling for a playoff spot going into Week 14 of the NFL season in 2022. So, when veteran center Jon Feliciano received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty penalty on Sunday that likely cost his Giants teammates a victory, after the game, head coach Brian Daboll subtly used the penalty as an example of things his players cannot do in the future.

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The penalty happened with just over 5 minutes remaining in the 4th quarter. Brian Daboll explained it this way to Ryan Dunleavy of nypost.com, “He (Feliciano) was flexing. He was going up to Slayton and saying, ‘Hey, good job. Strong run.’ But it was close. It was (near) all those players. So again, how the guy (referee) looks at it and interprets it, I don’t think he can hear what Jon is saying to Slayton. So, they ended up calling it, which was obviously...we shouldn’t even be in that situation. We get the ball there; it’s going to be a first down. We’re at the 35. Probably (would) make it a two-score game. Those are things we can’t even make it close.”

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Feliciano's penalty, negated the first down, pushed the Giants back 15 yards and turning a potential field-goal attempt into a punt. The Commanders took the ball, scored a touchdown and tied the game, forcing overtime. Brian Daboll was not happy. “He was obviously mad,” Feliciano told nypost.com. “He has a right to be. I’m mad, too.”

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Daboll's anger was fleeting. He refocused on the task at hand. When the head coach said after the game, "Those are things we can’t even make it close," he was referring to the penalty on Feliciano. At that juncture of the game, Daboll expects his players not to give the officiating crew any reason to throw a flag. Celebrations are notorious opportunities for officials to insert their "judgement" into a game. We all know how that goes. According to ESPN.com, just prior to that penalty, the Giants had a 92 percent chance to win the game.

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