This past Sunday night’s game between the Philadelphia Eagles and The Washington Football Team had everyone at the edge of their seats, at least at the beginning of the game.
Philly had nothing to gain by winning. The Eagles finished the season last in the NFC East at 4-11-1. Still, had the Eagles won, the Giants would have represented the NFC East in the playoffs.
It was apparent to virtually anyone watching that Philly was hoping to move up, not in number of wins, rather in the selection process for draft picks.
So when Washington was down 17-14 in the 4th and still within striking distance of winning the game, Eagles coach Doug Pederson replaced his promising first string quarterback Jalen Hurts with third stringer, Nate Sudfeld. Meanwhile, Giants personnel, watching the game in Metro New York, were rooting for an Eagles’ win and a chance to host a playoff game. This twisted plot frustrated Giants’ fans.
Social media took note too. Members of the Giants tweeted their dissatisfaction during the game. They felt strongly that Pederson was disparaging the game and making a mockery out of the NFL. Many felt that the Eagles coach tanked in the fourth quarter.
Meanwhile, NBC announcers Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth stuck to their snap-by-snap coverage but found the developments on the field laughable.
The outspoken Collinsworth said to Michaels on-air: “Al, I couldn’t have done it. “I couldn’t have done it. I couldn’t have done what Philadelphia did. I just simply could not have done it. You’ve got men out there that are fighting their guts out, trying to win the game. And I’m not saying, I’m not blaming anybody, I, personally, could not have done what they did.”
There was clearly an overwhelming number of NFL fans who were outraged by the Eagles lack of fight. Had the Eagles won, the Giants would have played Tom Brady and the Bucs Saturday night in New Jersey. As it is, Washington will do so.
So how did the national media treat it?
Tony Kornheiser (ESPN)
“I’d like to see the NFL say he (Doug Pederson) wasn’t coaching to win and fine him $1 million.”
Chirs Mortensen of ESPN in the MortReport:
“This is the most negative barrage of comments I have received about a game’s lack of integrity and that’s not even counting Giants-related bias. Consensus from those in the NFL and how they’ve been associated with it: Disgrace. That’s not the fault of the Washington Football Team.
Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer:
“A disgraceful end to a dreadful Eagles season. Many will applaud the tank and three spots in the draft, but it spoke volumes about the current culture of the organization.”
Al Michaels of NBC:
After the game, the Hall of Fame announcer said: “So much at stake. Guys want to win the game. (Jalen) Hurts had a pretty good night, all things considered. His numbers weren’t that great, but a couple of rushing touchdowns, and clearly a guy who is a big part of the conversation for the future. And the Giants have to be beside themselves, and who can blame them?”
ESPN’s Dan Orlovsky:
“That was a mockery.”
Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk and NBC:
“If an Eagles player recovers a fumble and starts running toward the end zone along the Philly sideline, would Doug Pederson trip him?”
Art Stapleton of The Bergen Record:
“This is a bigger issue about the integrity of this game that Doug Pederson is mocking. Hard not to see it any other way.”
ESPN’s Michele Steele:
“[Pederson] says he was coaching to win this game – logical next question would be why he thought Nate Sudfeld gave them a better chance to win?”
Stephen A. Smith, ESPN:
“We understand that the Eagles have had an awful, god awful season. We get it, we understand it. We understand that. Guess what? Doug Pederson you’re lying through your damn teeth talking about you and trying to win the game. You want to try to win the damn game. Look at who didn’t play the game for crying out loud.”