Say what you want about the New York Giants only winning six games this season. The fact of the matter is, they were in striking distance of clinching a playoff berth on Sunday night. In fact, had it not been for an unfathomable coaching decision by Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson, there’s a very strong likelihood that the G-Men would currently be prepping to host Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in MetLife this Saturday night.
Instead, down by just three points in the final game of the regular season, Pederson opted to send starter Jalen Hurts to the bench in favor of third-stringer Nate Sudfeld. The rest is history. Tanking accusations quickly littered the internet. NBC analyst Chris Collinsworth knew it was wrong, fans knew it was wrong. Hell, by the looks of it, even Hurts knew it was wrong.
Still, many Giants players took the high road following the game. Jabrill Peppers noted that he wasn’t angry, stating that “you don’t leave your destiny in another man’s hands,” per ESPN’s Jordan Raanan. Fellow defensive back Logan Ryan essentially echoed these statements in a phone conversation with NBC’s Peter King.
Giants head coach Joe Judge also attempted to keep things diplomatic at first. “I’ll let Philadelphia speak for themselves as far as how they approached the game,” he told reporters on Monday, via SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano.
However, his tune quickly changed.
Giants’ Joe Judge Blasts Eagles
Judge never mentioned the Eagles, nor their coach Doug Pederson by name. Yet, he didn’t have to. The first-year head coach made it unequivocally clear who he was sending a message to on Monday.
“To disrespect the effort that everyone put forward to make this season a success for the NFL, to disrespect the game by not going out there and competing for 60 minutes and doing everything you can to help those players win,” Judge said, “we will never do that as long as I’m the head coach of the New York Giants.”
Certainly strong words from the first-year head coach. Words that will almost certainly earn him brownie points amongst a Giants fanbase that has already, for the most part, struck the gavel in anointing him the right man for the job.
Yet, he didn’t stop there.
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Judge: You Don’t Ever Want to Disrespect the Players, the Game
Judge’s first season as a head coach wasn’t your typical first year on the job. The pandemic greatly impacted the season, not only shifting around the game day schedule but altering day-to-day operations in the facility and outside of it. A notion that Judge harped on in his rant.
“One thing to keep in mind with this season is we had a lot of people opt-in to this season,” Judge said. “Coaches, players, family members, as well,” Judge said. “To look at a group of men who I ask to give me effort on a day-in, day-out basis and empty the tank so that I can look them in the eye and assure them I’m always going to do everything I can to put them at a competitive advantage and play them in a position of strength, to me you don’t ever want to disrespect those players and their effort and disrespect the game.”
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