If one needed further proof that Joe Judge was the right man for the New York Giants, his comments pertaining to the Philadelphia Eagles’ now-famous Sunday-night lethargy only confirm it.
Just hours after completing his first season with the Giants, leading them to a 6-10 that was undoubtedly a step in the right direction for this franchise, Judge and his team needed the Eagles to defeat the Washington Football Team on Sunday night to win the NFC East and make the playoffs.
What transpired was a display of coaching from Eagles boss Doug Pederson that left many in the NFL community disgusted as questionable play-calling and a preseason-like quarterback change during the fourth quarter of a three-point game took Philadelphia out of any hopes of competing.
It was a disappointing and anti-climactic way to end an unprecedented regular season regardless of the viewer’s rooting interest while tarnishing Washington’s division title.
Judge could have ripped the Eagles apart on Monday night, but he didn’t even mention the team’s name.
“I’ll let Philadelphia speak for themselves as far as how they approached the game,” he said.
Then came a promise that ensured that there is still plenty of integrity left in the NFL.
“Obviously, players have asked me throughout the day and I just can’t express that, the one thing to keep in mind with this season is we had a lot of people opt into this season, okay?” Judge said. “Coaches, players, that includes family members, as well. So, to look at a group of grown men who I ask to give me effort on a day in, day out basis and to empty the tank and then 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, disrespect the game.
“The sacrifices that they made to come into work every day and test before coming in, to sit in meetings spaced out, to wear masks, to have shields over those masks, to go through extensive protocols, to travel in unconventional ways, to get text messages 6:30 in the morning telling them, ‘practice is going to be canceled, we have to do a virtual day,’ to tell them, ‘please don’t have your family over for Thanksgiving,’ ‘please avoid Christmas gatherings,’ ‘we know it’s your wife’s birthday, let’s make sure we put that one off to the offseason.’
“There’s a number of sacrifices that have been made by all the players and coaches in this league. There’s a number of sacrifices that come along, as well, with the family members and the people connected to them. To disrespect the effort that everyone put forward to make this season a success for the NFL, to disrespect the game by going out there and not competing for 60 minutes and doing everything you can to help those players win. We will never do that as long as I’m the head coach of the New York Giants.”
While the Eagles’ performance certainly struck a nerve, Judge shifted blame onto him and his team’s shoulders as to why they ultimately did not win the worst division in football and make the playoffs.
“Let me be very clear on this: We had 16 opportunities this year,” Judge said. “That’s it. We don’t ever want to leave our fate in the hands of anyone else. We’re not going to make excuses. Not now, not ever. We had our opportunities.”