New York Giants head coach Joe Judge did not hold back Monday, one day after the Philadelphia Eagles appeared to throw away a chance to defeat the Washington Football Team, ending the Giants’ last chance at making the playoffs.
With one last playoff spot to be decided Sunday night, Washington nabbed it with a 20-14 victory in a game where Eagles head coach Doug Pederson decided to make a second-half switch from starting quarterback Jalen Hurts to Nate Sudfeld, who had not thrown a pass in an NFL game since 2018. The Giants were poised to advance with an Eagles victory.
Judge was not amused.
“To disrespect the effort that everyone put forward to make this season a success in the National Football League, to disrespect the game by going out there and not competing for 60 minutes and doing everything they can to help those players win, we will never do that as long as I am the head coach of the New York Giants.” Judge said.
Judge never actually mentioned the Eagles by name, but he hardly had to.
Pederson said afterward he was coaching to win the game, but the Eagles did benefit in defeat, landing the No. 6 overall selection in next year’s NFL draft.
During a trying 2020 season, Judge referenced Giants players who decided to “opt in” and play, while honoring the sacrifices that the decision required.
“To me, you don’t ever want to disrespect those players and their effort and disrespect the game,” Judge said. “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 and have shields over those masks, to go through extensive protocols, to travel in unconventional ways, to get text messages at 6:30 in the morning telling them practice was going to be canceled (and) we have to do a virtual day.”
Judge went a step further, mentioning the sacrifices that fell on the families of the players.
“To tell (players) 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 until the offseason,” Judge said. “There’s a number of sacrifices made by all the players and coaches in this league. There’s a number of sacrifices that comes along as well with the family members and people connected to them.”
The Giants did have a chance to earn their way to the playoffs on the field, but won just six games all season, including three defeats in the last four games. New York did go 2-0 against the Washington Football Team, but Washington was able to win the NFC East with just seven victories.
“So we’re not going to make excuses as an organization, not now, not ever,” Judge said about the team’s fate falling to a game between division rivals. “We had our opportunities.”