Hoo boy! Alright, there was no way we were going to leave this disaster unaddressed. Everyone’s got thoughts on this nonsense so here’s my take on the drama.

Am I mad? I was at the time, but not like “furious kick this guy out of the league” mad. I was mad because the game was very much winnable for the Eagles when Pederson appeared to throw in the towel for a chance to evaluate a 3rd string scrub there was barely any reason to evaluate. Since my team’s playoff fate was on the line, of course it was frustrating. I can’t blame any Giants fan who was pissed about that. It’s never fun watching your chance at the playoffs evaporate in real time.

But here’s the thing. The Giants were 6-10. They didn’t deserve the playoffs and never did. They didn’t earn it. Frankly if you have to rely on another team to lose to reach the playoffs, you don’t deserve the playoffs. Doug Pederson didn’t owe us shit. The Eagles didn’t owe us shit. Doug and the Eagles could play that game and do whatever the hell they wanted. They had nothing to play for anyway. They had been eliminated, it was week 17, I’m honestly surprised more eliminated teams don’t do shit like this in week 17. It’s a perfectly valid time to give some backups an evaluation before the roster decisions have to be made. If you have nothing to play for in a meaningless game, why not give Sudafed a few snaps for shits? The only motivation the Eagles had to win that game was for a small instance of pride to play spoiler. Playing spoiler gives their other rival a victory. Not a lot of motivation there.

So I’m mad that it happened because it hurt my team directly and I’m even more mad it robbed us of a 6-10 division winner, which would have been the funniest thing all season. I disagree with all the people who are outraged at the idea that the Giants even had a chance at the playoffs. “A 6-10 division winner is a stain on the sport!” fuck off. You know what we got instead? A 7-9 division winner. It’s not like we saved the integrity of football by not letting the Giants in. Washington honestly deserves the playoffs about as much as the Giants do. The Giants even beat them twice! Both teams are shit. The entire division was shit. If we are going to send a shit team to the playoffs, at least do me the favor of making it the funniest, most chaotic result possible. A 6-10 Giants team hosting Tom Brady and the Bucs in the wildcard would have been absolutely hilarious for the absolute frothing rage it would have inspired in the PURITY OF SPORT knuckleheads. Instead, we get a slightly less hilarious 7-9 WFT doing it instead. Still chaotic, I’m rooting for the TEAM 100% here, but it isn’t quite as funny or chaotic as a 6-10 team would have been. Especially given Brady’s history with the Giants.

Does Doug Pederson deserve to lose his job? No. Did he shame the sanctity of football? No. All the outrage is overblown. It’s overblown because it 1) pissed off New York Fans, a large and well known group of terrible people, and 2), It happened in primetime, which amplifies everything to the worst possible level. It was the last game of the season, and we were treated to two garbage teams playing a garbage game, and 3/4ths of the way through one of the teams just throws in the towel, ruining any chance at exciting football to close out the regular season. No wonder this drama became such a story, there wasn’t anything left to talk about. Honestly if this entire thing hadn’t directly involved the team I root for I would have been laughing my ass off the whole time. It was, frankly, absurdly hilarious.

I am finding the outrage and drama directed at Doug and the Eagles very entertaining though. It will for sure fire up the Giants for our next meeting, and it may have caused a locker room rift. Wentz is reportedly unhappy and wants a trade. Hurts was visibly upset on the sideline after being removed. There are other reports that numerous players and coaches were unhappy about it, either due to the timing (remember the game was very winnable at the time) or the decision to begin with. Reports like this are always to be taken with a grain of salt but where there is smoke there tends to be at least embers of fire.

Quick aside about that: I saw a few folks say those reports are bogus and probably just attempts to stir up drama, and that none of these angry instances were caught by the broadcast cameras. A fair and valid point. My counter argument to that is – maybe they just didn’t catch it on camera? There are a lot of people on a sideline talking at any given time, most of the players are wearing masks so we can’t even necessarily see angry yelling. Also, NBC’s presentation has gone down the tubes lately. They used to be incredible, but this year especially it feels like it’s become the Al and Cris chat hour. Something I learned from friend of the comic Arif Hasan is that coaches and booths actually rely on the broadcast replays to help make decisions, especially regarding challenges. If a broadcast isn’t prompt with a replay, they can’t get the info in time. Twice this year during SNF plays that should have been challenged and easily overturned were not challenged in time. One was the Tyreek Hill TD catch off a bounce, the other was Aaron Jones clearly stepping out of bounds on a long run. Both times NBC just let Collinsworth jabber and then showed the replay late, both announcers go “oh he stepped out! They should challenge!” but the next play was instantly snapped. After I learned this fact, I paid attention to Fox and CBS broadcasts: they are significantly more prompt with their replays. NBC is bad, fire Cris Collinsworth into the sun please and thank you.

What did I think of the actual move? I don’t have an issue with anything but the timing, really. Doug said he wanted to get Sudafed playing time before the game happened. But if he wanted to evaluate Sudafed, why not put him in sooner, like after halftime? What are you really going to learn in a single quarter of play about a guy who was a 3rd string loser? He came in and the Eagles instantly collapsed. Hurts may very well be the QB of the future for the Eagles if Wentz bails or continues to stink, why would you not keep him in and give him a chance to build his confidence or at least see how he handles it? Hurts was terrible at passing all game (his horrible throw on 4th down was a massive yikes) but he was also the only reason the Eagles were in the game to begin with, he had two rushing TDs. Let your rookie QB get some meaningless experience, don’t put in some worthless scrub with no value.

Let’s finish this up on the topic talking about Doug ruining the dignity of the sport. Mentioned earlier, I don’t blame any eliminated team for testing out bench players in the final weeks of the regular season. It makes perfect sense to me. As a Giants fan it certainly would have been more palatable if the Eagles had lost with honor by trying and failing or just straight up not trying from the start, but Doug can do what he wants. We don’t judge teams who rest starters (mostly, anyway) before the playoffs. Obviously I think all of us would prefer we see a team fight as hard as they can every game, but considering it is a business, I can’t be too mad about resting starters or whatnot when there isn’t anything but pride on the line. The Giants once gained a ton of respect from fans and pundits when they heroically threw themselves at the 15-0 Patriots in 2007, despite having no playoff positioning to fight for at the time. This will get me crucified, but I feel like that praise has always been overblown. The Giants obviously had something significant to play for in week 17 that year. Not playoff positioning, but something more symbolic. They had a chance to prevent the first 16-0 regular season team in history. That was obvious motivation in a situation no other team has ever been in. There was a lot more pride on the line in that game then your average final game when starters get rested. The very next year Coughlin rested all the starters in week 17 when the Giants had the #1 seed wrapped up, which kinda proved that all that bluster he spouted for week 17 was just that: bluster. The Giants played the Patriots hard because they wanted to knock them off. I think every team would have done the same in that position that season.

In short, fuck the Eagles, but whatever. Maybe win more than 6 games if you want to reach the playoffs. I am still 100% rooting for Brady to get eaten by Chase Young. I just wish Leonard Williams could have eaten him instead.