Giants coach vows never to ‘disrespect the game’ a day after Eagles appear to do so

On the field, a masked Doug Pederson, game notes in his hand, hugs Joe Judge.
New York Giants’ coach Joe Judge, left, hugs Philadelphia Eagles coach Doug Pederson after an Oct. 22 game.
(Rich Schultz / Associated Press)

New York Giants coach Joe Judge said Monday he would never do anything to “disrespect the game” of football or the people who sacrificed so much for the NFL season to take place amid a pandemic.

The comments came a day after Philadelphia Eagles coach Doug Pederson made a move that many felt was disrespectful to the game — and one that cost the Giants a chance to advance to the postseason.

The Giants would have been the NFC East champions had Philadelphia defeated Washington on Sunday night. But Pederson didn’t appear to worry about that outcome early in the fourth quarter when he pulled starting quarterback Jalen Hurts for third-stringer Nate Sudfeld with his team down by only three points.

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Sudfeld had a pass intercepted on his first possession and fumbled the ball away on his second, and the Eagles eventually lost 20-14. With the loss, they ended up with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2021 draft; had the Eagles defeated Washington, they would have landed at No. 9.

Although Pederson would later say he was “coaching to win,” many were outraged by a move that appeared to be a blatant example of tanking for a better draft position.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, “two defensive players had to be held back from approaching Pederson” on the sideline after he made the call, and center Jason Kelce and another player confronted their coach about the decision. Hurts was caught on camera appearing to mouth the words, “It’s not right.” And Tuesday, running back Miles Sanders told a reporter, “If I’m being honest, nobody liked the decision.”

And, of course, many Giants fans and folks associated with the organization were furious as well.

“This is sickening,” New York receiver Darius Slayton tweeted.

“This is why we don’t like the Eagles,” former Giants quarterback Eli Manning tweeted.

Judge took the high road when asked about the situation on Monday. He pointed out that his team had numerous chances to earn a playoff spot during the season.


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“We’re not gonna make excuses as an organization,” Judge said. “Not now, not ever. We had our opportunities.”

But he also promised that he would never do anything to compromise the game if he found himself in that situation.

“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,” Judge said.

“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.”