WIP - With 19 seconds to go in overtime, the Eagles were ready to attempt a 59-yard field goal to win the game. However, offensive lineman Matt Pryor went offsides and Doug Pederson had a crucial decision to make.
Pederson, uncharacteristically, played it safe and decided to punt and play for a tie, which is how the game ended. On Monday morning, Pederson told Angelo Cataldi and the 94WIP Morning Show that he would have done it differently looking back on it.
"I hate the fact that the game came down to that one play," Pederson said on Monday morning. "We should have won the game, probably in regulation looking back on it with some of the execution we had, not only offensively, but defensively. Fast forward to the end of the game, obviously well within Jake's range – would have been 4th-and-7 at the time. I believe we haven't converted a fourth down all season other than a QB sneak, so our execution there has been lacking just a little bit.
"But looking back on it, I would have probably gone the other way and maybe taken a shot down the field and put the ball up in the air. Looking back on it, with clearer eyes this morning, a lot of things good have happened – DPI (defensive pass interference), illegal contact, could have been an offensive holding, could have been a sack. There's a lot of things that go into those plays. Looking back on it, that's probably what I would do." ...
"In that situation now you go from 4th-and-7 to 4th-and-12, it's a tough thing," Pederson said. ...
Cataldi asked Pederson if he believes he sent the wrong message to the team by not showing faith in them and going for the tie?
"No, not at all," Pederson said. "I still trust in the them. I still believe in the guys. These are things that we will learn from. I will learn from it."
I'm no Eagles fan. And feeling sympathy toward them is not emotion I'm comfortable with, my any means. But this goes way beyond pity for them. This decision by Pederson and the weak-kneed, rubber-spined attempt to explain it away here doesn't just degrade them. It's an insult to America. To that noble idea of American manhood we used to value in this country and should still aspire to.
Not trying the 64-yard field goal was bad enough. Not believing in your team to convert a 4th & 12 is worse. But to then question yourself with the argument you maybe could've drawn a DPI or whatever is to teabag the very ideals we are all supposed to stand for.
Did the Pilgrims punt when they set sail across the Atlantic to escape persecution and carve out a living in the vast untamed wilderness? Did the Founders play for a tie with the British Empire's tyranny? Did Neil Armstrong hope for an interference call when he took the Lunar Landing Module off autopilot and guided it to a safe touchdown in the middle of a boulder field? In case you don't know, the answer to all of these is "no." These were bold people of independent spirit who took chances and believed in themselves. In football terms, they "went for it" and we are all better off for their courage.
I don't know how Pederson thought he'd make things better today by going on Philly radio and offering up this timid drivel to explain himself. He should've simply done what JFK did after the Bay of Pigs debacle, took the blame, made no excuses and vowed to do better. This just made it worse.
As a fan of a team who was once famously in the receiving end of Pederson's bold fearlessness, I always respected the fact that at least my team lost to someone because they dared to do great things, believed in their team to succeed, and willed it into existence. Hell, I admired them for it. At least it wasn't losing to someone because they got lucky or got all the calls. It was a "the better man won" situation. But apparently that man is "better" no more. And our entire nation is spiritually poorer today because of it.