Speaking as one of the many millions of Americans who proudly hates the Philadelphia Eagles and almost never has a bad day when they lose, I knew I'd enjoy the fallout from this business of Doug Pederson throwing the final game of the NFL season. It was the perfectly fitting punctuation mark at the end of a surreal season. I just didn't realize how much I'd enjoy it.
But it's obvious that the story didn't end Sunday night. And it didn't peak yesterday with Pederson's pathetic, mumbling non-answer answer to questions about it. It's only gotten better and will continue to in the wake of this report:
Source - When Doug Pederson pulled Jalen Hurts for Nate Sudfeld early in the fourth quarter in Sunday’s season finale against Washington, many Eagles players and coaches were shocked and outraged, team sources told The Inquirer.
Some were angry. Two defensive players had to be held back from approaching Pederson. Center Jason Kelce and another offensive starter went to the coach to ask him why he had pulled the starting quarterback with the Eagles trailing by only three. ...
In many cases, Eagles players and assistants had no inclination that Sudfeld was part of the offensive game plan, and if they did, they figured it had been abandoned because of the tight score. ...
Many of the Eagles players knew their only chance of coming back, even with an already bare-bones unit, was with Hurts, sources said. Sudfeld tossed an interception on his second pass, fumbled a low Kelce snap on his next possession, and couldn’t move the Eagles down the stretch. ...
Some Eagles staffers still weren’t sure what was behind Pederson’s decision a day later, if he was under orders from owner Jeffrey Lurie and/or general manager Howie Roseman, although most speculated that it was most likely related to draft position. The Eagles will have the No. 6 overall draft pick, rather than the No. 9 pick had they won.
This has got to be just the first of many such reports. Wait until Eagles players start leaving as free agents or retire, as Pederson's assistants get jobs elsewhere. Or other people in team management who don't like Pederson and can benefit from undermining him start talking as well. Again, I think I can speak for all of us when I say:
And while I may hate the franchise, I respect the hell out of the players who tried to go after Pederson. Who played hard in a "meaningless" game and fought to make The Washington Team Formerly Known as the R-Words earn the division. Joe Judge said it brilliantly when he talked about how much a coach asks guys to give up for the greater good of the team, this year of all years. And obviously Jason Kelce said it best long before Pederson pulled Hurts from the game:
And to think that players like him were able, from all that sacrifice and self-denial and playing the game with pride, able to somehow squeeze in 256 games in 17 weeks is a miracle. A testament to their professionalism. And to have it ruined by one coach for the sake of three lousy draft slots is in insult to all they gave up.
I don't believe in curses. But to a certain extent, I do believe in karma. That if you put good things out into the world, good things will come back to you. In this case, that if you don't pack it in and halfass your way through a football game just because you're out of the playoffs, the game will reward you. I don't know how, exactly. And I admit it's not really rational. But I believe in it. For the same reason I repair ball marks on the green that my shot did not create. I feel like if I respect the game, it will respect me back. The Eagle players who conducted themselves with pride and were outraged by what management did will be better for it. While the organization doomed itself. How that doom will manifest itself remains to be seen. In the short term, I think anyone who can get out of Philly will do so. In the long term, either that draft pick will be a bust or Pederson's coaching career will never recover. But they created some seriously bad juju. This I truly believe. Couldn't happen to a nicer franchise.
P.S. I will never get over losing a Super Bowl to this buffoon.