Doug Pederson Showed the NFL that he is SOFT By John Brecko
The Eagles season officially ended after this past Sunday’s prime time game on Sunday Night Football at 8:20 p.m. It ended in a 20-14 loss to the Washington Football Team, who officially won the division after their win. The Eagles 2020 season would end with a 4-11-1 record. There are only four teams in the NFL with the worse record than that this season. Those teams are the Falcons, Texans (both had 4-12 records), the Jets (2-14) and the Jaguars (1-15).
Image credit via Coach Schuman’s NUC Sports Football Channel
The team they tied with this season was the Bengals, who had the same record as the Eagles at 4-11-1. The Bengals had their starting quarterback, Joe Burrow suffer a torn ACL and MCL in the team’s week 11 loss to Washington. There can be an argument made for their record being better if he did not suffer that injury.
Doug Pederson, the Head Coach of the Eagles, is an excellent coach who led a team full of practice squad players to the playoffs last year after starting 5-7 that season. He helped the team come back to make the playoffs after a 4-6 start the year before. Three years ago, the Eagles won Super Bowl 52. Doug Pederson was the Head Coach for that season as well. I acknowledge that he is a good coach and he deserves praise for everything he has done for this organization and he is not being called soft for having one bad season.
He is being called soft for the choice he made in the final game of the season.
He is being called soft for the choice to play Nate Sudfeld in the final game of the season.
He is being called soft the choice to bench Jalen Hurts for Nate Sudfeld in the final game of the season.
The Washington Football Team had its playoff hopes on the line in this game. The Giants had their playoff hopes on the line in this game since they could still make the playoffs if Washington lost. The Eagles playoff hopes may have been lost by the time this game took place, but that does not mean their pride was not on the line.
When a team competes, their pride is on the line every single time they step on a field, a court, a plate, in between a circle. Every time an athlete goes out to play, they should go out to be the best they can be. Whether they win or lose, it is about giving everything you have to win. When you do not win, you train to come back even better to give everything you have to overcome that obstacle that was in your way.
Deshaun Watson came into his game with the Titans with the Texans’s playoff hopes already dashed, but he still battled in this game until the final whistle and helped put up 38 points in that loss putting up three touchdown passes and completing 72% of his passes in a “meaningless” game.
Matthew Stafford came into his Week 17 game with multiple injuries, but still played and helped his team put up 35 points with his three touchdown passes. At least the Texans could take another team out of the playoffs and take pride in the fact that they had beat a playoff contending team the week before their offseason began. The Vikings (the team the Lions played in week 17) also had a win-loss record under .500.
Unlike the Washington Football Team, this team’s division is not terrible enough to still have playoff hopes with 5-10 and 6-9 records going into week 17.
At least Deshaun Watson came into the Texans’s game healthy, even if he would have the whole offseason to heal if he was injured before or if he got injured during the game.
These two teams still played for their pride. Matthew Stafford had a decent season for the Lions with 26 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. There are plenty of quarterbacks who had better seasons, but Stafford’s season was far from terrible. There are landing spots Stafford could go to if he does not stay with the Lions this season. Playing for pride does matter and you do not always have to win for coaches to see what you can do. Sometimes what you do on the field in spite of circumstances matter.
Deshaun Watson’s contract runs through the 2025 season and his team does not even have a first or second round draft pick in this year’s upcoming draft. On top of that the Texans are the only team that is in need of a head coach next season not to request an interview with Eric Bieniemy, who is the current offensive coordinator for the defending Super Bowl champions, the Chiefs. Deshaun Watson’s team shows no signs of getting better and he is still playing with everything he has inside of him.
Doug Pederson quit on his team in the final game of this season by putting the third string quarterback in while this game was still winnable for the Eagles. They only lost the game by six points. This game was not exactly a blowout, even after Nate Sudfeld came in and stunk up the joint with 5-12 for 32 yards and an interception.
Players were outraged and had to be held back on the sidelines from engaging with their head coach because they wanted to compete, as every athlete should every time they play the game that they love. Jason Kelce would ultimately try to cover for his head coach, saying that the team expected Nate Sudfeld to play at some point, even if he was surprised at the circumstances in which it happened (coming in during the third quarter of the game). However, most players, coaches and fans know better.
Past players, as well as current Giants players went on Twitter to voice their opinions. The opinion that made more headlines than any other was Giants rookie Head Coach, Joe Judge when he said his team will “never disrespect the game as long as he is the head coach”. This has put Joe Judge in a position where he will have to deliver next season (that involves at least getting the Giants into the playoffs), which I think he is more than capable of doing, but he called out a Super Bowl winning coach even he did not say his name when he made this statement.
As far as Doug Pederson is concerned, his job was on the line before this decision took place. In my opinion, Doug Pederson should be fired and his coaching career should be called into question after a decision like that. It will not be because he is a Super Bowl champion and he would ultimately get a job somewhere else (he would most likely get another chance to be a head coach of another team), but there is no guarantee he can get the locker room back after this decision.
Miles Sanders even came out to say that nobody liked this decision from Doug Pederson, even if he said that he does not know who’s decision it was to put Nate Sudfeld into this game.
If he does not know, then it is a possibility that the front office decided Sudfeld should go into this game at some point. This would prove that Doug Pederson has lost the power that a head coach is supposed to have in football decisions. This would mean that he probably will not be fired, but his days as the head coach of the Eagles might be numbered and his job may still be in jeopardy going into next season.
If Pederson cannot get the locker room back after this, then the Eagles have no choice but to move on from him as the head coach, which is a real possibility and it is understandable that players would not want to play for him after that.
Players come to compete. Players come to do what they love. Players come into every game with every intention of winning against opposing opposition, because they love to compete to test themselves as much as possible. Players come to compete for the love of the game they play. Players do not come to work for the people around them to quit. Players do not come to work for others to act soft.