Doug Pederson embarrassed himself and the Eagles on Sunday Night Football, effectively overshadowing any feel-good narratives the NFL might have enjoyed.
The storyline coming out of Sunday Night Football between the Washington Football Team and the Philadelphia Eagles should have been the feel-good tale of Ron Rivera.
Remember, Rivera battled cancer in 2020, spending two months undergoing chemo as the NFL returned.
The Washington head coach navigated a new job with a franchise mired in controversy. Over the summer, the team changed their offensive nickname and logo. Near the end of the season, quarterback Dwayne Haskins was cut after photos emerged of him breaking COVID-19 protocols at a strip club.
Rivera and quarterback Alex Smith, who returned from a life- and career-threatening knee injury, led Washington to an unexpected division title and a playoff berth. How cool is that?
Yet, that’s not the story anyone is talking about in the aftermath of the WFT’s 20-14 triumph. Instead, Doug Pederson stole the show in the worst of ways.
Doug Pederson turned his Eagles into a disgrace
Pederson’s Eagles had little to play for but pride. The head coach didn’t even let them play for that.
In either the most blatant case of tanking or the most egregious coaching performance in NFL history, Pederson did everything he could to prevent his team from having a chance.
We could spend an hour discussing Philadelphia’s questionable choice to go for a fourth down instead of kicking a field goal to tie the game in the second half. However, the most embarrassing and unbelievable talking point stemmed from Pederson’s decision to pull quarterback Jalen Hurts after three quarters.
Hurts hadn’t had an outstanding performance by any stretch, but he had his team in the game. He scored two touchdowns with his legs and one with his arm. He was battling.
Then his head coach took him out for Nate Sudfeld, a former sixth-round pick who couldn’t be mistaken for anything more than a backup. Why? Pederson told the NBC broadcast team he wanted to get a look at him.
The look for Pederson and viewers of Monday Night Football, including the irate Giants fans and players who hoped to see Philadelphia win to give the division title to New York, was not good. Sudfeld was 5-of-12 for 32 yards with an interception, a lost fumble and two sacks.
Anyone who values a competitive spirit will have watched that fourth quarter in abject horror, regardless of the outcome they hoped to see. It was a pathetic showing from a coach who should feel ashamed to stand in front of his players after robbing them of their agency. Once Hurts was pulled they were never going to win that game. Pederson saw to it.
Hurts should request a trade immediately. He’s a young quarterback. It was far more important for him to show what he can do in the fourth quarter than Sudfeld. He was denied that opportunity too.
The Eagles got a higher draft pick at the cost of their coach’s legitimacy.
At least Rivera got his moment.