Joe Judge didn’t utter the words “Philadelphia Eagles” on Monday.
He didn’t have to.
The New York Giants head coach delivered a rant about sacrifice, family, COVID-19 protocols and disrespecting the game of football in a season-ending news conference.
The target of said rant was clear — the Giants’ NFC East Rivals who lit the NFL on fire Sunday when head coach Doug Pederson replaced Jalen Hurts with Nate Sudfeld in a loss that cost New York a playoff berth.
In case you missed it, Pederson has been charged with tanking for making football decisions that weren’t necessarily in the best interest of winning a football game that was meaningless to the Eagles. Pederson’s decisions helped clear the path for a Washington Football Team win that ultimately knocked the Giants out of the playoffs.
Judge responds to Eagles loss
Here’s what Judge had to say on Monday in shots fired about 100 miles south down I-95.
Joe Judge talks about the sacrifice it took to make this season happen:
“To disrespect the game by going out there & not competing for 60 minutes to doing everything you can to help those players win – we will never do that as long as I’m the head coach of the New York Giants.” pic.twitter.com/TXMZOumjZh
— Giants Videos (@SNYGiants) January 4, 2021
“To look at a group of grown men who I ask to give me effort on a day-in, day-out basis and empty the tank, and then I can look them in the eye and assure them that I’m going to do everything I can to put them in a competitive advantage and play in a position of strength,” Judge said. “To me you don’t ever want to disrespect those players and their effort and disrespect the game.”
Judge’s soliloquy might as well have been a direct response to arguments that Pederson’s most grievous offense wasn’t to ignore the competitive implications of Sunday’s game — but to not provide his players their best chance to win, running the risk of losing his locker room.
Judge continued on that line, emphasizing the additional effort and sacrifices players have made this season amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The sacrifices that they made to come into work every day and test before coming in,” Judge continued. “To sit in meetings spaced out, to wear masks, to have shields over those masks, to go through extensive protocols, to travel in unconventional ways, to get text messages at 6:30 in the morning telling them that practice is going to be canceled, we have to do a virtual day.
“To tell them please don’t have your family home for Thanksgiving. Please avoid Christmas gatherings. We know it’s your wife’s birthday. Let’s make sure we put that one off til the offseason.”
Judge’s target is clear
Judge then landed his closing line, a scathing retribution of Pederson’s tactics and a vow that the Giants will never do the same thing under his watch.
“To disrespect the effort that everyone put forward to make this season a success in the National Football League,” Judge continued. “To disrespect the game by going out there and not competing for 60 minutes and doing everything you can to help those players win.
“We will never do that as long as I’m the head coach of the New York Giants.”
Again, Judge never mentioned Pederson or the Eagles during his rant. Nor did he mention that he and Giants fandom are irked that they missed out on the playoffs after finishing 6-10. Both things are obviously true.
Despite the NFC East being a laughing stock in 2020, some of the game’s most bitter rivalries remained intact. Judge just made an emphatic imprint on the Giants-Eagles rivalry to close out his first season in New York.
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