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Giants coach Joe Judge rips effort by Eagles in Week 17

Head coach Joe Judge of the Giants reacts

Head coach Joe Judge of the Giants reacts on the sidelines during a game against the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Joe Judge doesn’t blame the Eagles for the Giants’ season coming to an end.

But he showed up Monday with a long list of other gripes that irked him about the way they approached the end of Sunday night’s 20-14 loss to Washington.

With the Eagles trailing by three points in the fourth quarter, coach Doug Pederson pulled quarterback Jalen Hurts and replaced him with backup Nate Sudfeld, who had not played an NFL snap in several years and performed very much like it.

Other decisions also made it seem as if the Eagles were indifferent about winning the game, including a strange call to go for a touchdown when a field goal would have tied it late in the third quarter (the fourth-and-goal pass from the 4 was incomplete).

The win gave Washington the NFC East title, which would have gone to the Giants had the Eagles won.

After a year in which so much effort went into playing 255 games in 17 weeks, between testing and quarantining and schedule fluidity and other rigmarole, having a competitive 256th game decided by a preseason-style quarterback switch in the fourth quarter offended Judge not as a member of a Giants team that would have benefited from an Eagles win but as a participant in the league and a leader of its men.

"To disrespect the effort that everyone put forward to make this season a success for the National Football League, to disrespect the game by going out there and not competing for 60 minutes and not doing everything you can to help those players win, we will never do that as long as I am the head coach of the New York Giants," he vowed.

Judge delivered a long, passionate, sometimes heated diatribe that he tried to say was not about the Eagles — "I’ll let Philadelphia speak for themselves in terms of how they approached the game," he said — while leaving little doubt regarding his disgust about the way they had punctuated the 2020 season.

It was the closest he has come to losing his cool during any of his media appearances this season.

"[It’s important] to look at a group of grown men who I ask to give me effort on a day-in and day-out basis and to empty the tank, and then I can look them in the eye and assure them that I am always going to do everything I can to put them at a competitive advantage and play them as a position of strength," he said. "To me, you don’t ever want to disrespect those players and their effort and disrespect the game."

That the Giants were eliminated? That, he said, was their own doing. They had 16 opportunities to win more than the six games they did, including one early in the season against those Eagles that they lost by one point after blowing an 11-point lead.

"It’s our responsibility to take care of our opportunities and perform better and execute the situations when they are on our plate," he said. "We don’t ever want to leave our fate in the hands of anybody else. We’re not going to make excuses as an organization. Not now, not ever."

His problem with the Eagles was much deeper than that.

"It’s my job as a coach, it’s our job as coaches, to give these players some kind of edge or advantage," he said. "It’s their job to go out and play and execute and perform, but we can’t put them on the field and not do everything in our power to give them every advantage possible."

Judge said he had not reached out to Pederson to discuss the situation. "That’s not my job," he said. "I’m focused on the New York Giants and what we have to do going forward."

Clearly, that emanates from a very different place from the one the Eagles showed on Sunday night.

"I have been asked throughout the day by players and I want to make sure everybody understands our philosophy and what we’re going to do here," he said. "When we say we’re going to come to work every day and we’re going to make the area proud and be a blue-collar team and do all that stuff, that’s not going to be lip service. We’re going to do everything we can all the time to make the sacrifices and the commitment to be successful and to put the players in a position of success."

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