Joe Judge: New York Giants head coach says his team will never ‘disrespect’ the game

New York Giants head coach Joe Judge did not hold back when asked his thoughts on the Philadelphia Eagles appearing to throw away a chance to defeat the Washington Football Team on Sunday, ending the Giants’ hopes of making the playoffs.

With one last playoff spot to be decided Sunday night, Washington nabbed it with a 20-14 victory in a game where Eagles head coach Doug Pederson switched from starting quarterback Jalen Hurts to Nate Sudfeld, who had not thrown a pass in an NFL game since 2018.

The Giants were poised to advance with an Eagles victory and Judge was not amused. Judge never actually mentioned the Eagles by name, but he hardly had to.

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

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Pederson said afterwards he was coaching to win the game, but the Eagles did benefit in defeat, landing the No 6 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft.

During a trying 2020 season, Judge referenced Giants players who decided to “opt in” and play, while honouring the sacrifices the decision required.

“To me, you don’t ever want to disrespect those players and their effort and disrespect the game,” Judge said. “The sacrifices that they made to come into work every day and test before coming in, to sit in meetings spaced out, to wear masks and 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 practice was going to be cancelled and we have to do a virtual day.

“To tell [players] please don’t have your family over for Thanksgiving, please avoid Christmas gatherings, we know it’s your wife’s birthday, let’s make sure we put that one off until the offseason.

“There’s a number of sacrifices made by all the players and coaches in this league. There’s a number of sacrifices that comes along as well with the family members and people connected to them.”

The Giants did have a chance to earn their way to the playoffs on the field, but won just six games all season, including suffering three defeats in their last four games and Judge added: “We’re not going to make excuses as an organization, not now, not ever. We had our opportunities.”

Ron Rivera ‘not apologising for winning’

As for the Washington Football Team, after reaching the playoffs in his first season in charge, head coach Ron Rivera said he would not be apologising for how his squad reached the postseason.

“You play who’s out there,” Rivera said Monday, via ESPN. “I’m not apologising for winning.”

“Nobody complained when Pittsburgh did what they did [resting starters] against Cleveland [in Week 17].

“It’s been a hard road for us and nobody seems to care about that. Nobody cared two weeks ago when we didn’t have some of our best players. Nobody cared last week when we didn’t have them, so why should we be concerned if a coach decides to do something that’s best for his team?

“A lot of people are happy about [the move], a lot of people aren’t happy about it and that’s just tough. So many things have happened in this world that are tough, that are hard. This is just a game that we’re playing, and we play the game as it comes to us. And I’m not going to apologise.

“You apologise for losing in the playoffs, but you don’t apologise for getting in.”

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