The NFC East champion was not determined until the final week of the regular season. The winner of the Dallas Cowboys-New York Giants game would have made the playoffs if the Washington Football team lost to the Philadelphia Eagles. The Washington Football team clinched the NFC East by defeating the Philadelphia Eagles.
Despite the game being close, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson decided to bench many of his starters, including starting quarterback Jalen Hurts for Nate Sudfeld. The Eagles used a 2nd round pick on Hurts in the 2020 NFL draft and he was starting the 4th game of his career. Hurts might enter next season as the Eagles starter, so he could have gained valuable reps by remaining in the game. On the other hand, Sudfeld hasn’t started a single game in his NFL career and has spent the majority of the season as the Eagles’ 3rd string quarterback. Doug Pederson deciding to bench Hurts for Sudfeld was a head-scratching decision.
The New York Giants would have won the NFC East if the Philadelphia Eagles had defeated the Washington Football team. Giants players were not happy about Jalen Hurts being benched. The Giants were a 6-10 football team. If they wanted to make the playoffs so badly, they should have won more than six games instead of having to rely on another team.
For much of this season, it looked like the New York Jets were going to obtain the first pick in the 2021 NFL draft. The Jets didn’t win their first game of the season until week 15. Instead of completing the team for winning their first game, the majority of the media said the team would have been better off losing in order to get the first overall pick. The Jacksonville Jaguars lost their final 15 games of the season and will end up selecting first overall in the 2021 NFL draft. Because of their week 17 loss, the Eagles will be picking sixth instead of ninth in the upcoming NFL draft. The Jacksonville Jaguars were praised for obtaining the first overall pick while the Philadelphia Eagles have been heavily criticized for the way they lost against the Washington Football team.
Tanking has previously been viewed as a problem in sports. For about three or so years, the Philadelphia 76ers front office intentionally put together a bad roster so they would lose alot of games and end up with a very good draft pick. Because of that, they ended up drafting Joel Embiid in 2014 and Ben Simmons in 2016. The rule that the worst teams get the best draft picks is fair in itself because those teams need the most help. However, now teams are being encouraged to lose after being eliminated from the playoffs in order to get the best draft pick possible. Regardless, it’s hypocritical that the Jets and Jaguars were being encouraged by many to lose throughout the season while those same people have recently been heavily criticizing the Eagles.