Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The 2020-21 NFL regular season ended on a highly controversial note in Philadelphia Sunday night.

With the NFC East at stake for either the New York Giants or Washington Football Team, Eagles coach Doug Pederson pulled quarterback Jalen Hurts from the game with his team trailing 17-14 in the fourth quarter. Hurts wasn’t having his best game, completing only 7-of-20 passes for 72 yards and an interception. But he also scored Philadelphia’s two touchdowns, each of them on six-yard runs.

In a three-point game with plenty of time to tie the score or win the game, Pederson’s decision to bench Hurts was inexplicable. To everyone watching, it appeared that the Eagles preferred to lose, finish with a 4-11-1 record, and get the No. 6 selection in the 2021 NFL Draft. Philadelphia’s 20-14 loss resulted in Washington winning the NFC East and cost the Giants a division title and playoff berth.

Echoing the disbelief raging on social media, Sunday Night Football broadcasters Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth were critical of putting Sudfeld in the game.

And that was only the beginning of the pile-on directed at Pederson and the Eagles afterward. ESPN’s Chris Mortenson acknowledged the flood of messages and comments he received questioning the competitive integrity of the outcome.

Rich Eisen referenced another recent gaffe committed during the presidential election in Philadelphia:

On NBC Sports Philadelphia’s postgame show, former Eagles linebacker Seth Joyner said “I have never been more ashamed to be associated with the Philadelphia Eagles than I am tonight.”

As could be expected, the Monday morning sports talk shows were ready to pounce on the Eagles for tanking the game, rather than genuinely trying to win.

On NFL Network’s Good Morning Football, Kyle Brandt said Philadelphia was clearly trying to lose the game by playing Sudfeld, who had taken two snaps in the past three seasons.

Ryan Clark didn’t hold back on ESPN’s Get Up, saying “this was the most disgraceful” decision amid a season full of questionable developments as the NFL insisted on playing during a pandemic:

Dan Orlovsky said this was the first blatant example of tanking that he’d seen on the field, rather than something discussed in a front office or among media and fans:

On FS1’s First Things First, Nick Wright said Pederson played “a clearly inferior quarterback” yet if the Giants want to complain, they should’ve finished better than 6-10 for the season:

Pederson provided plenty of outrage material for analysts and pundits, allowing the morning shows to start off with blazing commentary. For at least an hour, it overshadowed everything else going on in the NFL, including the playoff field and NFL Draft order for for non-playoff teams being established.

Oh, and wasn’t the big news for the Monday following the NFL regular season expected to be which coaches were fired? Not at first. But that will come, with the Jacksonville Jaguars dismissing Doug Marrone and the New York Jets ditching Adam Gase.

About Ian Casselberry

Ian is a writer, editor, and podcaster. You can find his work at Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He's written for Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, MLive, Bleacher Report, and SB Nation.