Right now, the Eagles are the clear least favorite division rival of many fans of the New York Giants. And it’s completely understandable, The Eagles pulled a tanking move against Washington that guaranteed the Giants wouldn’t make it into the playoffs. It’s drawn them criticism from fans around the league for being against the competitive nature of the game and for the inexplicable nature of the Eagles pulling Jalen Hurts in the favor of their third string quarterback.
However, from an unbiased perspective, it’s hard to crucify the Eagles so hard for this.
It’s quite normal to feel anger as a fan – but when it comes to asking for the league to punish the Eagles with fines or taking away a draft pick or some other punishment, it’s worth looking at things from an objective point of view.
For better or worse, tanking is already part of the culture of the game. There’s always talk about some teams tanking towards the end of the year, especially if a team is in a position to draft a rare prospect if they can improve their draft position. In this case, Philly isn’t in a spot to take a player like Trevor Lawrence. But after their loss, they still pick number six overall as of now and are in a position to pick up a very good player.
If the Eagles are going to be punished for tanking, it has to become a crime for every team. It shouldn’t only be punished this one time because the outcome hurt the Giants’ playoff push.
It wasn’t that long ago that Chase Young was coming out of college and the Giants were nearly in position to draft him. A sizable part of the fanbase wanted the team to field a less competitive team against Washington at the end of the season to raise the chances of the Giants landing Young. Instead, they won the game and Washington jumped them for the second pick and was able to draft Young instead.
And even this season, some wanted the Giants to sit Daniel Jones for the rest of the season after his injuries and accept being out of the playoff race rather than fighting to the last weekend to stay in.
It’s not that Giants fans should be happy about the Eagles tanking, especially in a way that directly hurt the Giants. But to ask the league to punish Philadelphia for their decisions on Sunday would only be fair if anti-tanking measures were enforced for every team.
If you’ve ever advocated the Giants tanking in the past, wanting to punish Philadelphia for it now is an inconsistent take. And if you’ve never complained about any other team’s less publicized efforts to tank, it’s hard to justify starting now with only punishing the Eagles.
For better or worse, tanking is a part of the game even if it isn’t liked by all. For that to change, it would take larger shifts than just punishing the Eagles for doing it in a way which brought more negative publicity than usual.