Nate Sudfeld
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL dinged the Dolphins for tampering with Tom Brady and Sean Payton, but gave them a pass on the tanking allegations raised by former coach Brian Flores. But they mostly disregarded the tampering allegations levied by former coach Brian Flores.

That said, former NFL executive Mike Lombardi seems to think some of the tampering punishment had tanking built into it. Or something like that. Because he’s dragging up the infamous Eagles Week 17 tank job in 2020 — one that kept the Giants from winning the NFC East as the worst division champion ever.

To recap: The Giants won in Week 17 to close out the 2020 regular season by defeating Andy Dalton and the Cowboys. An Eagles win over Washington would’ve sent the Giants to the playoffs as the winners of the NFC East (at 6-10).

Hope was still in the hearts and minds of Giants fans entering the fourth quarter of that Philly-Washington Sunday Night Football battle before Doug Pederson (and curiously-inserted backup quarterback Nate Sudfeld) erased any sort of faith.


Difference in scenarios. I’m not sure Lombardi has a point here though. Because the Eagles’ situation differs from that of the Dolphins. The Dolphins were found guilty of tampering, not tanking. The league found no evidence to support the allegations that Ross actually offered Flores $100,000 per loss in 2019, which was a tidbit in the lawsuit.

The Eagles were actually tanking, at least that’s how it was perceived. The Week 17 loss gave the Eagles a 4-11-1 record for the season instead of a 5-10-1 record. The former mark gave them the No. 6 overall draft pick; the latter would’ve given them the No. 9 pick.

Not the same scenario. Even if Dolphins owner Stephen Ross was actually offering $100k for every loss in hopes of landing a star quarterback in the 2020 draft (which could’ve been Joe Burrow instead of the limited Tua Tagovailoa), he wasn’t found guilty of doing so. We actually saw with our own eyes that Pederson attempted to lose that game.

The truth. If you, a Giants fan, were upset with the Eagles and Pederson when the entire Sudfeld debacle went down, you were in the right. It was a collasal act of stupidity that broke the hearts of Big Blue fans alike.

But the real true reason why the Giants didn’t reach the postseason that year was they weren’t equipped for that level of play. The Giants were still 6-10 and only in the hunt for a playoff spot because Dak Prescott missed much of that year with an ankle fracture. After that injury, star quarterback play in the NFC East was merely non-existent.

Daniel Jones didn’t progress in his second year, the offensive line was putrid, the team had minimal talent on the offensive end, and the Joe Judge-led staff was already a poor fit. Not to mention, the Giants had an opportunity to pull away from the pack late in the year only to lose three straight games to the Cardinals, Browns, and Ravens (from Weeks 14-16).

While Pederson may have screwed the Giants with that bone-headed decision to enter Sudfeld, the Giants shouldn’t have been in that spot to begin with.

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Ryan Honey is a senior NFL analyst, betting writer, and podcaster for Elite Sports NY. He hosts the Wide Right Podcast, which serves as both a New York Giants podcast and sports betting show.