Teams Tanking For the Future



Philadelphia Eagles’ Jalen Hurts scratches his head on the sideline during the second half of an NFL football game against the Washington Football Team, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

Tanking is a more recent development in the NFL where teams intentionally lose in order to get better draft picks in the following year. Many players have spoken out against this tactic such as Texans Defensive End JJ Watt and Eagles Center Jason Kelce. Watt was asked about his team’s poor performance at the end of the past season.

“This is a job,” Watt said. “We are getting paid a whole lot of money… So if you can’t go out there and can’t work out, you can’t show up on time, you can’t practice, you can’t go out there and win, you shouldn’t be here. Because this is a privilege. It’s the greatest job in the world.”

This past season, the Philadelphia Eagles decided it was in their best interest to pull this stunt by benching their starting QB and losing by 3 after putting in another QB who had never played a single snap in the NFL. They also made very questionable decisions. With more than 20 minutes left in the game, they instead of tieing up the game went for a field lead instead. 

“At all times in the NFL, the focus should be on winning the football game,” Eagles center Jason Kelce said. “Nothing else takes precedence. No player evaluation. No amount of curiosity from anybody within the organization. Everything is focused, in my opinion, in this league upon winning games. You see a lot of losing teams sustain losses for a number of years when they have bad cultures. They have cultures where you don’t try to win every week.”

When the Eagles lost the game, it cost the New York Giants a playoff spot and instead gave Washington Team the division title.

Due to this incident in week 17, Doug Pederson, the coach responsible, was fired due to the locker room atmosphere being incredibly hostile. After the game, many players had to be held back from Pederson because some were genuinely angry with him and wanted to take matters into their own hands.

There are many other players who believe that tanking is a toxic part of football because tanking is trying to lose instead of trying to win. 

“The focus should be on winning the football game,” Kelce said.