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December 18, 2021

NFL's decision to postpone Eagles game to Tuesday comes down to money

Just like it always does...

The NFL is not supposed to be moving games, in this COVID landscape, for football reasons.

And on the surface it appears that the league did just that, reverting on a previous statement where they basically committed to giving a team a forfeit if an unvaccinated player causes an inability to field a full roster on game day.

And while Montez Sweat — the unvaccinated pass rusher that was likely "patient zero" in the Washington COVID crisis — deserves a lot of the blame for the Eagles having to play their Week 15 game on Tuesday night, and their Week 16 game on four days rest, it's not the biggest or most rational place to focus your anger.

The league moved the game to Tuesday because it wanted to make the most money possible. And it will.

Because people will watch. More people, probably.

Let's explain. The players are not blameless in this. While individuals spoke out on twitter about how lame it was for them to have to play three straight division games in 13 days, they also would have had to make quite a sacrifice to accept a Washington white flag.

That's because players on both teams would surrender a game check if they didn't play this game. That's 1/17th of each person's salary. Would you give up six percent of your yearly salary willingly? Or would you want to have the chance to earn it like you should? 

It's unclear exactly how the players and the players union influenced the final decision but it certainly was factor. And the NFL determined that the only way for them to get their pay was to play on Tuesday — their theory: less COVID cases. 

Whether or not Washington is healthy enough to play on Tuesday is yet to be seen, but at least it gives the players a slightly better chance of taking home money they deserve.

The second factor is on the league's side. One of the three games was moved to Monday. Two — including the Seahawks and Rams — was moved to Tuesday and will kickoff at the same time the Birds do at 7 p.m. 

Why was that necessary? Why not put all three games on Monday? Well the answer there is clear. The NFL now will completely own this next week. Thursday night football already happened, there are two games on Saturday, a mostly full slate Sunday and now games on Monday and Tuesday. Five of six days will have NFL football games nationally televised. The ratings will be great, people will watch, and the poor fans who'll have to sit through rush hour traffic Tuesday en route to a game they thought was on a weekend afternoon have no recourse.

The NFL isn't turning back on their earlier pledge to punish teams that do not take their COVID protocols seriously with forfeiture (though let's be honest, the NFL was never actually going to make a team forfeit). They are turning the COVID crisis into a chance to make just a little bit more money. And the players, perhaps rightly, are making sure they also get their fair share.

We'll see if things go as planned on Tuesday, and hopefully Nick Sirianni's boys will turn this clear adversity into fuel to win the games they need to down the stretch to make the wild card. But remember, it's a more nuanced issue than, the NFL hates the Eagles. It hates its fans too, and everyone wants to make a dollar.

Follow Evan on Twitter: @evan_macy

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