For a brief moment yesterday, the football-watching world fell into something of a frenzy. A mostly boring and forgettable game between the Eagles and Broncos was suddenly thrust under the gaze of fans across the globe, who united their voices in order to participate in one of the most sacred rituals a fan can experience: absolutely roasting some guy for avoiding contact.
On this occasion, the scorn was aimed at Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who made a, uh, let’s call it quarter-hearted effort at tackling Darius Slay after the Eagles defensive back scooped up a fumble and began running it back for a touchdown.
No, before you ask, it doesn’t look any better from a different angle:
Certainly a lot of insufferable fans who think that football is war and quarterbacks are generals will see a clip like this and declare that Teddy Bridgewater must be court-martialed with extreme prejudice, as he is unfit for command. We can roll our eyes at those people and still acknowledge that this was not a great play by Teddy! The Broncos were within one score when Slay came up with that loose ball, and the Broncos are still in the playoff hunt. You can excuse something like this when someone on an 0-7 team in a game they are trailing by 27 points does it, but Bridgewater really should have at least attempted to make a tackle.
Bridgewater was of course asked about this moment after the game, and gave a sort of confusing answer about how he was trying to send Slay back towards the middle of the field, I guess so that someone else could tackle him? “I’m just thinking, ‘Hey man, maybe I could force the ball back inside.'” Bridgewater said. “And one of our guys will make the tackle.”
Perhaps not the most believable explanation, but one that makes some amount of sense so long as you buy that Bridgewater truly thought he was making the right decision in the moment. Unfortunately for Bridgewater, Slay also gave a (highly entertaining) postgame press conference in which he revealed that he spoke to the opposing QB after the game about the aborted tackle. “I was hoping Teddy didn’t try to, because I probably would have given him a good stiffy,” said Slay. “But that’s my dog, though. Teddy my dude, been playing against for a long time. I went to him after the game and I said, ‘Bro you try to tackle me?’ and he says, ‘Slay, you know I can’t tackle you.'”
If nothing else, Slay may need to reconsider what it really means to be his dog or his dude, given that said dudes and dogs are at risk of getting so thoroughly and publicly owned at Slay’s hands.