Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya All to Blame for Failure to Address Clowney Hit on Carson Wentz

Any rational person knew that once Carson Wentz was knocked out of the Eagles’ season-ending loss to the Seattle Seahawks, the National Football League had a legitimate interest in seeing the Seahawks and not the Eagles make the trip to Wisconsin to face the Green Bay Packers next week.

The Eagles were a compelling story at the end of the regular season, partly because of their resilience in coping with crippling injuries to elite, top-end talent all over the field and partly because, well, all the other NFC playoff berths were claimed before Week 17. The Eagles were going to be must-see TV on NBC against the Seahawks by default because they were playing in the last game of the wild card weekend.

But that’s about as much as the NFL really needed or wanted from the Eagles. League commissioner Roger Goodell was in the building and presumably witnessed the play where Seahawks’ defensive end Jadeveon Clowney targeted the helmet of Wentz as the quarterback was going to ground. He’d probably never answer the question, but he couldn’t have been too heartbroken to see the Eagles’ chances to survive for another weekend driven into the turf.

What’s best for television is what’s best for the league, and vice versa. It’s remarkably easy for Fox to hype: “Russell Wilson! Aaron Rodgers! A trip to the NFC title game on the line!” Conversely, this is less palatable: “Josh McCown! Boston Scott! Fletcher Cox facing a quadruple team! Can the Eagles cover getting 13?

You can accept all of that as true and still be disgusted by the tacit cynicism of the broadcast team covering the game. The refusal of both Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth to make even a token effort to point out that Clowney’s hit on Wentz was not just illegal but worthy of ejection was “protecting the shield” in a way that diminishes their credibility:

As jaded as Michaels and Collinsworth were, though, sideline reporter Michele Tafoya sold her journalistic credibility for 30 pieces of silver with these two – TWO – questions she asked Clowney after the game:

“You told me the other day that you were really hurting, that that core injury was bothering you,  but you knew the team needed your energy — what were you able to do?”

“28 sacks in the regular season for this team, seven tonight, how do you explain that?”

I’ll spare you Clowney’s many-words-saying-little answers. What an honest man might have said would be this: “Well, what I was able to do was I was able to take out their quarterback with a headhunting hit. As for the seven sacks, hey, their two best offensive linemen (Brandon Brooks, Lane Johnson) didn’t play and once the 40-year-old backup QB came in, it was open season out there.”

Tafoya asked two questions of the player who knocked Wentz out of the game with a cheap shot, and neither of the questions was even as open-ended as: “Tell me about the play with Carson.” It’s one thing not to take a position; it’s quite another to avoid the only relevant question entirely.

That’s adding insult to injury.

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42 Responses

  1. Great take! I know eagles fans are sore losers, but this takes it to a new level. “The broadcast crew didn’t talk about the hit enough, waaaah waaah”. Why would they talk about a non penalty? Stick with handing out awful betting advice

    1. One ring in 60 years , I guess lack of talent & injury weak qb has always been problem for the eagles.




    2. Right. Bc commentators never ever talk about plays that should have resulted in a. Penalty but didn’t. It’s never happened on tv before. Okay 👌

    3. You can lie to yourself but most of America saw the hit for what it was. Clowney’s head tilt in mid flight was intentional, brutal and illegal. You are either a delusional Seahawks fan or visually challenged.

  2. Malcolm Jenkins head to head hit on Brandin Cooks was a “great hit” during the Super Bowl.

    Hey! Guess what? Wentz is soft!

    1. There still will be talks of Wentz cannot make it through a season healthy. Fair or unfair. No matter if the hit was illegal or not.
      I personally cannot blame Wentz or his durability on this one.
      It’s a damn shame too bc you can bet your bottom dollar eagles would’ve been playing the Packers next week

      1. We saw Wentz play the Seahawks when he was healthy in the regular season. He stank, as is par for the course against good teams. McCown came out of retirement to start the season, had no reps with first team in months, yet put up the same amount of points with better completion and less turnovers.

        1. But you know this is a different team from just a month ago. We still had agholor and Jeffery lining up I believe.
          Boston Scott didn’t come out of his cocoon yet.
          Miles Sanders just started finding his groove.
          Practice squad emergence, and with that came surprising chemistry with Wentz.
          Defense played great that game so there’s really nothing to be said about that side of the ball.

          If you’ve been watching the games, then you should be aware the positive changes the teams been showing.

        2. Really bad take here, Carson had no established WR in the first game. That was Greg Ward first game too.. Coaching had adapted to incorporating Ward, Boston Scott and Sanders in the passing game since. Your delusional if you think Carson is doing the same thing that McCown did last night.

  3. Dirty hit should be ejected, fined and suspended. Seagulls are a dirty team overall, if Russel Wislson gets headhunted the same way and taken out, the Seagulls don’t even score another point in the game. May Green Bay beat the shite out of this team!!!

  4. I agree with your point about Michelle Tafoya. That was the play of the game. They showed it a few more times. I don’t believe the league set it up for Wentz to get nailed, which is what you’re emplying

  5. Want a good laugh go to twitter and see all the national pundits celebrating wentz is always hurt . That r@cist from ESPN was evil about it

    1. All the whining of this fanbase makes me ashamed of rooting for the Eagles yesterday. Wah, a mean tweet, wah the announcer didn’t say what I wanted. The inferiority complexes are out of control. I hope to god the players don’t have the same soft attitudes as some of you guys.

      1. The Playerst think they won the Super BOWL by putting together a four game winning streak vs. Three of the six worst teams in sports.

        1. I think the Bengals would have beaten the eagles this season. Lets be realistic with now what needs to happen. They need a new defensive back field, 3 brand new line backers, 4 new wide receivers and do NOT bring back Mr false start and hasn’t been a hall of famer in 4 seasons Jason Peters

      2. Who’s whining? It was an intentionally dirty hit. Football fans are allowed to comment on these types of things. Simple as that.

  6. Phil, you fat slob, stick to the garbage kickball picks.

    This is one of the worst takes to date. Yes, Phil, if only the announcers talked about it more. That would have made it all better.

  7. Tafoya loves hard takes. Her face looks like it took one off a wall years ago. And hey at least Michael’s won alot of money on the Seahawks. And Collinsworth takes truvada for prep.

  8. I would like for the front office to clean house with the entire medical and strength training staff.
    One, or both, are seriously incompetent.
    Every season for years now, players drop like flies.
    It’s not a matter of if, just when will the injuries happen….

    And I agree with a commenter above, time for Peters to go. Time for Dillard to step up

  9. Um, the Eagles scored 9 points with Carson Wentz against the Seahawks when they didn’t have Clowney. They scored 9 without him and were knocking on the door for more with two minutes left. Wentz was off to yet another slow start. The backup was an obvious spark.

  10. Seeing the replay in full speed and not slow motion, it was not what Eagles fans are claiming. Did the helmets hit, yep. Did it apepar Clowney purposefully did it in full speed? NO.
    Does Wentz need to take a slide there and not a head first dive? Yes.
    I am not an Eagles fan nor a Seahags fan, I’d have preferred an Eagles win in this. But. the whining about targeting, illegal hit, and dirty play are not justified. I have seen far worse hits on QB’s or other players that were not called.
    The NFL called it correctly, incedental contact. Watch it in full speed.

  11. The Eagles need to face the facts that Carson Wentz is injury prone. He has been jeart and missed games the last 4-5 seasons. Now is the time to trade or release him.

  12. The NBC announcers are NFL shills. What do you expect. The NFL is in serious trouble. This episode proves it.
    Clowney was not kicked out of the game after the brutal hit, because the Eagle’s QB did not have the last name of “Brady” or “Rogers”. Unless the NFL has a SERIOUS paradigm shift, it will die.

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