All week at NBC Sports Philadelphia, we're debating the biggest villains in Philly sports history. Today we begin with Eagles. Here's Derrick Gunn's argument on why Jadeveon Clowney is the biggest villain in the history of the Birds. You can vote here.
Just mentioning the name Jadeveon Clowney to an Eagles quarterback should send shivers up and down their spines.
In this region, Clowney is a disliked man. One who has been on a mission of trying to remove Philadelphia quarterbacks from games at all cost.
He almost succeeded week 16 of the 2018 season. Clowney, then with the Houston Texans, got in a good shot on Nick Foles. With under 2 minutes to play, the Texans were clinging to a one point lead and the Eagles were pinned deep in their own territory. On 3rd-and-10, Foles stepped back to pass and Clowney looped around, and just as Foles released his throw Clowney lowered his head, and caught him with a helmet to the sternum. Alshon Jeffery hauled in the toss for a crucial first down, while Foles laid on the field gasping for air. Clowney was called for roughing the passer for spearing.
Foles left the game briefly but was able to return to lead the birds down the field for a game winning field goal and keep their playoff hopes alive. After the game, Nick wasn’t even upset saying “it was a great hit. He got a good one on me.” The league didn’t see it that way. A week later, Clowney was fined $40,110.
Fast forward to the 2019 wild card round of the playoffs, Clowney now playing for Seattle. Late in the opening quarter of a scoreless affair Carson Wentz scrambles. As he’s being tackled, Clowney trailing on the play lowers his head and shoulder and drills Wentz in the back of the helmet. Wentz played just nine offensive snaps before leaving for good with a concussion. The hit on Wentz was more vicious than the one on Foles and yet there was no penalty on the play, and surprisingly no fine followed.
Former Eagle Jon Runyan, who is the NFL VP of rules and policy, would later describe the play as “right on the line but didn’t demand further action.” Runyan also added “he’s not a defenseless player because he’s not catching a pass. He’s a runner so he doesn’t have the rushing the passer protection.” When you look at how that game ended, you come to the realization that had Wentz been able to continue there was a good chance the Eagles win that game.
As far as Eagles fans are concerned Clowney is a clown. Always in the middle of a controversy when playing the Eagles. And whenever he comes back to town, whoever he’s playing for, Philadelphia fans won’t forget what he’s done nor forgive his antics.