PHILADELPHIA, JAN. 6 -- Buddy Ryan isn't worried about his job. Another loss in the playoffs, however, might keep the Philadelphia Eagles coach up late.

Ryan has rejected the idea that he had embarrassed quarterback Randall Cunningham by benching him with 2:20 left in the third quarter of the Eagles' 20-6 wild-card loss to Washington on Saturday.

The coach sent in backup Jim McMahon, who threw three incomplete passes. Cunningham returned to finish the game.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported today that team owner Norman Braman complained the coach had embarrassed Cunningham.

"Seven points behind and he embarrasses Randall before a national television audience," the newspaper quoted Braman as saying.

"Are you sure he made that statement?" Ryan asked when the quote was called to his attention at his final weekly news conference. But he responded to it anyway.

"That's his opinion. I don't think I embarrassed anybody," Ryan said. "You make changes in the offensive line, changes at running back. I had to try and win the football game. It sure wasn't the idea of changing quarterbacks to embarrass anybody."

Ryan said he sent in McMahon, who had completed six of nine passes this season, because he hoped the former quarterback of a Chicago Bears' Super Bowl winner would generate some offense.

"People are scared to make decisions. Just stay pat, don't do anything, hope everything works out. Cover your eyes. I was trying to win the damn ballgame."

The coach added: "I was embarrassed by the way we were doing things. It's the coach's prerogative everywhere I've coached to take people out of the game and put them in.

"I'd rather be here today having you second-guess me for putting McMahon in, then to be sitting in that office second-guessing myself for not having tried something. You've got to try and win the game while it's going on."

Ryan said that he didn't consider Braman's remark a slap in the face.

"I sure don't. He's a fan. He owns the team. He's allowed to say what he wants to just like you and everybody else," Ryan said.

Cunningham said he was embarrassed but that he accepted the move as an effort by Ryan to get something going.

"It's the first time that happened to me in high school, college and the pros," the quarterback noted.

Ryan, Cunningham and offensive coordinator Rich Kotite also denied a report the quarterback was benched after he got into a shouting match with Kotite in the third quarter.

Meanwhile, Braman is getting ready to evaluate Ryan and decide whether to extend the coach's contract, which expires at the end of January.

Did Ryan feel the owner's disenchantment with the Cunningham move might tip the scale in deciding on his future with the Eagles?

"What is there to tip?" Ryan asked. "You look at the program. You look at where it was when I came here. You look at where it is now. I don't see negative things there."

Then why hasn't Braman given him a new contract?

"My contract isn't up until January 30. I think you guys keep it {controversy over re-signing him} alive."

Ryan's five-season record in Philadelphia is 43-37-1. In the last three years they are 31-17 in regular season play. Only three teams, the San Francisco 49ers with 38, the New York Giants with 35, and the Buffalo Bills with 34, have done better in that span.

The loss to Washington was the third straight time the Eagles have been eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, and they've scored only one touchdown in those games.