Three years ago, Doug Pederson didn’t just bring a severely injured Eagles squad led by backup quarterback Nick Foles to the Super Bowl. He won the damn thing, bringing immense joy to a dedicated Philadelphia fanbase that hadn’t before tasted the sweetness of a Super Bowl victory. That win happened in large part because of Pederson’s playcalling, which existed on a spectrum somewhere between “gutsy” and “downright fearless”.
But that was three years ago, in February of 2018. This Monday, January 11th, owner Jeff Lurie gave the announcement that the team was moving in a new direction, a journey which wouldn’t include Pederson. Based on Lurie’s explanation of the decision, it seems likely that the split was at least somewhat mutual. Lurie stated “Coach Pederson and I had the opportunity to sit down and discuss what the collective vision would look like moving forward.”. Evidently, both sides had trouble compromising on a collective vision. Earlier this month, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network broke the news that Pederson “was sick of people in the organization telling him what to do.”. Well, no one from the Eagles’ front office will be making any demands from Pederson anymore.
Pederson’s success as Philadelphia’s head coach does extend beyond the team’s magical 2018 Super Bowl run. Across his four seasons he led the franchise to two NFC East crowns and three playoff appearances. His record as a head coach during his Philadelphia tenure sits at 46-39-1, and that winning percentage took a serious hit as a result of the team’s performance this past season.
Even considering the horrendous past season, most around the league thought that Pederson’s job was secure. Surely a coach that had so recently won it all would be granted a longer leash. This begs the possibility that Pederson’s decision to essentially throw the final game by substituting Nate Sudfeld for Jalen Hurts ultimately led to his dismissal. Fans may never know.
There is now another major off-season mystery for the Philadelphia Eagles. Not only is there little clarity on who will start at quarterback, but now a new head coach needs to be factored into the equation. Two possibilities that immediately come to mind are Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy and Chiefs QB’s coach Mike Kafka. Like Pederson, both of these minds hail from Andy Reid’s coaching tree.
Another possibility is that the Eagles front office looks to promote a coach from the college ranks. Tim McManus of ESPN reports that Eagles general manager Howie Roseman has a “strong relationship” with current Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley. Admittedly, I’ve never watched a second of Oklahoma football, but I’m steadfastly in favor of hiring Lincoln Riley because of the pun possibilities of Lincoln coaching at Lincoln. Please make this happen.