Doug Pederson: February football is the new expectation

Nick Fierro
Contact ReporterOf The Morning Call

Just a little more than two years after being hired to replace the man who tried for three years to effect a culture change, Doug Pederson talked about getting it done in just two.

The coach of the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles at his season-ending press conference made it clear on Wednesday that the Super Bowl is where the bar will be set every year.

“I can’t tell you what the 2018 team is going to look like because, as you know, free agency is a big part of that,” Pederson said. “And the draft. People come and go. So 2018 will be a lot different, but I think the messaging can be very consistent and stay along those same lines.”

As far as that messaging goes, Pederson once again was able to pull from his past some lessons from his playing days, when he was a member of back-to-back Super Bowl squads in Green Bay.

“There’s a side of success that's not the glamorous side,” he said, “and it’s the side that [includes] who is going to hold out in OTAs? Who is going to want the next big contract? Who is going to miss this or that for an endorsement deal or an autograph signing? It's the not-so-glamorous side of success. That was a little bit of the messaging this morning to the guys.

“I told them, I said, `You know, if you want, get used to this. This is the new norm in Philadelphia, playing and hopefully playing into February every year. It's the new norm, so get used to it. Short offseasons and let’s do that.’ The guys that want to be a part of that just will do that. They will want to be here. I think everybody does want to be here.

“But as you know, the nature of the business is you can’t keep everybody. It’s just the way it goes. But the ones that are here, you know, my mindset is to be back again, to do it again and to keep doing it and to keep doing it.”

Pederson has done everything Chip Kelly, hired in 2013, could not by being able to relate to his players better and ironically being the aggressive play-caller Kelly was supposed to be but never was.

Whereas Kelly turned out to be one of the more conservative thinkers in the game on fourth down, Pederson led the NFL in fourth-down attempts and conversions.

They were 2-for-2 on fourth downs in their stunning 41-33 Super Bowl triumph over New England.

The first was a play that already has gone down as the favorite and perhaps most pivotal in the history of the franchise: The Philly Special, which involved Foles catching a TD pass instead of throwing one.

Naturally, Pederson was asked about it again on Wednesday, when he said there was no confusion about the name, even though quarterback Nick Foles referred to it as “Philly Philly” when they talked about it during a timeout preceding the play.

“We knew exactly what we were talking about,” Pederson said. “Listen, Philly-Philly, Dilly-Dilly, Philly Special, it was all the same to us.”

The theory behind the simple name was simple: They didn’t want to cause any confusion.

“We kind of just all collaborated on that one offensively because if not, it was going to get real wordy,” the coach said. “So we just said, `You know what, let’s call it apples. No, you know what, let’s call it orange. No, Philly Special. So that's what we tagged it.”

Happy as the coach was on Wednesday, there was a part of him that was sad because of the finality a championship represents.

“Like I told them, this team is linked in NFL history and Philadelphia Eagles history forever,” Pederson said. “That will never be the same again. It will change as of, probably after the parade tomorrow, — everything, dynamics change. So just having that moment today with the guys and just kind of revisiting it is a pretty special thing.”


Position: Head coach, Philadelphia Eagles

College: Northeast Louisiana

Age: 50

On the job: two seasons

Record: 23-12, including 3-0 in the playoffs

Highlights: Super Bowl LII champion as coach and fourth person to win Super Bowl as player and head coach

Twitter @nickfierro


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