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14 Days’ Until Kickoff

25 August 2019 Uncategorized

The countdown continues Eagles fans. In honor of 14 days’ until kickoff, I am pleased to serve up one of the most beloved Eagle of all time, quarterback and now head coach, Doug Pederson. Dougie Fresh’s career as an Eagle is a story in its own, but the hardships make the victory that much sweeter. From counted out when hired to counted on to make the most pivotal play calls in the biggest game of his life, Coach came through for the city of Philadelphia and the millions of fans around the world watching Super Bowl LII.

Coach Pederson was born in Bellingham, Washington, in 1968. He went to Ferndale High School in nearby Ferndale, Washington, and was an All-State selection in football, basketball, and baseball. Absolute stud. His aspirations for the NFL continued as he attended Northeast Louisiana University, where he was quarterback from 1987 through 1990. Post collge, Pederson originally signed as a rookie free agent by the Miami Dolphins on May 1, 1991. Unfortunately, he was waived. He would spend his 1991 season as a free agent. In 1992, the New York/New Jersey Knights of the World League of American Football (WLAF)  drafted him in the fifth round for the first pool of draft-eligible players on February 4, 1992. At the conclusion of that season, he was re-signed by the Dolphins on June 2, 1992. Again, Doug would be cut from the Miami Dolphins. In 1993, Doug was in camp again after spending last season on the practice squad. This time, for the man who was just looking for an opportunity, things would be different.

At the midway point of the 1993 season, star QB Dan Marino, ruptured his achilles which pushed Doug to the back up QB position behind Scott Mitchell. However, destiny calls for all of us eventually and Doug made his debut on October 24, 1993, against the Indianapolis Colts. In week 11 action, Doug’s number was called again after Mitchell suffered a separated shoulder. An excited but nervous Doug entered in the 3rd quarter of the game and went 3 for 6 for 34 yards, and completed several crucial 3rd downs. The Dolphins came away with a Doug Pederson led victory and what would be hall of fame head coach Don Shula‘s NFL-record 325th victory against… you guessed it, the Philadelphia Eagles. Pederson would spend the 1995-1998 seasons with the Green Bay Packers. He received a Super Bowl ring following the Packers’ win over the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI. In 1999, Doug finally arrived in Philadelphia.

In 1999, Pederson signed a three-year, $4.5 million contract with the Philadelphia Eagles to become the team’s starting quarterback under new head coach Andy Reid. Andy was Pederson’s quarterbacks coach in Green Bay from 1997 to 1998 and wanted a vet like Doug to steer the ship until rookie first round pick, Donovan McNabb was ready to take over. After a rough start to the season, Doug was benched for McNabb in week 9. Pederson was released at the end of the year. In 2000, Doug played for the Browns and then was released at the end of the year. Eventually, Doug found his way back to Green Bay where he spent the rest of his career before retiring in March 2005 to become a head coach at Calvary Baptist Academy.

As head coach at Calvary for four years, Pederson held a 33–7 record in the regular season and an 8–3 record in the post-season. The Cavaliers were in the state playoffs all four years with Pederson as head coach. The young coach was a natural and the NFL took notice. On January 29, 2009, Pederson was hired as the offensive quality control coach for the Philadelphia Eagles. On February 8, 2011, Doug replaced James Urban as the quarterbacks coach, who was promoted to assistant offensive coordinator. After Reid’s departure, Pederson followed Andy Reid to the Kansas City Chiefs to serve as offensive coordinator. While with the Chiefs, another Philadelphia legend found his was back to Andy Reid. Super Bowl LII MVP, quarterback Nick Foles. After momentarily retiring in the summer of 2016, by the grace of Andy Reid and his brother in law, Nick was re-inspired to put the pads on for one more training camp. Coach Reid embraced Nick and he fell back in love with the game.

Back in Philadelphia, Doug supplanted that smoothie loving psycho Chip Kelly and became the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles for the 2016 season. The move was highly criticized but owner Jeffery Lurie knew that Doug was his guy. In a roller coaster first year which included a franchise changing trade for the rights for the second overall pick which became Carson Wentz, Doug and the squad dealt with plenty of ups and downs. However, they were confident heading into the off season and 2017 that they were on the cusp of something special. After the addition of several key free agents including Alshon Jefferey, Patrick Robinson, Chris Long, LeGarrette Blount, Torrey Smith, Stefen Wisniewski, and Nick Foles and then key draft picks in Derek Barnett, Mack Hollins, and then undrafted FA Corey Clement, Doug had his team.

In 2017, Doug designed an offense geared to his players strengths. More importantly, Doug listened to his players. After suffering a close loss to the Chiefs in week two where quarterback Carson Wentz threw 46 passes, the captains of the team confronted Doug about the lack of running game. In week three and four against the Giants and then the  Chargers, the Eagles rushed for 193 yards against the Giants and 214 against the Chargers after rushing for only 165 yards in weeks one and two combined. The Eagles offense average 28.6 points per game (ranked 3rd out of 32) and the defense allowed 18.4 points per game (ranked 4th out of 32). However, the Eagles faced injury after injury and eventually, in what would have been an MVP season, quarterback Carson Wentz tore his ACL.

Instead of scrambling, Doug rallied the troops and rallied behind Nick Foles. In the final regular season games, Doug and OC Frank Reich created an offensive scheme that was tailored to Foles’ strengths. Nick thrived with this new offense. After a close game against the Falcons, Nick shelled the Vikings on the field as the Philly faithful gave the opposing fans a warm welcome after they decided to deface the Rocky statue and play patty cake on the Art Museum Stairs. Doug and Nick orchestrated one of the greatest upsets ever in a victory over the New England Patriots. The most iconic moment in that game came at the end of the second quarter on fourth and goal. Nick came over to Doug and spoke the iconic words, “you want Philly Philly?” Doug looked at Nick and saw that his guy was ready for the moment. The rest is history and Doug brought Philly its first Super Bowl.

In 2018, Doug again had to navigate a season full of injuries and nearly brought us back to the NFC Championship. Now Doug is hungrier than ever and his team is locked and loaded for a huge year. With his quarterback healthy and ready to roll with a full arsenal of elite weapons and a top ranked line in front of him, Doug is ready to score 30+ every week. Doug’s personality comes from his journey. Doug embraced Nick because Doug was a guy who knew how it felt to lose your love of the game and lost interest after being passed around. Now Doug has brought in Josh McCown to bring some wisdom and priceless knowledge to his team and specifically Carson. In 14 days’ we will watch Doug lead the 2019 squad out of the tunnel at Lincoln Financial Field to kick off the season. Doug will be treating our boys to ice cream early and often. The locker room chemistry is unreal right now and the potential on both sides of the ball is endless. As Always, Fly Eagles Fly!

Photo Credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images