Doug Pederson's Fall From Grace Was Shockingly Swift and Now the Eagles Are at a Crossroads
By Liam McKeone
It was less than three years ago that Doug Pederson was considered a hero in the city of Philadelphia. He, along with Nick Foles, engineered a Super Bowl-winning gameplan to beat the dreaded New England Patriots and brought the Eagles their first-ever championship ring. It seemed in the moment that, if Pederson desired, he would never have to find another job in the NFL.
Most of that feeling can be attributed to the high that comes from a victory of that magnitude. But it was as impressive a coaching job fans will ever see in a Super Bowl win. It isn't a stretch to say that perhaps no other coach in the league that year could have done what Pederson did, riding his backup quarterback to a win in the biggest game of the year over the most dominant dynasty in NFL history.
Forever is always shorter than we think, though. Pederson's ride with the Eagles came to an end on Monday, one week after Philadelphia lost the final game of their season to fall to 4-11-1.
Pederson leaves behind a dumpster fire of epic proportions in Philadelphia. Carson Wentz' play tumbled off a cliff and Pederson had no choice but to bench him for second-round pick Jalen Hurts. Wentz was predictably displeased about this turn of events. Pederson himself came under fire from outside and within the team after he chose to bench Hurts in Week 17 when the Eagles were only down a score in order to "evaluate" Nate Sudfeld, who had previously played three times in three years.
Apparently it was all too much for both parties. The PR war has already begun as Ian Rapoport tweeted out minutes after the news above that Pederson was just "sick of people telling him what to do." Aren't we all, Doug?
As recently as last year, it seemed like the Eagles had a winning combination and would be contenders for the foreseeable future. Wentz had justified his gargantuan contract with his play and Pederson had proven his worth as a play-caller and coach. But what a difference a bad season makes.
What are the Eagles going to do now? Trading Wentz is essentially impossible this offseason. Hurts gave the team a better chance to win this past season and it's hard to see that changing unless Wentz completely turns it around. There's no money available to improve the team in any substantial way. Simply put, whoever decides to replace Pederson has quite a task in front of them.
Pederson's fall is still stunning. It feels unfathomable. The Eagles disappointed this year, sure, but Pederson didn't force Wentz to lead the league in turnovers. At the very least, you'd think Pederson had earned some wiggle room. But it seems like he and the team felt like it was time to move on, a marriage cut short far sooner than anyone thought it would.
Life moves fast. Pederson will still forever be a folk hero in Philly, but never again a coach. And the Eagles will embark upon a fast rebuild without the man who brought them to heights they'd never before reached in the first place.