Eagles' unlikely road to Super Bowl 2018: The culture change

Doug Pederson, shown here with confetti raining down shortly after winning the NFC Championship, is the third coach to lead the Eagles to a Super Bowl. Will he be the first to win?

Second in a series of six critical developments that have the Eagles on the verge of ending a 57-year championship drought.

Part II: Hiring Doug Pederson

Jeffrey Lurie had talked about how he had allowed control of his franchise to get away from him during the Chip Kelly years. Like letting your 14-year-old drive just because he looks 16.

That wasn’t going to happen again. When Lurie abruptly fired Kelly toward the end of the 2015 season, the owner didn’t know who would replace him. But he did know what he wanted.

“We’re looking for someone who interacts very well and communicates clearly with everybody he works with and comes in touch with,” Lurie said upon firing Kelly. “You’ve got to open your heart to players and everybody you want to achieve peak performance. I would call it a style of leadership that values information from all the resources provided, but at the same time values emotional intelligence.”

Camera icon Clem Murray / Staff
New Eagles coach Doug Pederson (right) listens as owner Jeffrey Lurie answers a question from the media at the NovaCare Complex Jan. 19, 2016.

‘Emotional Intelligence’


Do you believe Tom Brady’s assertion that the Eagles are not underdogs?

Lurie longed for someone mature enough to steer the franchise and to be accountable when there was a fender bender. After watching the Giants win two Super Bowls during Tom Coughlin’s 12-year run, Lurie wanted stability. The players asked simply for someone who was “genuine.”

In the end, Lurie turned to Doug Pederson, a former backup NFL quarterback who had been Andy Reid’s offensive coordinator in Kansas City who was hired just after the Chiefs were eliminated from the postseason. Pederson played for four teams, including the Eagles.

“I understand the culture and the passion of Philadelphia,” Pederson said. “I get it. I experienced that as a quarterback in 1999. I experienced that firsthand. And now coming back, I understand what it feels like to win in this city. This city hasn’t won, and this organization hasn’t won in quite some time. It’s my job to turn that around.”

Camera icon Yong Kim / Staff
Doug Pederson, shown here about to drop the ceremonial first puck on Jan. 25, knew very well what he was getting into when he became Eagles coach.

Pederson, who had helped groom rookie Donovan McNabb in 1999, played for Reid, Mike Holmgren and Don Shula among others. His first steps were bringing on Frank Reich as offensive coordinator and Jim Schwartz to run the defense.

Next up was what to do at quarterback, where Sam Bradford had just finished the 2015 season with eight TD passes and wins in three of the final five. Retaining him would require a new contract or the dreaded franchise tag.

“[Sam] is a top-notch quarterback,” Pederson said. “Look at what he did in the last half of the season, the numbers that he was able to put up. I feel he’s a quarterback who would fit perfectly into the system that I’m going to bring.”

Then, he and Howie Roseman saw the quarterback of the future.

Eagles top coaching candidates/January, 2016

  Became …  Today … 
Doug Pederson Eagles head coach Coaching in SB 52
Ben McAdoo Giants head coach Unemployed
Adam Gase Dolphins head coach Dolphins head coach
Tom Coughlin Jaguars executive Jaguars executive
Duce Staley Remained Eagles asst. Eagles assistant
Pat Shurmur Vikings assistant Giants head coach

Up next: Drafting Carson Wentz

The Chip Kelly disaster | Hiring Doug Pederson | Drafting Carson Wentz | Trading Sam Bradford Core group improving | Howie’s 2017 offseason


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