On the surface, and perhaps a good way beneath it as well, the two men could not be more different, or a less likely pairing to have led the Philadelphia Eagles to their first Super Bowl win.
"I've always said, 'It takes a village to win a championship,' " team owner Jeffrey Lurie said Sunday, borrowing from the African proverb about the communal raising of a child.
He waited long enough for the Eagles to mature into a champion, nearly a quarter-century, through coaching changes and various levels of front-office intrigues. That it was the combination of Doug Pederson and Howie Roseman in place when the confetti finally fell could scarcely have been predicted.
"They both have an awareness for what it takes to win big, and they both realize that it takes everybody to win big," Lurie said.
In some ways, despite their outward differences, Pederson and Roseman arrived at this point after humble entrances, a long way from the contract extensions announced Sunday that bind the Eagles to them, at least monetarily, for the next five seasons.
Pederson, of course, was the short-term placeholder at quarterback after Andy Reid drafted Donovan McNabb, and he drifted from team to team before starting as a high school coach after he retired as a player. When Reid brought Pederson back, it was as an offensive quality control coordinator, the lowest rung on the NFL coaching ladder.
Roseman came to the team as an intern, hired in 2000 to help with contract and salary cap issues. He rose up through the ranks of the football administration department, and eventually evolved into a player-personnel executive with greater influence over the scouting departments, the draft, and all aspects of building a roster. Except for his year of exile from power during Chip Kelly's reign of terror, Roseman's upward path was steady, but it was an extremely long climb from an internship.
But that's what it took, apparently. It took the high school coach and the intern. According to Lurie, the combination worked because both men realized they needed the other. He could have summoned up another proverb for that, "If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together."
"It's seamless and it's egoless," Lurie said as he announced the new contracts that run through 2022. "It's not about any one executive, one coach, one player, one anything in this league. It all has to come together."
>> READ MORE: Roseman, Pederson sign contract extensions
When it does, the trick is to keep it together, of course, and that's what Lurie has attempted to do with the contract extensions. Teams don't have winning cultures if they change cultures every couple of years. The Eagle had the benefit of coaching continuity with Reid for 14 seasons, but the front office was more fluid. Tom Modrak was the first general manager, but Reid wanted personnel control and, for most of his time here, he had it.
Having a strong coach and a strong general manager in place at the same time is rare, but, as Lurie, said it is the best way to win – as long as they respect the borders of each other's kingdom. (Roseman's title is technically executive vice president of football operations.)
"They know to have the best coaching, you need to empower the coach. To have the best football operations, you need to empower the head of football operations," Lurie said.
Just this season, there are six new general managers in place in the NFL and seven new head coaches. Pederson is in just his third season as head coach of the Eagles, but only 15 of the 32 coaches in the league have been in their jobs longer. That's an incredible amount of turnover for a league in which every organization preaches the need for continuity, but few can win often enough to maintain it.
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The partnership between Pederson and Roseman required each to meet in the middle. It required the coach to accept the roster expertise of a player personnel executive who is not the classic "football guy," which is something Kelly could never get past. It required the player personnel executive to accept how the roster was being used by the coach, which isn't always a given.
Regardless of Lurie's contention, nothing at this level is ever truly "egoless." But at least from the outside, Pederson and Roseman appear satisfied to share the credit evenly and worry about what they can control within their own offices. Winning is a big help, naturally. Everyone has a happier outlook after a championship.
Every season won't end as wonderfully. Every offseason won't be as upbeat. Somewhere down the road, the partnership will be broken. They always are. For the moment, however, the Eagles not only have it going, but they have it going with the high school coach and the intern at the front of the parade. That's quite a village.