At the end of the 2017 season, Doug Pederson looked like one of the NFL’s best coaches.
After a season-ending injury to MVP candidate Carson Wentz, he took Nick Foles to a Super Bowl title. He outcoached Bill Belichick in that Super Bowl. He was a star, especially in Philadelphia.
Three seasons later, it has completely fallen apart for the Eagles.
Pederson is out as the Eagles’ head coach, the team confirmed via statement from team owner Jeffrey Lurie.
That’s the most surprising coaching-related news of the offseason.
The Eagles underachieved for the two seasons after the Super Bowl win, but rallied to make the playoffs each season. Philadelphia was awful in 2020 and missed the postseason. The Eagles were eliminated from the playoffs with a 37-17 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 16, which also ensured a double-digit loss season. The Eagles had a lot of injuries in 2020, but the regression for Wentz this season was a major issue.
It’s a surprising move because Super Bowl-winning coaches don’t often get let go a few years after bringing a title to the franchise. But not much went right for the Eagles or Pederson since that fantastic win over the Patriots, and the friction between Pederson and the Eagles became an ongoing story right after the season ended.
Pederson’s decisions in Week 17 were divisive. Pederson didn’t seem to want to play to win against the Washington Football Team, and inserted seldom-used quarterback Nate Sudfeld into the game in the fourth quarter. Some players reportedly did not agree with that decision. Pederson was widely criticized by NFL fans everywhere.
There was then a reported disagreement about Pederson’s plans for his assistants. Pederson wanted to promote assistants, most notably Press Taylor from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator, and Lurie was “underwhelmed” according to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
There were also some leaks that Wentz’s relationship with Pederson had soured. That could have led to the change at coach.
Pederson will be linked to the New York Jets’ head coach opening, given that Jets general manager Joe Douglas came from the Eagles’ organization. Candidates for the Eagles’ job will have to sort out what ownership wants in regards to Wentz’s future.
Pederson will always be remembered in Philadelphia for leading the franchise’s first Super Bowl win. It was shocking how quickly things fell apart after that.
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