Why Jeffrey Lurie is a Hall of Famer, a Kenny Gainwell stat that’s hard to believe and the Hall of Fame chances of two Eagles defensive tackles.
It’s a Wednesday edition of Roob’s Daily Random Eagles Super Bowl Observations and it’s free!
1. He hired Andy Reid. He hired Doug Pederson. He hired Nick Sirianni. Jeff Lurie has the magic touch when it comes to hiring head coaches, and he’s now one of only two owners in NFL history to hire three Super Bowl head coaches. Reid, Pederson and Sirianni were all first-time head coaches on the college or NFL level, and all three were unknown or unheralded candidates that weren’t really on anyone else’s radar. That’s a remarkable achievement and speaks volumes about Lurie’s ability to judge character, to gauge a candidate’s potential, to determine exactly who’s best for the Eagles and the city. Reid took the Eagles to the Super Bowl in his sixth season and coaches the Chiefs against the Eagles Sunday in his fourth Super Bowl. Pederson, Reid’s first opening-day quarterback, delivered the Eagles’ first Super Bowl championship in 2017 and five years later here we are again with another second-year coach in the Big Game in his second year. The only head coaches Lurie has hired who didn’t reach Super Bowls – Ray Rhodes in 1995 and Chip Kelly in 2013 – were both Coach of the Year in their first season and won 10 games in each of their first two seasons. Al Davis is the only other owner in history to hire three Super Bowl coaches and he actually hired four during his 45 years as owner of the Raiders – John Rauch, John Madden, Tom Flores and Bill Callahan (who was Rhodes’ offensive line coach). Lurie is in rarified air along with Davis, a Hall of Famer and one of the most influential figures in football history. We need to look at Lurie the same way. In his 29 years leading the Eagles, he’s shaped a losing franchise for most of its first 62 years into a model organization, a consistent winner. There are 15 owners in the Hall of Fame. I don’t think there’s any question that one day Lurie will join them.
2. I think sometimes we forget just how good Miles Sanders is. He’s one of only six running backs in NFL history to rush for 3,500 yards with a 5.0 average in his first four seasons, along with Jim Brown, Nick Chubb, DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Taylor and Gale Sayers. Pretty darn good company.
3. Speaking of Sanders … Sanders and Jalen Hurts became only the second teammates in NFL history with 11 regular-season rushing touchdowns and the first in 62 years. Paul Hornung and Jim Taylor of the 1960 Packers also did it. If you include the playoffs, Hurts had 15 rushing TDs this year and Sanders had 13. Those are the second- and third-highest totals in franchise history. LeSean McCoy ran for 17 TDs in 2011.
4. Dallas Goedert has at least five catches in his last four playoff games – seven vs. Seattle in the 2019 wild-card game, six in Tampa last year and five each vs. the Giants and 49ers. That’s tied for the second-longest streak of consecutive playoff games by a tight end with at least five catches. Travis Kelce, of course, goes into the Super Bowl with nine straight postseason games with at least five catches. Kelce and Goedert were 1-2 in the NFL this year in yards per game among tight ends, Kelce with 79 yards and Goedert with 59. There’s never been a Super Bowl where both tight ends had 70 yards. Could happen Sunday.
5. Here’s a comparison of DeVonta Smith and Jordan Matthews after their first 34 career games. I never would have dreamed their numbers would be so similar:
Smith: 159 catches, 2,112 yards, 12 TDs, 100 first downs, 13.3 yards per catch.
Matthews: 165 catches, 2,054 yards, 17 TDs, 98 first downs, 12.4 yards per catch.
6. There have been two fourth-quarter field goals of at least 42 yards in the last 20 Super Bowls. Jake Elliott kicked both. The only other fourth-quarter field goals in Super Bowl history: Norm Johnson’s 46-yarder for the Steelers against the Cowboys in 1995, Al Del Greco’s 43-yarder for the Titans vs. the Rams in 1999 and Adam Vinatieri’s 48-yarder for the Patriots against the Rams in 2001.
7. The Eagles have faced 45 pass plays in their first two playoff games this year and they have 21 pressures on those 45 plays. That means they’ve been credited with a pressure on 47 percent of opposing pass attempts. The league average this year not including the Eagles is 22 percent.
8. Crazy, but there’s a chance the Eagles have two future Hall of Fame defensive tackles on the roster now. Fletcher Cox is a six-time Pro Bowler, a Super Bowl seeking another and a one-time all-pro. Ndamukong Suh is a five-time Pro Bowler, three-time all-pro and going after his second Super Bowl championship as well. Pro Football Reference’s Hall of Fame Monitor analyzes a number of criteria including championships, Pro Bowls, all-pro honors and statistical plateaus the Hall of Fame voters use and assigns each player a rating based on those values so we can compare active players to current Hall of Famers at the same position to determine their Hall of Fame chances. The average Hall of Fame defensive tackle has a rating of 110, and their ratings range from 51.95 for Curly Culp to 159.35 for Bob Lilly. The highest non-Hall of Famers are currently Aaron Donald (146.25, 2nd-highest all-time among defensive tackles), Kevin Williams (105.03, 9th-highest), Suh (84.58, 12th-highest) and Cox (76.98, 14th-highest). There are currently only two DTs with five Pro Bowls, two championships and one all-pro honor – Vince Wilfork, who’s not a Hall of Famer, and Joe Greene, who is. If the Eagles win Sunday, Suh and Cox will join that very small group. Neither is a lock right now, but a second championship will greatly help their chances.
9. Kenny Gainwell is 23, he’s started one game in his career, he’s a fifth-round pick in his second season, he’s rushed for more than 39 yards twice in his career in the regular season yet he’s already in the Eagles’ all-time top-10 in postseason rushing. Gainwell’s 166 yards rank 10th but not far behind Jay Ajayi (184 yards), Randall Cunningham (206) and Heath Sherman (214).
10. The longest touchdown pass in college football in 2016 was a 98-yarder from Florida quarterback Austin Appleby to Tyrie Cleveland against LSU. It’s the second-longest TD pass in Florida history (Cris Collinsworth threw a 99-yarder to Derrick Gaffney against Rice in 1977) and the Gators’ longest TD pass ever against an SEC opponent. And it’s the longest pass ever against LSU at Tiger Stadium. Whatever happened to Tyrie Cleveland? He’s now on the Eagles’ practice squad.