Doug Pederson reveling in afterglow of championship

Doug Pederson reveling in afterglow of championship

ORLANDO, Fla. — It seemed like Doug Pederson couldn’t turn in any direction this week at the lavish Ritz-Carlton Orlando without being greeted with a verbal pat on the back.

It was a tough climb to the top; you’ll forgive him if he enjoys the view.

“It’s freaking awesome!” Pederson said Monday night, amid a sea of more congratulations during the reception for the NFL’s annual league meetings. 

The Eagles head coach is certainly enjoying the afterglow of the first Super Bowl championship in franchise history and all the praise that comes along with it.

While Pederson and the rest of his coaches have already moved on, logging hours in the facility daily during the offseason, there are near-constant reminders of the success from 2017 — whether it be dozens of fans wearing Super Bowl gear on flights from Philadelphia to Central Florida or the constant flow of congratulatory messages coming from the NFL hierarchy.

“It’s something that’s a little bit surreal,” Pederson said. “You’re walking amongst all your peers, you got all the owners and GMs and head coaches and presidents and everybody. When you’re outside of NovaCare, outside the building, that’s what makes it real special, what you’ve accomplished, and how hard it is to get there and win that football game. I appreciate everything that got us here, obviously, and to be congratulated, it’s pretty cool.”

This is Pederson’s third time at the NFL’s owners meetings and it’s a decidedly different experience being the only head coach in attendance who ended last season with a win.

Well, almost the only one.

Former Eagles offensive coordinator and new Colts head coach Frank Reich is enjoying the spoils of victory too.

“It’s been really neat,” Reich said. “That’s one of the cool things in this profession. It’s a close-knit profession. Guys know the ups and downs of this profession, and there are ups and downs. And so when you have a good streak and when things go right, I think the guys in this profession appreciate and know what that feels like. That’s been encouraging.”

Last year, when the event was held in Phoenix, Pederson’s Eagles were coming off a 7-9 campaign that landed them in the basement of the NFC East and his coaching counterparts weren’t very complimentary at all. What a difference a year makes.

Pederson said he didn’t grab any sort of souvenir from Super Bowl LII in Minnesota. He didn’t get a football, didn’t take anything out of the locker room. He does have one of those blue Super Bowl LII helmets and he’s thinking of maybe getting a replica Lombardi Trophy made for his house. If nothing else, he’s going to get a championship ring. 

Of all the texts and calls of congratulations Pederson has received over the last few months, one stood out. On Feb. 24, Moorestown, New Jersey, held “Coach Doug Pederson Day,” a “pretty special” honor for one of its most famous residents. Pederson estimates about 800 Eagles fans showed up at the Moorestown Community House on that Saturday.

Since the confetti rained at U.S. Bank Stadium, Pederson has watched a replay of the game. Even though he obviously knew the outcome, Pederson couldn’t help but tense up.

“I was nervous,” he said.

He didn’t need to be, of course. The Eagles won the game. If Pederson needs a reminder, he won’t go long before someone pats him on the back again.

Eagle Eye podcast: What Jason Peters move means for Andre Dillard, plus much more

Eagle Eye podcast: What Jason Peters move means for Andre Dillard, plus much more

On the latest Eagle Eye podcast, Reuben Frank and Barrett Brooks take a long look at the Eagles’ decision to bring back Jason Peters.

They get into what the move means for Andre Dillard, whether Peters will ultimately end up back at left tackle, how long J.P. might be able to extend his career if he stays at guard, how long it will take him to adjust to a new position and and much more. 

They also looked at defensive tackle and defensive end on the All-Time Eagles Team and whether Fletcher Cox or Jerome Brown is the greatest defensive tackle in Eagles history. 

(0:42) — Jason Peters back with the Eagles to play right guard

(27:18) — Jerome vs. Fletcher 

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Eagles fans won't be allowed at games this fall, health officials say

Eagles fans won't be allowed at games this fall, health officials say

Eagles fans should start coming to grips with watching games from their couch in 2020.

After the city of Philadelphia cancelled "large public events" through February 2021 on Tuesday, amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, health officials provided an update on the feasability of fans watching Eagles games in person.

Philadelphia Department of Health commissioner Thomas Farley and Philadelphia managing director Brian Abernathy made it sound all but certain that Lincoln Financial Field stands will be empty.

Per the Inquirer:

"I do think that games can be played with the kind of safety precautions that they're proposing. I do not think that they can have spectators at those games. There’s no way for them to be safe having a crowd there," Farley said. "I can't say what the plans are for the league, but from a safety perspective, they can play games but not [have] crowds."

"The Eagles are still going to be allowed to play, although without crowds. The Phillies will continue to be allowed to play, although without crowds," Managing Director Brian Abernathy said.

Abernathy said NFL guidelines also "remind teams that local authorities have the ability to ban fans, so I don't expect any issues."

"We have been in communication with the Eagles. We have told them our expectations are that they don't have fans," Albernathy said.

Whether other teams around the country will be able to host fans, based on differing guidance from state officials, remains to be seen. Earlier this month, reports emerged claiming the NFL is considering fan waivers for those interested in attending home games this season.

A season without home fans also means the Eagles stand to lose a sizable sum of money if the NFL plays its 17-week regular season as scheduled.

As NBC Sports Philadelphia's Dave Zangaro noted, the Eagles will be one of the 10 teams most affected (financially) by a lack of fans at home games:

The Eagles in 2018 were tied for eighth in the NFL with $204 million in stadium revenue. Just the Cowboys, Patriots, Giants, Texans, Jets 49ers and Redskins made more.

In late June, the organization informed season ticket holders that their ticket installment payments would not be billed, fueling speculation that games would be played in empty stadiums this fall. 

Barring a drastic change in the pandemic's trajectory between now and early September, it seems that speculation was right.

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