Eagles

Eagles

Avonte Maddox is a fourth-round rookie starting at a position he has never played before after already learning another position he had never played before. 

Apparently, that wasn’t enough pressure on the 22-year-old. 

Because last Thursday, the Eagles made him their sixth rotating captain for the Giants game. Based on the way the Eagles have worked it this year, that meant Maddox was responsible for calling “Heads” or “Tails” before the game when the referee flipped the coin at midfield of MetLife Stadium. 

Maddox knew the Eagles hadn’t lost a coin toss all year. 

“There was a bit of pressure on me,” Maddox said. “That’s why I went with tails never fails.”

Maddox called tails. It didn’t fail. The Eagles won the coin toss and elected to defer possession to the second half. That’s exactly what has happened every week so far this season.

The Eagles have won every coin toss through the first six weeks of the season, including the coin toss before overtime of the Titans game. That means they’re 7 for 7 on coin tosses this year.

The chances of going 7 for 7 on coin flips? Just 0.78 percent. 

Visiting teams in the NFL are the ones who call the coin flips, so the Eagles have had that honor in three of their six games so far this year. In addition to captains Carson Wentz, Jason Kelce, Malcolm Jenkins, Fletcher Cox and Kamu Grugier-Hill, the Eagles have a rotating sixth captain join them for the coin flip each week. 

 

In Week 6, Maddox called tails on the road against the Giants. 

In Week 2, in his childhood town of Tampa, Nelson Agholor also called tails for the same reason as Maddox.

“Tails never fails,” he said. 

But tails did fail in Week 4 in Nashville. Second-year defensive end Derek Barnett was the rotating captain that day in his home state of Tennessee. He called heads twice; before the opening kickoff and before the overtime. 

“It was the first thing that was in my mind that day,” Barnett said. 

Kelce didn’t know whose idea it was for the rotating captain to make the calls, but it’s been working, so they’re not going to change it anytime soon. 

A lot has been made of the Eagles’ struggles on offense to start games, particularly in the first quarter. But Kelce pointed out they haven’t been on the field as much in first quarters. He made sure to say they haven’t performed as well as they want early, but they haven’t had as many possessions in first quarters either. 

But there’s a method to the madness when it comes to deferring. 

“I think it’s more about the number of touches, possessions the offense can get,” Doug Pederson said. “When you study it and look at it, if I can gain one more possession in the first half like we did last week — we actually got two, to get one, kick a field goal and then come out in the second half, go down and score — that’s kind of the object. That’s what you’re trying to do. If you can give your offense another touch or two, especially at the end of the half, that’s what we want.”

Even before their 7 for 7 streak this regular season, the Eagles won the coin toss in the last two weeks of the preseason. That means they’ve won every coin toss in the last eight games they’ve played. The chances of winning nine coin flips in a row are 0.195 percent. But going 7 for 7 to start the regular season is remarkable enough. 

The last time the lucky Eagles lost a meaningful coin toss? Super Bowl LII. 

Go figure.

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