BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — The Doug Pederson story is one of constantly defying the odds, one of forever proving people wrong, one of proving yourself over and over and over.
The ultimate challenge comes Sunday.
"As a player, I was a career backup," Pederson said. "That's who I was. That was my role. I embraced that role. I had a chance to start, but ultimately my place was to be the backup and support the starter.
"As a coach, I’m sure there was doubt. There was skepticism. Call it whatever it is, 'First-time head coach, what does he know about running a team?' Hopefully, I’ve proven people wrong.”
Yeah, about that … 13-3 and a berth in the Super Bowl without his starting quarterback in his second year would qualify as proving doubters wrong.
Pederson, who had never been a head coach on any level above high school before two years ago this month, spoke at length recently about his coaching style and why he thinks it's been so successful so fast.
"Fourteen years being in the locker room, understanding the players," he said. "Understanding that dynamic. The diversity in that locker room. That is important for me. To know what goes on down there. How these guys interact.
"Being a player for 14 years, you come across a lot of things. For me now, being able to relate to them and you hear all the time he is a players coach or whatever that may be — I think you have to listen to your guys. I think in today’s game, communication is big with me. Making sure our guys understand where I am coming from.
"Plus, I understand what they are coming from. That's why I did a player committee of veteran players, so we can communicate back and forth. I think that is probably the biggest reason for the buy in."
Pederson spent 14 years bouncing around the NFL as an undrafted free agent, so he's the ultimate underdog.
He's genuine, honest, down to Earth. That's why he works so well in Philly.
And he totally gets why what's happening right now is so special to the long-suffering Eagles fans of Philly, not to mention Williamstown, Burlington, Langhorne, Norristown, Ridley Park and all points in between.
"There's a part of me that, this underdog mentality, sort of you can't do something mentality, you know? That's kind of the city of Philly," he said.
"They say you can't do something, you rise up and do something amazing. That's kind of who I am. I've always been sort of one of those jack-of-all-trade athletes. Good at everything, but master of none. That's who I am. That's been my career.
"To come back to a city that sort of embraces that role a little bit and to rise up and lead a group of guys that have had a lot of adversity thrown in their face, that's kind of what draws you to this."
It's been fun to watch this football team, this collection of 28 guys who were on the 2016 team and 25 new additions, not just come together as a cohesive unit but develop the exact same underdog mentality as their coach has developed since he was backing up Reggie Slack with the New York/New Jersey Knights of the World League in the spring of 1992.
“I think the longer that a person is somewhere, and for me, this is year two, the team starts taking on the personality of the head coach and you hear the same things coming out of their mouths as (I say)," Pederson said.
"That’s where you start seeing that team take on that personality. Thats kind of what you want to see as a head coach.”
Dick Vermeil led the Eagles to the Super Bowl in 1980, his fifth year as head coach. Andy Reid led the Eagles to the Super Bowl in 2004, his sixth year.
Pederson has them there in year two with a young franchise quarterback and a remarkable amount of talent on both sides of the football in place.
This team isn't going away, and neither is Pederson.
At least, not for a while.
"Am I going to get fired one day? Yeah, probably," he said. "That's the reality. There's two types of coaches: hired and fired. You're either one or the other. You're either looking for a job or you're not.
"I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing, what I believe in, what I think is right. Do I need help along the way? Yeah. I'm not the only one in this hunt, either. I've got a great supporting staff, great owner, Howie (Roseman), Joe (Douglas)."
"We're all pulling the cart the same way, the same direction. That's the positive. That's what we have going for us."