Well, that was a mess. When Jeff Lurie fired Chip Kelly before the final game of the season, he said part of the reason was to give the Eagles a “jump start” on hiring the next head coach. It took them 16 days to come up with Doug Pederson. Can you imagine how absurd the search would have gotten if they didn’t have that jump start?
Before we get to how they ended up stuck with Doug Pederson, let’s discuss Doug Pederson. For someone who still worships at the alter of Andy Reid, it’s not hard to imagine Lurie talking himself into one of Reid’s disciples. But even so, there weren’t a lot of people lining up to praise the good work of Pederson and hire him away from Kansas City. In fact, the list of teams looking to land Pederson was really short. It had only one name.
Just to be sure that no other teams had secretly interviewed Pederson or even thought about maybe/possibly considering him, I checked with a tapped-in football reporter friend of mine who’s been all over this story. Hey football friend, did anyone else consider interviewing Pederson? Football friend responded by laughing for a while. A long while. Then he said Springfield High. Then he added Salesianum, but for special teams. He wanted to make sure I spelled Salesianum right.
The Eagles are always good for an accidental laugh, but the unintentional comedy component to this search was significant even for them. So, yeah, Pederson is the guy. And when they hold the press conference, Lurie will swear Pederson was the guy they wanted all along (though he won’t be able to explain why they needed that jump start to get a guy no one else was after). But it sure didn’t look like they wanted Pederson to be the guy until they ended up with Pederson. In fact, it looked like they wanted a bunch of other guys to be the guy, but those guys turned them down. Sad face.
Thursday morning began with a report that the Eagles had “turned their attention” to former Giants head coach Tom Coughlin. He’s 69. He just got pushed out of New York. He had a losing record in three of his last four seasons. And he missed the playoffs each of the last four years. But at least the Eagles figured out they wanted him. The problem? The soon-to-be septuagenarian didn’t want them and withdrew his name from consideration.
Ouch. Getting snubbed by an older coach with few options at the end of his career has to hurt, but it wasn’t the only insult the Eagles absorbed in this process. Former Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase was the hot name league-wide when the search started. The Eagles brought him in. They reportedly liked him. He liked them less and signed with the Dolphins.
That’s two potential paramours who refused the Eagles’ courtship. Three if you believe the narrative in New York right now. The New York Daily News theorized that the Eagles wanted Ben McAdoo and the Giants “screwed the Eagles” by hiring him instead. CSN’s Derrick Gunn also said this week that the Eagles had “a lot of interest” in McAdoo.
Making matters worse (or funnier, depending on your perspective and your level of cynicism), not long after the Coughlin kerfuffle on Thursday, the 49ers hired He Who Shall Not Be Mentioned At The NovaCare Complex. Kelly, who had an absolute disaster of a year on just about every front from coaching to personnel decisions to how people perceive him, got a new job with the 49ers. Twitter had a good time with that. Philly Twitter is at its best at times when our teams are dysfunctional (and malfunction).
About that: Before the news about Pederson came down, word leaked that Ken Flajole accepted a job with the Eagles. He previously coached with Reid in Green Bay and Pat Shurmur in St. Louis, but the timing was so very Eagles. To interested observers and fans, it seemed like they hired an assistant before a head coach. The Eagles didn’t just botch the head coaching search, they botched how the information on that search was disseminated, which skewed the attendant public reaction.
When Pederson was ultimately revealed as the new head coach, Philly Twitter had a good time with that, too. If it’s true that you have to laugh to keep from crying, at least we have the Eagles to provide all these punchlines.