Back away from the ledge, Eagles fans.
It really might not be that bad.
Based on the mentions that came flooding into my Twitter account early Thursday evening in the wake of the big news breaking, it seems you guys aren’t too happy about your favorite team’s decision to hire Doug Pederson as the next head coach.
And I get it.
I really do.
Pederson isn’t exactly the sexiest choice. OK, who am I kidding? He’s a zero on the sexy scale; he’s the absence of sexy. He’s the Plain Jane of NFL coaches, a guy who used the word “gosh” unironically just a day ago.
But by all accounts, he’s a pretty good coach, well-liked by his players, well-like by his fellow coaches. And he’s learned from some impressive people, including Don Shula, Mike Holmgren and former Eagles head coach Andy Reid.
If Eagles owner Jeff Lurie wanted to get back to the glory days under Reid, he’s taken a logical step by hiring someone Reid holds in high regard.
Remember, Reid thought enough of Pederson to bring him in as a player in 1999 to guide a young rookie named Donovan McNabb. He thought enough of Pederson to add him to the Eagles’ coaching staff in 2009 and eventually make him the quarterbacks coach. He thought enough of him to bring him to Kansas City, make him the offensive coordinator and hand over some of the play-calling duties.
And he thought enough of him to recently talk him up to Lurie.
That still means something. And you better believe Lurie was listening.
“I have full trust in turning the whole game over to Doug and letting him call it,” Reid said in a release from the Eagles, sent Sunday when they interviewed Pederson. “It's something I enjoy doing, but I have trust in him doing it, and that's a comfortable feeling.”
I’m not saying Pederson will be a good head coach. I don’t know that.
All I’m saying is that no one really knows if he’ll be a good head coach or not. We won’t know for another couple years at the earliest.
Sure, it’s a little concerning, the appearance that the Eagles were more interested in some other candidates and lost out. But their losing out on those candidates says more about the shortcoming of the team’s dysfunctional front office than it does of Pederson.
Adam Gase and Ben McAdoo emerged as two very sexy names. They’re two much younger coordinators (37 and 38, respectively) who had talk radio shows abuzz over the last couple weeks. But how do we know Gase or McAdoo will be more successful than Pederson?
They all have the exact same level of NFL head coaching experience. Pederson, 47, has logged 19 years in the league as a player and a coach. And he has been coaching in the NFL for seven years, the same amount of time Reid had coached in the league before the Eagles hired him. That worked out pretty well.
Another thing Pederson clearly has working against him in the eyes of Philadelphia public perception is 1999. That was the year he began the season as the Eagles’ starter and played the quarterback position about as badly as anyone ever has in an Eagles uniform.
That stink is tough to get out.
But it’s important to remember that Pederson wasn’t brought to Philadelphia in 1999 to be the team’s franchise quarterback. He was a stop-gap and a mentor to McNabb, who went on to be arguably the best QB in team history.
Really, though, even if Pederson had been a great quarterback for the Eagles, it shouldn’t matter. Either way, it wouldn’t mean he’d be a good or a bad head coach.
The Eagles can’t officially hire Pederson until the Chiefs are knocked out of the playoffs, which could come as early as this weekend. So if the news is hard to digest, you’ll have at least a few days before the official announcement.
But as soon as the Chiefs fall, Doug Pederson will be named as the next Eagles head coach.
And it might not be that bad.