The700Level

Dear New England, has it really been 13 years?

usat-patriots-fans.jpg
USA Today

Dear New England, has it really been 13 years?

Ah, New England. It is so good to see you again, after all these years. Have you been thinking about us? We’ve definitely been thinking about you.

Has it really been thirteen years? Sounds like things have been pretty crazy on your end. Your coach got caught cheating. Then your quarterback got caught cheating, too. Wow, even the baseball team in your city picked up the habit, huh? I guess we’re not the only city that trusts a process.... though that seems to mean something a little different to you guys. “The Patriot Way” sure doesn’t hold as much water as it did back in 2004.

Things have been pretty busy over here, too. We got away from ourselves for a little bit there, went through this whole ‘Chip Kelly’ phase. Though it wasn’t all bad; he did help us give you guys a whipping in Foxboro back in 2015. Malcolm Jenkins had a 99-yard pick-six in that one. You’ll get to see him again this Sunday, by the way.

We heard you ran into Andy Reid a few months back. He never changes, huh? Though he seems to have figured you guys out, handing you a 42-27 beating back in Week 1 at home. Oh, and also a 41-14 beating back in 2014. Our new head honcho, Doug Pederson; he’s picked up a thing or two from Big Red, though we tend to think he’s a little better in a couple areas.

Hows Terrell Owens, you ask? Awkward story, actually. He betrayed us, but don’t feel bad. We got the last laugh. Revenge like that is kind of a big theme for us here. You ever see Rocky II? It may be worth checking out.

Speaking of revenge, the Giants send their best. I don’t know what you see in them. We’ve beaten them 16 out of the last 20 times we faced them, including in the playoffs the year after they ruined your perfect season. Asante Samuel (who I’m sure you remember) was able to hold onto the ball that year. Oh and by the way, that masterful defensive gameplan that took away your 19-0 chances? That came from us. Jim Johnson sent his regards.

Anyway, we’re really looking forward to reconnecting on Sunday. We know it wasn’t a big inconvenience for you; having to go through the 9-7 Tennessee Titans and the Blake Bortles-led Jacksonville Jaguars. I’m not sure if you heard, but we’ve had a bit of a bumpier path. Not that we’re complaining; it’s just so good to see you again.

Because we read the ESPN piece, and we heard that Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia are abandoning ship. And while Tom Brady still looks pretty decent at age 40 (a hair transplant will do that), time is an undefeated opponent no matter how many cute Facebook videos your creepy trainer asks you to make. Whether you are ready to accept it or not, it’s pretty clear this crazy ride y’all have been on may be coming to an end, and soon.

That’s why we’re just so happy to be here with you, even if we’re starting a back-up quarterback, and a back-up left tackle, and a back-up middle linebacker, and a back-up kick returner. It was worth a year of listening to your boy Mike Lombardi talk smack about our head coach in some Machiavellian attempt to get his buddy a head coaching gig. Seriously, we’re so glad to have you here with us again, even if it means two whole weeks of having to listen to national media experts use the word “mystique” when talking about a 65-year-old man with a hoodie and a camcorder.

Because when this dynasty of yours does come to an end… and make no mistake, it will… we were always kinda hoping we’d get to be the ones to end it.

We’re looking forward to seeing you on Sunday, Patriots. It really has been too long.

Doug Pederson found out Eagles hired him through media reports

ap_doug_pederson_eagles.jpg
AP Images

Doug Pederson found out Eagles hired him through media reports

Remember when you heard Doug Pederson was going to become the Eagles’ head coach? 

That was probably before Doug Pederson found out he was going to become the Eagles’ head coach. 

Thanks to an excerpt from Pederson’s book, “Fearless” posted on SI.com, the Eagles’ Super Bowl-winning head coach revealed that he didn’t find out he had the job until a few reporters broke the news. 

He didn’t find out officially until days after:

A few days later, I called Jeannie from the office and she said, “I just heard the news!” I’m like, “What news?” She said, “Ian Rappaport and Adam Schefter are saying you’re going to be the next head coach of the Eagles. That’s awesome!” 

Officially, nobody told me anything, but I was excited anyway. Andy, after hearing the reports, came by to congratulate me. I hadn’t heard from Howie or Jeffrey though. We lost to New England that Saturday night. It was disappointing to lose in the divisional round of the playoffs after the season we had. When I was leaving Gillette Stadium some Philadelphia reporters were waiting for me, but I declined all interviews. 

On the bus to the airport my phone rang. It was a 215 area code. I didn’t recognize the number but I picked up and it was Jeffrey Lurie on the other end. He said he was sorry for the loss, but it was a great season. Then we talked about my interview, and he told me how impressed he was. He said he wanted to officially extend the offer to me to become head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. I was thinking, “Heck yeah! I’d love to accept the job.”

The whole excerpt is pretty interesting. Pederson admits to hearing rumors that he wasn’t the first choice for the job and even details the interview process he went through with Jeff Lurie and the Eagles’ front office. 

They even made him give a mock speech to the Eagles’ brass as if they were players in their first spring meeting with him as head coach. 

Fast-forward a couple years and Pederson is now extended through the 2022 season. He’s also a legend in Philly. 

More on the Eagles

Doug Pederson struck one final blow to Mike Lombardi

usat_dougpederson_mikelombardi.jpg
USA Today Images

Doug Pederson struck one final blow to Mike Lombardi

No NFL writer has eaten more crow in the last year than Mike Lombardi, who famously quipped Doug Pederson “might be less qualified to coach a team than anyone I’ve ever seen.” It was a foolish thing to say at the time, and clearly, the statement did not age well, seeing as Pederson guided the Eagles to a Super Bowl championship immediately after.

Well, Lombardi is the gift that keeps on giving. It wasn’t enough he had to eat those words and essentially admit that was probably the most profoundly stupid sentence a football person could string together. It turns out Pederson got one last chance to own Lombardi before his immortal line could fade into the background, taking its place along such whimsically remembered Philly sports quotes as “We’re talking about practice,” and “We can all count, those points would’ve helped.”

NBC Sports’ Peter King got a chance to preview Pederson’s new book, “Fearless: How an Underdog becomes a Champion” co-written by Dan Pompei. The book, which goes on sale Tuesday, Aug. 21, contains an interesting nugget about the coach’s behind-the-scenes dealings with Lombardi.

That got a ton of attention last year when Pederson was on the road to winning the Super Bowl. Pederson, in the book, says Lombardi wrote him a letter during the playoffs last season. “It was written on a typewriter, and was about three paragraphs long,” Pederson writes. “The letter said, ‘The first rule of any informed opinion is to never began with the end in mind. And I violated that rule. For that, I extend my sincere apology.’ I was appreciative, and at least it showed he was man enough to admit he was wrong.”

Then this: “After the Super Bowl, the possibility of writing this book came up. One of the interested companies thought Lombardi would be a great co-author and submitted an offer. I said, respectfully, ‘No thanks.’”

And now you know the rest of the story.

Maybe it shouldn’t surprise in 2018, but to think somebody got the idea that Lombardi should be the person to help tell Pederson’s story, and actually had the audacity to ask Pederson this is crazy. Lombardi said about the most disrespectful thing possible about another man’s career, his livelihood — and most importantly, was completely, 100 percent wrong — but, sure, let’s check with Pederson and see how he feels about this.

You might even say Lombardi was probably the least qualified person for the job.

Lombardi did go on to write a book, by the way. While it’s not an autobiography, nor does the title refer to the author, does anybody else find a smidgen of irony in the book’s title, “Gridiron Genius?”

More on the Eagles