For a team that has embraced the underdog role, it’s fitting that the Eagles are led by Doug Pederson. While his team is relatively new to the feeling of being discounted, Pederson was fending off the skeptics long before Carson Wentz was lost for the season with a torn ACL.
Pederson’s first stint in Philadelphia was as a quarterback. Andy Reid imported him from Green Bay in 1999 to pilot the offense until Donovan McNabb was ready to take the reins. Pederson thought he would lead the team for the season. He was relegated to the bench by Week 10.
After his playing career ended, Pederson got involved in coaching. Reid brought him back to Philadelphia as an offensive quality control coach in 2009. Pederson followed Reid to Kansas City when the Chip Kelly revolution arrived at the NovaCare Complex in 2013.
The tumultuous Kelly years left the franchise in disarray. Kelly had mortgaged the future of the franchise during his one season in charge of personnel decisions. With Howie Roseman exiled to an underground bunker at Eagles headquarters, Kelly moved quickly to reshape the roster in his image. Gone were Nick Foles and LeSean McCoy; in their place were Sam Bradford and Kiko Alonso. The signings of Byron Maxwell and DeMarco Murray did not have the desired impact, to say the least.
At some point during the rocky 2015 season, Lurie had lost his appetite for revolution. He longed instead for the stability of the Andy Reid years. What better way to relive the Reid era than by plucking an apple from Big Red’s coaching tree?
And so Lurie targeted a Reid disciple. However, John Harbaugh wasn’t available. Instead, the Eagles settled on Doug Pederson.