He’s better, and he’s in a better situation.
Right now, that’s about the extent of it with Doug Pederson when comparisons arise in regard to his former coach, former boss and personal football sensei Andy Reid, who is widely recognized – at least outside of the Philly region – as the Eagles’ greatest head coach.
Frankly, it’s a label Reid still deserves. In 14 years here, he took the team to nine playoff appearances, five NFC title games and one Super Bowl. He won a franchise-record 130 games.
He gave those who bleed Midnight Green an extended period of quality play. Not perfect, not ultimate-prize worthy. But quality, and sometimes even great.
It’s just Pederson is better. Already.
Part of that is the situation he’s in – not having the weight of the entire operation rest on his shoulders, as Reid did.
Of course, that was Reid’s own doing … and, really, that may be the No. 1 thing that allows Pederson to elevate his game to another level.
The guy delegates. He has faith in others. Allows them to shine. Accepts – check that, encourages – their feedback, and then, get this, actually utilizes it.
In short, he ain’t a control freak. Reid was. Maybe not to Chip Kelly extremes, but still …
That being said, can’t take the “greatest” off Big Red yet. Pederson only just completed his second season at the helm, capping it with the Eagles’ first Super Bowl victory … and he didn’t just get it done, he got it done with style, with moxie, with balls.
So many point to that fourth-and-goal at the 1 right before halftime in which Nick Foles and Co. forever imbedded “Philly Special” into Eagles’ – if not NFL – lore by completing an option pass from the backup tight end to the backup quarterback ultimately turned SB 52 MVP as the iconic moment of Pederson’s career.
Claiming that he called the play.
Honestly, he did that one better. He listened to Foles’ suggestion to run it when they met on the sideline, thought for a split second, and then said, “yeah, OK, let’s run it.”
Now that takes some serious cojones – putting that kind of belief in someone else, at such a crucial juncture. Pretty unreal, actually.
Something Reid never would have done. Then again, aside from Pederson, who would have?
Bill Belichick, the supposed all-time standard now for NFL coaches, who happened to be on the opposing sideline at that moment? Doubt it.
Put it this way, the guy has arrived as an elite – albeit different – coach. His positive energy comes through in his players, and allows for fluid communication throughout the whole football operation, making stars out of them, de facto GM Howie Roseman and his assistant coaches.
To be the greatest, yeah, he needs to be around a longer. Even though he’s already trumped Reid in one regard with that title, he still does. Body of work matters for that moniker.
It’s one of the reasons why Reid has stood above Greasy Neale and Buck Shaw, the former leading the Eagles to pre-Super Bowl NFL crowns in 1948 and ’49 and the latter producing one in 1960. Ditto Dick Vermeil, the Godfather of Philly grid coaches to anyone from my generation.
But Pederson, well, it sure looks like he is on his way to being the greatest.