By Kevin McGuire
For a franchise with no Super Bowl trophy to claim just yet, the standards of success have been relatively low over the years for the Philadelphia Eagles. That may be about to change as Doug Pederson looks to do something no other coach in Eagles history has done, including his mentor and the franchise’s all-time best head coach Andy Reid. With a win in the Super Bowl, Pederson will cement his legacy in Eagles and sports history for decades by being the first to bring a Lombardi Trophy to the City of Brotherly Love.
Reid certainly had his shots at Super Bowl glory, but you know how the script has gone. A record of 1-4 in the NFC Championship Game and a lone loss in the Super Bowl against the New England Patriots meant there was one hurdle Reid constantly struggled to overcome that would have changed the way many view him to this day. While Reid is ultimately worthy of the recognition he receives as a very successful coach in Philadelphia, far more often than not, those who finish no higher than second place will forever be considered not quite good enough. The lone exceptions appear to be Allen Iverson and the 1993 Phillies.
For years, Reid had a clear path to the Super Bowl because the Eagles built one of the top franchises in the league for a good stretch that resulted in four consecutive trips to the NFC Championship Game. You can give Reid a pass for losing his first one on the road against the mighty St. Louis Rams, but a home loss to Tampa Bay still haunts many Eagles fans to this day because that was the year the Eagles should have won a Super Bowl. Losing at home to Carolina the following year was disappointing but could be mildly excused by an in-game injury to Donovan McNabb. That loss led to Terrell Owens joining the team, and that nearly worked out, but ultimately finished with a loss to the Patriots in Jacksonville. It took Reid four tries with some of the best teams the Eagles have had in the Super Bowl era before finally getting to the big game.
It took Pederson two years and he just got there riding the game of a lifetime from a backup quarterback against one of the top defenses the NFL has seen in recent years. Was it a stroke of luck for Pederson this year? There must have been some luck along the way, as any coach who gets to the Super Bowl is bound to have at some point, but Pederson has done enough on his own to change the perception of him as a coach. A year ago, nobody thought Pederson could be the coach that gets the Eagles to a Super Bowl, let alone potentially win one. Yet, despite being a significant underdog once again, nobody doubts now that it could happen.
Unlike Reid, Pederson has shown the ability to adapt and stray away from falling into the same traps on the sideline Reid has for so many years and continues to do to this day. Who knows what will happen in the next four or five years and beyond with Pederson? But getting to the Super Bowl this season and the reality of eventually getting Carson Wentz back in 2018 suggests this could be the start of another successful stint for the Philadelphia Eagles. If Pederson can bring the Lombardi Trophy down Broad Street, there will be a new king in town for the Eagles.
And it’s been only two years.