Doug Pederson explains what it was like to watch Eagles in Super Bowl

Pederson explains what it was like to watch Eagles in Super Bowl originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

PHOENIX — It had to be a little surreal.

Five years after leading the Eagles to the first Super Bowl victory in franchise history, Doug Pederson was watching them go for their second.

From his couch.

“It just brought back memories of when I was there in that Super Bowl game and how that week kind of unfolded for coaches and players,” Pederson said at the NFL’s annual meetings on Monday morning.

“Thinking about all the events leading up to the game and what the team was going through was kind of fresh on your mind. For me, that’s what it was about. The game was obviously a great game.”

Pederson, 55, was back in coaching in 2022 after a year off and led the Jaguars to the playoffs in his first year on the job. But after the Jaguars lost in the divisional round, Pederson became a spectator during the rest of the playoffs. And Super Bowl LVII was full of connections for him.

Pederson coached in both Philadelphia and Kansas City. He played and coached under Andy Reid. But he also once played for the Eagles, coached the Eagles to a Super Bowl win and still had many of his former players playing in the big game.

And Pederson was right; it was a great game. The Chiefs ended up beating the Eagles 38-35, which means Pederson remains the only head coach to deliver a Lombardi Trophy to Philly.

“You got friends and relationships on both sides so you’re kind of split right down the middle with who wins, who loses,” Pederson said. “For me, it was about those memories going back and obviously winning that game. I’ve also, as a player, been on the other side of it in Green Bay when we didn’t win the game and what that feels like. So your emotions kind of run a bit either way.”

As much as Pederson remembers the Super Bowl week in Minnesota, he remembers the truncated offseason after that run. This offseason will be even shorter for the 2023 Eagles because of the 17-game season.

There are certain challenges that come with that.

“I think the challenges are, one, you’ve played football into February,” Pederson cautioned. “And now your offseason is a lot shorter. There’s always those players that need those end-of-the-year type surgeries. Guys are going to push their timetables back. I think about that aspect of it. But I think if I ever get the opportunity to go back and be in that game again the next year, you can’t pull your foot off the gas. You gotta keep your foot on the gas.

“Regardless of where your team is mentally or physically, you’ve got to continue to push. It’s about starting over, it’s about hitting the reset button.”

The Eagles in 2018 went on another playoff run that ended in the divisional round. They made it back to the playoffs in 2019 but it was slipping away from them and the 2020 season was a disaster. The wheels fell off and the Eagles finished with a 4-11-1 record. By the end of the season, Pederson didn’t look like himself anymore. The stress of all that had taken its toll.

After some disagreements about coaching staff and the future of the franchise, Jeff Lurie fired Pederson. That might have been a good thing for both sides. The Eagles found Nick Sirianni, reloaded and were back in the Super Bowl two seasons later. Pederson took a year off and came back as the Jaguars’ head coach looking like his old self.

He looked refreshed in October when he led the Jaguars into Lincoln Financial Field in Week 4.

“That’s why the year off was great for me,” Pederson said. “Then to be able to go back and take Jacksonville back there was exciting. I knew, listen, there’s a lot of great people in that city. The fans I think I have a genuine respect for the things we did and obviously winning a championship there. I was excited to go back and the reception that I was given was pretty special. Things like that you’ll always remember.”

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