PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Eagles are moving on, so let’s take a look back. Doug Pederson was fired as the Birds’ head coach on Monday after five seasons and a Super Bowl win.
The Eagles were 42-37-1 in the regular season under Pederson’s reign and 4-2 in the playoffs. Pederson coached the 2017 Birds to the first Super Bowl title in franchise history in Super Bowl 52.
Coming off the disastrous tenure of Chip Kelly, the Eagles were looking for a fresh start in 2016. They went back to a familiar well with the hire — then Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Pederson, a former Eagles backup quarterback and disciple of Andy Reid.
But the move was panned by many. ESPN ranked Pederson’s hiring the worst of the six head coaches hired that offseason. Longtime Eagles analyst Ray Didinger called the decision a risk, saying, “I don’t know that there’s ever been a guy who’s been hired as a head coach in the NFL that had a thinner resume.”
But Pederson and general manager Howie Roseman went to work turning over the roster, starting with the quarterback position. The Eagles maneuvered up to the No. 2 spot in the draft to select their franchise quarterback — Carson Wentz.
The Eagles’ future was in place with a new head coach and franchise quarterback, and although the first season didn’t result in a playoff run, there were signs of success.
The Birds went 7-9 in 2016 — worst in the NFC East — but started 3-0 and outscored their opponents 92-27 in that stretch.
And then a miracle happened. After a 1-1 start to the season, rookie kicker Jake Elliott drilled a 61-yard field goal to deliver a Birds’ win over the New York Giants in Week 3.
Coming off the high of that season-defining win, Pederson’s Eagles caught fire — winning nine straight games and becoming the class of the NFC. The Birds had all of the makings of a Super Bowl contender until a key injury struck.
Wentz, playing at an MVP level, tore his ACL in a Week 14 win over the Rams. The Eagles wrapped up the No. 1 seed in the playoffs but expectations outside of the locker room were low.
But that’s when Pederson and offensive coordinator Frank Reich did some of their best coaching. And you know the rest.
Nick Foles and the Eagles’ revamped offense snuck past the Falcons, dominated the Vikings and outdueled Tom Brady and Bill Belichick in Super Bowl 52 as the Eagles won their first and only Super Bowl.
How about the post game speech from @eagles coach Doug Pederson and Malcolm Jenkins!! @CBSPhilly was live in the locker room with the trophy. Unbelievable. Listen to that speech. pic.twitter.com/sQz3YuVZO8
— Pat Gallen (@PatGallenCBS3) February 5, 2018
Following the championship, Pederson declared the team’s success “the new norm.”
Pederson and Foles’ legendary “Philly Special” call remains immortalized in a statue outside of Lincoln Financial Field.
After the magical run that was the 2017 season, Pederson failed to get the Birds past the second round of the playoffs through the rest of his tenure.
In 2018, after yet another injury to Wentz, Pederson once again turned to Foles to lead the team into the playoffs and it appeared that luck was once again on Pederson’s side.
The Birds finished the regular season 9-7, second in the NFC East.
The Birds won their wild-card matchup in Chicago, thanks to the “double-doink” from Cody Parkey, but the clock struck midnight in the divisional round after a pass went through the hands of Alshon Jeffery and was intercepted in the final minutes of the game.
The Eagles entered 2019 with sky-high expectations. Before the season, Pederson said it was the most talented team he has had during his time in Philadelphia — yes, even more than the Super Bowl team.
“From a standpoint of depth, I think the depth part of it, for sure. Obviously, there is talent at a lot of positions. A lot of the same guys are back that have been with me for the last four years, but you still have to go play and still have to execute your offense, defense and special teams. But I do feel like it is the deepest roster we have had,” he told reporters.
In 2019, it looked as if Pederson and Wentz were back on the same page down the stretch of the season as the Birds went on a four-game win streak to clinch the NFC East and sneak into the playoffs yet again with a 9-7 record and another NFC East title.
But the team was unable to overcome a helmet-to-helmet hit from the Seahawks Jadeveon Clowney that knocked Wentz from the wild card game, as the Birds yet again fell short of making a deep run in the postseason.
In typical 2020 fashion, the Birds’ season was filled with twists and turns and even a tie game.
The Eagles finished with a 4-11-1 record in what would be Pederson’s last season at the helm. The team struggled and even saw Pederson bench Wentz for rookie quarterback Jalen Hurts in Week 13 against the Green Bay Packers.
This season also ended in controversy due to yet another decision by Pederson to make a change at the quarterback position.
Already eliminated from playoff contention, in Week 17 against the Washington Football Team, Pederson decided to swap Hurts for Nate Sudfeld in the fourth quarter of a close game. Washington went on to win the game and the division, while the Eagles secured the sixth pick in the upcoming NFL Draft.
In the following weeks, a number of reports surfaced about the strain on the relationship between Wentz and Pederson.
Then, after several meetings with owner Jeffrey Lurie, Pederson was fired, leaving behind a legacy that leaves him as the lone person to deliver a Lombardi Trophy to Philadelphia even though his proclamation of a new norm never came to fruition.