Eagles fire head coach Doug Pederson after five seasons
Pederson led the Eagles to the franchise's first Lombardi Trophy in 2017, coaching Philadelphia to a 13-3 finish and an unlikely run to the Super Bowl with backup quarterback Nick Foles. His pairing with Carson Wentz seemed to set the Eagles up for a very prosperous future following their Super Bowl triumph, but the wheels fell off in 2020.
Wentz regressed significantly, going from a quarterback with a passer rating above 98 to below average at 72.8. The Eagles spiraled to a 4-11-1 finish, with Pederson growing frustrated well before the midway point of the season. As the head of a team comprised of veterans from the Super Bowl run and a young group headlined by rookie quarterback Jalen Hurts, Pederson struggled to find the right balance within the team's offense. The Eagles failed to establish an identity and were meandering through the season with Wentz very much out of sorts behind a banged-up offensive line. By Week 13, Pederson had had enough, turning to Hurts for a spark and riding through the rest of the campaign with the rookie as the starter.
Things took an even more peculiar turn in the Eagles' final game when Pederson removed Hurts in the fourth quarter of Philadelphia's Week 17 contest and inserted third-stringer Nate Sudfeld in a one-score game, essentially throwing caution to the wind and watching his offense finally come to a complete halt in the last minutes of 2020.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported the decision to fire Pederson came down to one simple reality: The coach was tired of people telling him what to do. The Sudfeld insertion could have been an example of this frustration, though Pederson later painted it as a decision to get the backup deserved reps in an otherwise meaningless game for the Eagles, but the prevailing thought is Philadelphia simply had too many cooks in its kitchen this season.
"It has been an absolute honor serving as head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. As difficult as it is to say goodbye, I will always look back on my time here with appreciation and respect," Pederson said in a statement through the team.
"Thank you to Jeffrey Lurie for the opportunity, and to Howie Roseman and Don Smolenski for their partnership and support over the last five seasons. To all of our coaches, players, and staff, thank you for believing in me and allowing me to lead us on this journey. The memories we made here, together, will always have a special place in my heart.
"To the City of Philadelphia, thank you for embracing me and this team. I truly appreciate that passion you bring every single day -- at home, on the road, and in the community. No matter what, you were always right there with us.
"Although I'm disappointed that this chapter of my career has come to an end, I am extremely proud of what we accomplished together. Through all the ups and downs, one thing remained constant about our team -- an unwavering commitment to battle through adversity and to achieve our goals not as individuals, but as a collective unit. There is no better example of that than when we celebrated the first Super Bowl Championship in Eagles history together with our city. That is a memory we will all cherish forever."