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Super Bowl Winning Coach Explains Why He’s Fearless

Shawn Brown - 700 Club Producer

When the Philadelphia Eagles upset the New England Patriots to win Super Bowl LII, they shocked the football world. How did a team with so much adversity pull off a miracle? It’s the ultimate underdog story.

Shawn: When you hear Doug Pederson, head coach, Philadelphia Eagles, Super Bowl champion –what goes through your mind?

“I've still got to pinch myself every day. Uh, you know, uh it-it-it's amazing, you know?  It's-it's why we get into athletics, to win championships, you know?  And-and did I think it was going to happen quite this fast in year two, probably not,” said Pederson.

Two years…which is quite impressive for a guy that’s been an underdog his entire career. He spent 14 years as backup quarterback behind QB’s such as Dan Marino and Brett Favre. He played with 5 teams and was cut 6 times before shifting into coaching in 2005. He coached in high school for 4 years then made the jump to coaching in the NFL in 2009. After 7 seasons as an assistant under Andy Reid in Philly and Kansas City. He was hired as head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles in 2016.  

Shawn: Philly's a tough town.  It is – it is a tough city.  What's going on through your mind when you're the guy?  Do you feel the weight?

“You know what? I don't. I don't feel the weight because this is a place that-that I've come to love. This is a place I-I played here in 1999, I-I worked for Coach Reid for four years here, this is my third time coming back to Philadelphia. So, I have an idea the passion of the-the city, the fans, here in the city of Philadelphia. So, it was very comfortable for me to come here,” said Pederson.

But there were a lot of critics that felt he wasn’t qualified and wouldn’t last.

“You know, not many people gave me a chance, that I was – I was going to be a one-and-done type coach. Maybe two years. Even going into the 2017 season, there were comments made that-that I was one of the worst hires in-in NFL history,” said Pederson.

Instead of focusing on the opinions of critics, Doug got to work.

Shawn: When a coach goes to a team, they have to have some kind of mantra. Coming here to Philly what was the mantra, what was your thing?

“We use this phrase all the time "Keep chopping. Keep chopping. Keep chopping, keep plugging away. Keep studying the film.  Keep practicing hard. Good things are going to eventually happen to this football team. Keep chopping that wood, man. You know, it doesn't take one swing to chop a tree, it takes multiple swings and-and that's what we did,” said Pederson.

One of the “swings” coach Pederson took was drafting rookie quarterback Carson Wentz. Within two seasons he managed to turn things around on the field. But there were some unexpected changes in the locker room as well.

“The guys know that I'm a man of faith, they know that I'm a spiritual believer. They know I spend time every morning reading my Bible and my devotional book and-and that's how I start my day. I think, eventually just the-the spirit of God just kinda-kinda works itself through certain members of your team, and even coaches and-and then eventually it's going to end up in the locker room. I truly believe that-that, you know, the power of God and the Holy Spirit just sort of brings everybody a little bit closer together,” said Pederson.

The team relied heavily on their spiritual bond throughout an injury plagued 2017 season. Especially during week 14 when their starting quarterback got injured and they had to lean on backup Nick Foles to carry them through the postseason. Coach Pederson desperately needed to find a way to lift the spirit of his team. The answer came to him in the form of a picture.

“Well, on the wall behind us was a quote on the wall and it – and it read 'One man can make a difference, but a team can make a miracle.'  My son took a picture of that and sent it to me that day after the Rams game, and it was like that's it. That's it! That's all I need – that's all I need to say right there. And so I walked into that – into that meeting Tuesday morning in front of the team, and I looked at all the injured guys around the room, and I says, "One man can make a difference. Carson made a difference for us. Jason Peters, you made a difference for us. Jordan Hicks, you made a difference for us. But it's not about one man, you know, it's about the team. It's going to take this team in here to make this miracle. We're going to continue this journey.  This team's going to make a miracle. And so I just shared that with the team. I just kinda poured my heart to the guys and said, 'Man, let's go, you know, let's go.  Nick Foles, you're the guy.  We're behind you 100%, let's go,'” said Pederson.

Doug Pederson lead his underdog Philadelphia Eagles to Super Bowl LII with his backup quarterback Nick Foles to face a team no one believed they could beat…the New England Patriots. Coach recalls meeting patriots head coach bill Belichick before the game.

“We shook hands and con-congratulated each other on-on their – you know, our season, his season, and you know, and in my mind I'm thinking, ‘We're going to win today.’ While I'm – While I'm standing there, you know, talking to Coach Belichick like ‘He doesn't know what's about to hit him.  We're going to kick his tail today,’” said Pederson.

With that confidence, the team made a statement early with one of the gutsiest plays in super bowl history. It was fourth and goal and the Eagles have the ball at the one. The play… “Philly Special” which was not a 4th down play. The play was executed flawlessly.

“Plays like that just don't happen; one, if you don't work them in practice, but you've got to have belief first that they're going to work.  You can't go, "All right, it worked.  Now I believe in it." You've got to believe it's going to work before it happens,” said Pederson.

On the arm of his backup quarterback, Doug Pederson and the Philadelphia Eagles achieved a miracle, their first super bowl championship in franchise history. In his book, “Fearless: How an Underdog Becomes a Champion, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson shares how he along with his team accomplished one of the most memorable super bowl victories in NFL history. He hopes to inspire underdogs everywhere, that through Christ, all things, are possible if you believe.  

“I've had to fight and scratch and claw for everything that I've gotten in life. Nothing was ever handed to me. "Nothing's ever going to be handed to you. You need to go earn it, you need to go take it, you need to go create your own success in a sense.
I thought ‘Fearless’ was, you know, the Bible talks a lot about fear and overcoming fear and it can't – it can't be a part of your life, you know?  And so I'm not going to coach with fear, I'm not going to live my life in fear.  I'm going to trust Christ, number one; I'm going to trust my family; I'm going to trust the guys around me And-and it's something that we'll continue to – I'll continue to lean on, you know, not only the rest of my life but as long as I'm a head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles,” said Pederson.

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