Kansas City head coach Andy Reid has spawned eleven NFL head coaches. He may have to beat two of them on his way to Super Bowl LVIII (58).
The second is Buffalo head coach Sean McDermott, whose Bills play Cincinnati on Sunday. The other is Doug Pederson.
On Saturday, Reid's Chiefs host the Jacksonville Jaguars. Pederson is finishing his first season as the Jags' head coach. And he and Andy go way back!
In the 1990's, Pederson played quarterback for the Green Bay Packers, backing up future Hall of Famer Brett Favre. Reid coached them both as Mike Holmgren’s QB coach and assistant head coach (1995-98). When Andy took the head coaching job in Philadelphia (1999), Pederson became his starting quarterback.
A decade later (2009), Doug joined Andy’s Eagles’ coaching staff, first as a QC assistant (2009-10), then as Andy’s QB coach (2011-12). When Reid moved on to Kansas City, Pederson went along as his offensive coordinator.
Doug is one of two former Reid assistants to win a Lombardi trophy. (John Harbaugh is the other). Pederson won it with Andy’s old team, the Philadelphia Eagles. In just his second season at the helm (2017), Pederson’s Eagles beat Bill Belichick’s New England Patriots 41-33 in Super Bowl LII (52)--this despite a 502 yard passing day by Tom Brady.
In that game--and all that season--Pederson’s winning strategies were both innovative and fearless--especially the latter!
For example, late in the second quarter, the Eagles faced a fourth down and goal at the Patriots one. After a sideline conference, Reid sent QB Nick Foles out to run a play now known as Philly Special: a direct snap to a running back who lateraled to a tight end who then threw a TD pass to a wide-open Foles.
Broadcasters and media types hailed it as one of the greatest and most spectacular play calls in Super Bowl history. ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio named his insightful 2017 season-recap Eagles book after it. Fact is, the New England lPatriots looked at two years of Doug Pederson’s red zone calls and never saw anything like it.
They were expecting everything but, which made it the perfect play call for the occasion. That’s innovation!
Midway through the fourth quarter, facing a fourth down and two in Eagles territory, Pederson called a pass play that gave Philly a new set of downs and advanced a lengthy scoring drive. That’s fearlessness!!!
It’s also the mark of Andy Reid’s influence on his former player and coaching assistant.
If you’ve been conscious the past few football seasons, you know that Reid’s Chiefs do innovative things fearlessly just about every game. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes allows Reid to experiment at will—and Big Red does, even drawing moustaches with magic markers during team charter flights!
Doug isn’t quite there yet. His primary focus this year was to help second year QB Trevor Lawrence overcome the trauma of his rookie season under Urban Meyer then begin to realize his enormous professional potential.
After a piss-poor first half last week against the L-A Chargers, the jury was still out. But after four straight TD passes and the third largest comeback in NFL post-season history, Doug is feeling pretty good about his well-coiffed young passer.
Will the prodigy find a way to upset his mentor in the NFC Divisional Round playoffs? Probably not. But know for certain, Doug Pederson’s team will not just show up and hope for the best. History tells us that’s not his M.O.
Of course, Andy Reid didn’t become the fifth winningest NFL head coach of all-time by running dive plays and shaking in his boots. He preaches and practices innovation and fearlessness. That's why the Mentor will be favored to beat his prize Prodigy.
It all should be very interesting!