What did we learn from Doug Pederson in Sunday’s Super Bowl win over the New England Patriots? Let’s just start with these two takeaways:
- His level of petty is inspiring.
- A former college and NFL quarterback, Pederson’s ability to throw shade may be more impressive than his ability to throw the football.
For those unfamiliar with the millennial use of the term “petty,” and the phrase “throw shade” see below:
Petty: to do something (childish or often funny) with the intent of eliciting a reaction
Throw shade: to say a slick comment with little to no one catching it except the person or group it was directed to
The praise for Pederson’s aggressive and gutsy play-calling in Super Bowl LII has yet to stop, and rightfully so. But, the play that merited him the honor of Coach Petty of the Year? The call on fourth and goal that took the Eagles to a 22-12 lead over the Patriots before the half. The play that made once backup quarterback Nick Foles the first quarterback in NFL history to both throw and catch a touchdown pass in a Super Bowl. The almost exact play that the New England Patriots failed to execute with Tom Brady minutes before. Pet. Ty.
.@NFoles_9 made the call, made the touchdown and made history. #PhillySpecial
Watch more @NFLFilms highlights on the #InsideTheNFL finale TONIGHT 9PM ET/PT on Showtime.@Eagles #SBLII #FlyEaglesFly #Eagles pic.twitter.com/jIDrfeYpVW
— Inside the NFL (@insidetheNFL) February 6, 2018
It was the defining moment of Super Bowl LII, and definitely the level of petty that even the pettiest of persons should aspire to. Hear from King Petty, himself:
“You learn if you play passive, if you play conservative, if you call plays conservatively, you are going to be 8-8, 9-7 every year,” Pederson said. “Every year. Frank and I just having that collaborative spirit to talk about things and talk with our quarterbacks and just come up with ways of keeping this game fresh and fun and exciting for our players. And that’s really where it all stems from.”
Triggered. Not to say that Pederson is throwing shade at the Dallas Cowboys and head coach Jason Garrett. But, you know, if the shoe fits…
Let’s be real, here. Is Pederson telling any lies? It appears that aggressive play-calling is the way to win championships in today’s NFL. You can even look back at last year’s Super Bowl. Granted, the Atlanta Falcons did what they did, but it was aggressive coaching that got them to the big game in the first place. That season, The Wall Street Journal named Falcons head coach Dan Quinn one of the most aggressive coaches in the NFL based on his fourth-down decisions, play-calling and special teams decisions.
All of this to say, the Dallas Cowboys, specifically the coaches, could learn from Pederson. The word that many use to describe the Cowboys’ play is “predictable.” One could even add “safe.” Why go for it on fourth down when you have a talent like Dan Bailey waiting in the wings with an 88 percent guarantee of three points? Because security. Not to say anything is wrong with that, but it certainly doesn’t keep the game “fresh and fun and exciting,” to quote Pederson.
The Cowboys attempted to duplicate last season, but the problem was that they didn’t have the same pieces as last season… AND the rest of the NFL figured out their recipe for 2016’s success. Segway to point number two: Pederson made the necessary adjustments for his team to be successful after losing star quarterback Carson Wentz to injury. Nick Foles is no Carson Wentz, obviously. Pederson and staff placed Foles and his strengths in a position to excel.
I wrote an article back in November not long after the Cowboys’ loss to the Atlanta Falcons, featuring quarterback Dak Prescott’s six sacks and the torture of All-Pro lineman Tyron Smith’s replacement, Chaz Green. I concluded by saying the fate of the season rested in the coaches’ ability to assess the healthy talent they had and place them in a position to succeed. Welp…
Owner Jerry Jones has made his loyalty to his core three clear. If one of the key ingredients to making a championship run is aggressive play-calling, can/will the trio evolve in 2018?
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