Eagles coach Doug Pederson is on the verge of making history.
This Sunday, the Philadelphia Eagles will be taking on the New Orleans Saints in a divisional round playoff game. The Saints have had a great season and are the favorites to win the game, but if the Eagles can pull off the upset, it would make their head coach, Doug Pederson, only the fourth head coach in the history of the league to win their first five playoff games.
Last season, Pederson coached Philly to first place in the NFC East and then through three consecutive wins in the playoffs, culminating in the teams first ever Super Bowl win, beating the mighty Patriots in Super Bowl 52! This season the team looked like they were going to miss even making the playoffs, but with a late-season surge they finished 9-7 and edged their way into the Wild Card round last week, where they barely squeaked by the Chicago Bears thanks to a missed/blocked field goal attempt at the end of the game.
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That makes four playoff games and four playoff wins for Pederson who took over the team in the 2016 season. And with a win against the Saints—making five in a row—Pederson would do something only Brian Billick, Joe Gibbs and Tom Flores have done. Which sure is some nice coaching company to be in.
Some other interesting facts about the streak and all four coaches is that each one of them started their streak and won a Super Bowl in their second year as a head coach: Gibbs with Washington in 1982, Billick with Baltimore in 2000 and Flores with the Raiders in 1980.
Also, Gibbs actually stands above all the other coaches on the list in that he is the only one with three Super Bowl titles ('82, '87, '91) and would have had four had he not lost to Flores and the Raiders in 1983 in Super Bowl 18 (Flores' second and last finals win). And with that loss to the Raiders, it ended Gibbs' streak at six consecutive playoff games to start his coaching career - which is a record Pederson would love to break because his seventh consecutive win would mean a victory in this year's big game in Atlanta!
What This Means
Pederson almost had a huge letdown this season as his Eagles came very close to being a Super Bowl winning team that missed the playoffs the next season. But in a weak NFC North, he was able to rally the troops and—with the help of superstar backup QB Nick Foles—get into the playoffs and come away with a crazy goalpost-aided win in the Wild Card round.
Can the Eagles really do it again this year? While the Bears were a good team with a great defense, Drew Brees and that high-scoring Saints offense are going to be a real test for Philadelphia. And New Orleans is no slouch on the defensive side of the ball either. If the Eagles manage to make it past the Saints then Pederson and St. Nick (Foles) shouldn't be underdogs any longer.