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For Many Packer Fans, It's Nothing but Happiness for Doug Pederson

Leading up to Super Bowl LII, it was awfully hard as a Packer fan to pick a team to root for.  On one hand, we had the hated New England Patriots back in the big show again and getting another shot at giving Bill Belichick and Tom Brady one more title to their names.  Another title for Brady could potentially further his GOAT status among the talking heads and give him a leg up on the “Who is Better?” argument between him and Aaron Rodgers.  On the other hand, we had the vile Philadelphia Eagles.  With memories of fourth & 26 still haunting Packers fans and a fan base just not worthy of a Super Bowl title celebration, as they gloriously put on display into the wee hours of Monday morning, how could we root for them?

But many Packer fans, I included, took solace in the fact that a long-time Green Bay Packer was at the helm for the Eagles squad, making him easy to root for.  The story of Doug Pederson’s career is quite fascinating, from his journeyman status around the NFL and World League of American Football/NFL Europe to his working through the ranks as a coach to where he stood, hoisting the Lombardi Trophy, on Sunday night. 

Most Packer fans will remember Doug for his two stints in Green Bay as Brett Favre’s backup.  He served admirably with the clipboard from 1995-1998 and then again from 2001-2004.  The two men, Pederson and Favre, remain great friends and hunting pals to this day and Pederson invited Favre to talk to the Eagles squad on Saturday morning, the day before the Super Bowl, showing how much respect Pederson has for the former quarterback he backed-up for so many years.

Outside of his runs in Green Bay, Pederson spent time under some other great football players and minds as well.  His career out of college began in Miami under the legendary coach Don Shula and backing up Dan Marino.  In between being waived by the Dolphins and then returning later, Pederson spent time with the New York/New Jersey Knights in the WLAF as well.  Always high regarded for the talents he possessed, Pederson was selected by the Carolina Panthers in 1995 in the expansion draft but was waived just a few months later, sending him back to the WLAF with the Rhein Fire in Germany.  Then, shortly after joining the Fire, he was resigned by the by the Dolphins in the spring of 1995.  That season with the Dolphins, he was waived during the preseason, resigned after week six after a Marino injury and then waived again in late October after Marino returned.

Doug’s fate would turn to the Packers later in 1995 when Packer backup Ty Detmer was injured for the season and Favre would suffer a minor injury.  After the infamous T.J. Rubley incident and his subsequent cut from the team, Pederson was signed by the Packers to be the third-string quarterback behind Favre and newly signed Jim McMahon.  Pederson would be on the roster for the Packers Super Bowl XXXI victory and remain with the team through the 1998 season.

In 1999, Pederson signed with Andy Reid and the Philadelphia Eagles to become their starting quarterback.  Reid had been the Packers QB coach during the 1997 and 1998 seasons.  After signing with the Eagles, they drafted Donovan McNabb and Pederson would go on to start nine games until being replaced by McNabb.  The following preseason in 2000, Pederson was released by the Eagles and he signed with the Browns to backup Tim Couch, but would end up starting six games that season due to a Couch injury.  Pederson was released by the Brown following that season.

During the spring of 2001, Pederson would begin his second run with the Green Bay Packers by signing a one-year contract.  Through the end of the 2004 season, Pederson would go on to sign one-year contracts with the team every year, where he would be Favre’s backup by beating out competition in training camp every year and serving as the placekick holder as well in all of the years.  Doug would see only limited action during his final run in Green Bay.  During a loss to the Giants early in the 2004 season, Pederson would replace Favre in the second half of a game and receive a broken rib and cracked bone in his back, landing him on injured reserve for the rest of the season.  Doug would retire from the NFL the following off-season.

Doug Pederson’s coaching journey started directly out of the NFL when took a head coach position with a private Christian high school in Shreveport, Louisiana, taking over a program that was in its second year of existence.  Doug would lead the team to the state playoffs in all four years with the team.

In 2009, Pederson was contacted by his former head coach Andy Reid to join the Eagles as their offensive quality control coach and would later move on to the QB coach position in 2011.  Following Reid’s departure to Kansas City in 2013, Pederson followed his mentoring coach to join the Chiefs as their offensive coordinator.  After serving as the OC in Kansas City for three years, Doug was finally given his head coaching spot with the Eagles in January of 2016, following the tumultuous departure of Chip Kelly in Philadelphia.

Mike McCarthy and Doug Pederson embrace after a Packers victory in 2016

Mike McCarthy and Doug Pederson embrace after a Packers victory in 2016

As Pederson and his Eagles team were celebrating at US Bank Stadium on Sunday, I’m sure many Eagles fans were questioning their feelings just two years earlier when Doug was hired as the head coach.  His hire wasn’t well-received at first by many die-hard fans and folks around the organization.  Pederson was seen by many as being too soft, not running the type of drill sergeant regime that other great football coaches operate. 

Watching Doug hoist the Lombardi Trophy on Sunday raises the question of what makes a great football coach.  With the win, he becomes one of only four people to win a Super Bowl ring as both a player and a head coach and the jump from player to coach with success is definitely not a given.  Coaching and leading players is a completely different skill set than actual play on the field.

Pederson has also seemed to buck conventional wisdom about how to be a leader of men within his organization.  Where other coaches have removed fun from the locker room and treat their training camp and season routines like a Marine boot camp, Pederson put a pop-a-shot basketball game in the Eagles locker room and has a completely open door policy where he welcomes feedback from his players.  Perhaps there is something to be said about this method.

But perhaps looking back at the journeyman career Pederson endured has more to do with where he stands today.  Pederson has become another great branch of the famed Bill Walsh coaching tree, where he stems off of Andy Reid, from Mike Holmgren and back to the legendary Walsh.  Through his long career of bouncing around, Doug has studied under many fantastic football minds in Don Shula, Dan Marino, Mike Holmgren, Brett Favre, Andy Reid and many others.  And maybe, just maybe, all the years of toting a clipboard on the sideline engrained a head coaching mindset in Pederson as well.

I don’t think the formula will ever be figured out for how a great coach is made.  We can only be left to speculate based on each example that we come across.  But, it is obvious that Doug has found his niche in being a leader and inspiring his players to play to the best of their abilities.   The adversity the Eagles faced during the 2017 season was immense and to be dancing in the confetti on Sunday was a testament to the head coach.  On top of leading the men on his team, the brass kahunas Doug showed with his fourth & goal call at the end of the first half only puts the extra icing on the cake!   I think many Packer fans can be proud that part of Doug Pederson’s journey to where he stands today came through Green Bay.  I know I sure am.


Ryan Brunner is an avid Packers fan hailing from Chippewa Falls, WI.  He is a firm believer that punters are NFL players too!  Follow him on Twitter @brunwardo

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (28) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

John Kirk's picture

My horse was Rickey Jean Francois. Heck, we paid him twice. Oh, and who can forget Lawrence Guy?

I can see the conflict with Doug Pederson and Corey Clement.

As for Pederson, I thought he was an odd choice when the Eagles hired him. Another Jason Garrett in the NFC East, I thought.

He's a guy of faith and I love that about him. His few seconds up on the podium leading off by deflecting to his faith was very touching to me.

The Eagles might be the most unlikeable team in the NFL due to their fans. If you've ever dealt with one you know but I'm thrilled for good guys like Chris Long, Carson Wentz, Nick Foles and Pederson.

WKUPackFan's picture

"He's a guy of faith and I love that about him. His few seconds up on the podium leading off by deflecting to his faith was very touching to me".

My suspicion was correct, you are an Evangelical wacko. Keep donating to Pat Robertson and James Dobson. They're laughing at you while cashing your checks.

Traditional (real) Christians understand that Jesus was not too fond of public displays of faith for self-aggrandizement purposes. In Matthew 5:5-6, Jesus teaches that the hypocrites who love to pray standing in the synagogues or on street corners so that people can see them already have their reward. To the contrary, those who close the door and pray in secret will be rewarded by their Father who sees them in secret.

*Not meant as an indictment of Pederson's personal acknowledgement of his faith. Meant as a criticism of those who would appropriate his acknowledgement to spread the false Evangelical message of Christianity.

carlos's picture

It is good to thank GOD in all places. Wish he was on the Packers coaching staff. Always was a fan of him.

carlos's picture

Let’s go get some ice cream.

carlos's picture

GOD would be real good on the coaching staff. lol

Nick Perry's picture

"Watching Doug hoist the Lombardi Trophy on Sunday raises the question of what makes a great football coach."

Great Football Players DEFINITELY help make up a great HC. So does a GM who explores every avenue available to him. The Eagles have plenty of "Great" players on that squad. They have both solid O-Lines and D-Lines with a D-Line which was what, 7 or 8 deep?
They also somehow were able to rebuild quickly after Chip Kelly came in and basically ran off the few talented players they had in place during his time. BUT the Eagles have drafted fairly well and they've drafted near the top of most of the last few drafts. Rosin IMO has drafted well and added several FA who didn't break the bank. Trading for Darby and Ajayi were both smart solid moves too.

I still believe in Mike McCarthy and feel he can lead the Packers back to a SB. With a new DC and OC who were both solid hires gives me a better feel for this staff. I know McCarthy's stubbornness can be maddening at times. I'm also aware McCarthy plays not to lose instead of playing to win more often than not. But keeping McCarthy for this season was a smart move IMO. With all the changes in the FO and Staff, keeping McCarthy gives the Packers their best chance to win NOW.

Gutekunst is the kicker though. Having a GM who at least so far has suggested he'll explore EVERY avenue to improve the Packers is like having Christmas in March. Instead of having only the draft to look forward to, Packers fans can now at least have hope they'll sign a FA or trade a pick or two for a player or to move up in a round.

Congrats to Peterson...Okay enough of that. GO PACK GO!

dobber's picture

"Congrats to Peterson...Okay enough of that. GO PACK GO!"

That's pretty much where I am.

worztik's picture

Well said Dob!!!

Since '61's picture

Another cookie! Thanks, Since'61

Savage57's picture

Watching the Super Bowl and the NFCCG only served to highlight the differences in the two coaches. On the one hand, a coach who has perhaps the most talented player in the game today, who has historically shown his love for conservative, run-it-into-the-pile play calls on 3rd and 4th down. On the other, a free-wheeling coach with an agile and creative mind who involves his staff, trusts them and who realizes that sometimes you have to pencil-whip your opponent as much as physically dominate them.

I am envious of the Eagles. They have a great football mind leading their team who genuinely loves and trusts his players.

I also can't ever imagine Doug Pederson grabbing an attitude and defensively popping off with, "I'm a highly successful professional football coach" when someone has the temerity to ask him a question.

CAG123's picture

To be fair he hasn’t coached long enough to utter those words and are we ever going to let that go? It happened in 2016

dobber's picture

And to be fair, he hasn't been a HC and playcaller long enough to make his creative play calls evolve into his norm. When you've been watched long enough, your patterns begin to emerge...and then you become easier to defend. Of course, I can't say that will be the case for Pederson. Maybe he'll have that knack for quite some time.

John Kirk's picture

You're one of my favorites, NP. Surprised you think MM gives us best chance to win. I think of Dungy being ousted in Tampa for Gruden and him getting them over the hump his first year. McVay instead of Fisher made a huge difference immediately, too. MM gives us the best chance to not get there...again. 7 years and counting...

Nick Perry's picture

Don't get me wrong...I'd LOVE a guy like McVay, but I didn't see any McVay's out there this year. Obviously I want to see McVay do it again next season too.

My thinking was this....Thompson and Capers are gone, or in Thompson's case moved aside and of the three MM was the one you would keep without doing a complete reboot. In other words MM was the least of the 3 evils. I think having Philbin back will be huge for the Packers offense. I think the predictability in MM offense really started after Philbin left. With the current set-up right now, McCarthy basically has this season to do big things. If the Packers don't at least make a serious, serious run at the SB and be competitive doing it.

I saw this on another site, this from another personnel man in the NFL...

“I think that offense has gotten stale,” one personnel man said. “They’ve become predictable. McCarthy might be drinking too much of his own Kool-Aid. Just like it was Peyton Manning’s offense in Indianapolis, this is Aaron Rodgers’ offense. Let’s be honest.”

This is EXACTLY why MM has just ONE year to reach the promised land. Either Philbin and Hostler inject new creative ideas and completely maximize Rodgers skill set or you move on while Rodgers still has a few good years left. All I know id Rodgers reached his mid-30's REALLY fast! Can't screw around no more.

Since '61's picture

Nick - I agree, keeping MM was a good move for maintaining some continuity during this period of transition. While hiring a new head coach could result in a quick turnaround ala Pederson it could result in another 2-3 years at best before returning to an SB and another 2-3 years of Rodgers career gone.
MM and Philbin give us the best chance to keep the offense on track if Rodgers remains healthy. The question is how long will it take for Pettine to make the defense competitive. I'm not expecting a great defense because the rules don't permit great defenses any longer (as in Lombardi's defense or the Steel Curtain) but at least a defense that can makes stops when it counts, as the Eagles did in causing Brady's fumble, and a defense that can get off the field on 3rd down. In the case of the Packers defense they need to play faster and get some pressure on the QB.

I'm happy for Pederson but to me Sunday's SB is a demonstration of how far the quality of NFL play has fallen. 1100 yards of offense allowed is just fast break basketball played with a football on a 100 yard field. Since they played indoors it might as well have been on a court instead of a field.

Football without solid defensive play is only half a game. As Dave Robinson said when asked about defense in this era of play, "When I played we didn't play no mamby-pamby football." That's what we watched this past Sunday. The league has created this situation with their rules changes and their attempt to create parity. However, all they have done up to this point is deliver a watered down product, poorly officiated where no one even knows what a catch is any longer. The result is games that are unwatchable. What is next? 2000 yards of offense in a game and both teams scoring 50+ points. Fortunately baseball is on the horizon. Thanks, Since '61

fastmoving's picture

You right, its thoughter to defend, today. But Denver and Seattle had still pretty stoud defences the last couple of years.
The games as a whole are very well watchable and attraktiv, probablly more than ever before. But I got it, everything was better in the rear mirror.
You could not watch much of the SBs in the 90`but what do I know.

The last SB were special games, the only problem was that the Packers got no tickets.

Good luck with baseball its getting more exiting every year. Especially in the last 2 decades. You can see it on the tv ratings......

flackcatcher's picture

Agree with you and NP. The NCAA has seen to find the balance with protecting their players and clarity in the rules. More importantly, they let their officials do their job on the field with no interference. The NFL has gone completely in the opposite direction. Run and shoot offenses leaving pro defenses with no clear way to counter. Game officials who are afraid to pull the flag knowing some idiot in New York will overrule them. (At this point I usually blame Jerry Jones and his damn voodoo doll. Not this time, this a team wide NFL-players effort to kill their game.) "Watered down" indeed.

fastmoving's picture

The NFL is the best sports league by far and only getting better. Not perfekt, like everything, but nothing important to complain.

Besides........ you like to complain....

flackcatcher's picture

Well, there are times I do see things a bit darkly. BUT the degeneration in play at the NFL level is unmistakable. Am I am not going to pretend that the owners and players, for their own reasons have set the game back. NCAA problems are well known, but on football they manage find balance, without harming the flow of the game it self. The league knows they are in trouble over the long term if they don't fix the issues (rules, game flow etc. etc.) Better to admit and fix than end up like the MLB who has only has brought their fans backs in the last 5 years. (Well, my wife does say I am bit more of a grouch these days. When I say I'm being a realist, I get the look. THAT LOOK. Sigh.........)

John Kirk's picture

Continuity is an unfortunate buzz word burned into the Packers fan vocabulary over the years. That same continuity being lauded today is the very reason Rodgers career has ticked down with one SB appearance. Continuity guaranteed us falling short and staleness. Who is for that?

We finally got change but a very hedged change with MM staying but reporting directly to a guy who has never had his hand in football ops in his life. Our old GM who should've been fired years ago not only sticks around but some fans honestly think it's great he's still here? Does anyone want Brian relying heavily or at all on Ted? Ted and his mindset doesn't belong anywhere near 1265. You want Ted telling Brian what defensive player to take? A legend like Bill Belichick deserves the kind of red carpet treatment Ted got here. Ted deserved a one way back to Texas and a gold watch.

This continuity that is hailed and praised came with a very high price and it is as likely to cost 2-3 more years or all of Aaron's career as it is to be the reason another Lombardi gets hoisted.

carlos's picture

I thought the refs for the Super Bowl did a commendable job. Liked the calls on the”catch “ plays.

Hematite's picture

The highlight of my Super Bowl weekend was Jerry Kramer finally getting into the Hall of Fame.
This was followed closely by Doug Pederson, ex-packer,
being the Super Bowl winning head coach.
Congratulations to both.

Dontworrygopackers's picture

screw drafting defensive players in first round after that game. zero holding penalties with most offense ever. that TE Goedert from south dakota st would look good scoring touchdowns in super bowl for us

4thand1's picture

The NFL is going young and fresh it seems. New ways of thinking because the game has changed. It's all about offense now and the rules dictate it, the fans want a lot of scoring. The Eagles GM is young, the Rams HC is a kid. Those are just 2 examples off the top of my head, but I think it's a trend.

dobber's picture

People who have cut their coaching teeth on the NFL of the 1990s and 2000s (coaches in their 50s-plus) learned their trade in a league that doesn't look as much like the NFL of 2017.

carlos's picture

You’re right Dobber.

rdent's picture

Congratulations Doug Peterson, this makes it 2 Super Bowl winning success stories from the Ron Wolf Mike Holmgren era.

Doug Niemczynski's picture

We hired the wrong coach.
Just another mistake the Green Bay Packers made added on to what they've already done for the past 6 years.

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