PHILADELPHIA — On Feb. 4, 2018, just before halftime of Super Bowl LII, Doug Pederson called a play on fourth-and-goal from the 1 that called for a backup running back to hand off to a backup tight end to throw to a backup quarterback, against the greatest defensive mind of the modern football era. It worked. A career backup quarterback and an Andy Reid sycophant, Pederson’s NFL profile had never been higher. The play, called “Philly Special,” vaulted Pederson into coaching royalty and earned him a statue outside Lincoln Financial Field.
Now, the New York Giants, their fans, and NFL purists everywhere want to tear that statue down.
On Jan. 3, 2021, on Sunday Night Football, Pederson ruined his reputation. The NFL’s season finale determined whether the Eagles’ opponent, Washington, or their rivals, the New York Giants, would win the NFC East. It also determined whether the Eagles would draft sixth overall, if they lost, or ninth, if they won. This framed two decisions that Pederson will forever regret.