The Philadelphia Eagles fired head coach Doug Pederson on Monday after five seasons with team.
Pederson posted a 42-37-1 record with the Eagles. Philly advanced to the playoffs for three straight seasons from 2017-19. In 2017, the Eagles finished with a 3-13 record and went on to Super Bowl LII - the first in franchise history.
Owner Jeffrey Lurie released the following statement:
This past season, the Eagles finished in last place in the NFC East with a 4-11-1 record. It was the worst season in Pederson’s tenure, far surpassing the team’s 7-9 record in his first year with the team.
Most notably, the team saw a significant drop in the performance of supposed-franchise quarterback Carson Wentz. Despite being benched for the last four weeks of the season, Wentz still finished tied for the league lead in interceptions with 15 and led the league in sacks with 50. Rookie Jalen Hurts replaced Wentz as the starter in Week 14.
Pederson particularly came under fire in the last week of the regular season when the Eagles played the Washington Football Team on Sunday Night Football. Trailing by just three points heading into the fourth quarter, Pederson benched Hurts and replaced him with quarterback Nate Sudfeld. In just his fourth career NFL game, Sudfeld was 5 of 12 for 32 yards with one interception and two sacks.
Because Sudfeld had been with the Eagles since 2017, was tendered by the team in 2019 and took a last-minute pay cut to remain on the team, there was nothing to evaluate or gain in watching him play because he was becoming a free agent at the end of the season. By losing the game though, the Eagles ended up with the No. 6 overall draft pick in the 2021 NFL Draft as opposed to the No. 11 pick had they won.
“That was my decision solely,” Pederson said to the media after the game. “Nate has been here for four years and I felt he deserved an opportunity to get some snaps. If there’s anything out there that thinks I was not trying to win the game ... Zach Ertz is out there, Brabdon Graham is out there, Darius Slay is out there. All of our top guys are still on the field at the end.”
Pederson reinforced the same point the Monday after the game.
“It’s just something that — it’s not where any of us want to be. It’s not where our fans wanted us or expected us to be and it’s definitely not where me or [general manager Howie Roseman] or where [team owner Jeffrey Lurie] wanted us to be at this time sitting here today,” he said. “We wanted to be playing in the postseason. That’s our goal every season. So, this year, this game, this season, didn’t come down to last night.
“We were playing for our lives in a playoff game four, five, six weeks ago where every game mattered, and we failed even then. I’ve got to look at the whole thing, do what’s in the best interest and try to win a game any way possible.”
Pederson has still been criticized for purposely throwing the game despite his assertions otherwise.
According to reports, Pederson is rumored to be of interest to the New York Jets as they look to fill a head-coach opening. Jets GM Joe Douglas formerly worked for the Eagles.
Three years removed from a Super Bowl title, Pederson is sure to draw interest from teams around the league.