Pederson is win away from delivering Philly first Super Bowl


By ROB MAADDI - AP Pro Football Writer



FILE - In this Jan. 26, 2018, Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson huddles with the team during practice at the team's NFL football training facility in Philadelphia.  Pederson is one win away from bringing Philadelphia the elusive Super Bowl title his mentor couldn't deliver. If the Eagles beat New England on Sunday, Feb. 4 Pederson will hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy and Philadelphia would celebrate its first NFL title since beating Lombardi's Green Bay Packers in 1960. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

FILE - In this Jan. 26, 2018, Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson huddles with the team during practice at the team's NFL football training facility in Philadelphia. Pederson is one win away from bringing Philadelphia the elusive Super Bowl title his mentor couldn't deliver. If the Eagles beat New England on Sunday, Feb. 4 Pederson will hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy and Philadelphia would celebrate its first NFL title since beating Lombardi's Green Bay Packers in 1960. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)


FILE - In this Jan. 25, 2018 file photo, Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson speaks with members of the media during an NFL football news conference at the team's training facility in Philadelphia. Pederson is one win away from bringing Philadelphia the elusive Super Bowl title his mentor couldn't deliver. If the Eagles beat New England on Sunday, Feb. 4 Pederson will hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy and Philadelphia would celebrate its first NFL title since beating Lombardi's Green Bay Packers in 1960. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)


Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson arrives with his team for the NFL Super Bowl 52 football game Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018, in Minneapolis. Philadelphia a a scheduled to face the New England Patriots. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)


PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (15-3) vs. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (15-3)

Sunday, 6:30 p.m. ET, CBS

OPENING LINE — Patriots by 6 ½

RECORD VS. SPREAD — Eagles 10-6, Patriots 11-5

SERIES RECORD — Eagles lead 7-6

LAST MEETING — Eagles beat Patriots 35-28, Dec. 6, 2015

LAST WEEK — Eagles beat Vikings 38-7 in NFC championship game, Jan. 21; Patriots beat Jaguars 24-20 in AFC championship game, Jan. 21

AP PRO32 RANKING — Eagles No. 5, Patriots No. 1

EAGLES OFFENSE - OVERALL (7), RUSH (3), PASS (13)

EAGLES DEFENSE - OVERALL (4), RUSH (1), PASS (17)

PATRIOTS OFFENSE — OVERALL (1), RUSH (10), PASS (2)

PATRIOTS DEFENSE — OVERALL (29), RUSH (20), PASS (30)

STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES — Patriots beat Eagles 24-21 in Super Bowl to conclude 2004 season. This will be sixth Super Bowl rematch in NFL history. In last three rematches, team that won first game also won second game. … This is third Super Bowl in which each team ranked in top five in both points scored and fewest points allowed. Eagles were third in points scored (28.6 points per game) and fourth in points allowed (18.4). Patriots ranked second in points scored (28.6) and fifth in points allowed (18.5). … Eagles are 0-2 in Super Bowl. Eagles haven’t won NFL title since 1960. … Philadelphia has have seven players on active roster who’ve won Super Bowl. … Eagles are missing offensive, defensive and special-teams captains: QB Carson Wentz (knee), LB Jordan Hicks (Achilles tendon), S Chris Maragos. … LT Jason Peters (knee), RB Darren Sproles (knee) and K Caleb Sturgis (hip) also sustained season-ending injuries. … Eagles QB Nick Foles is 72 of 96 (75 percent) for 793 yards, five touchdowns, zero interceptions, and 116.3 rating in three playoff games. His rating is highest in postseason history, minimum 90 attempts. … Foles is only QB in team history to throw for 300-plus yards and three-plus TDs in postseason. … Foles and Joe Montana are only two QBs with consecutive playoff games completing 75 percent of passes. … RB LeGarrette Blount won two Super Bowls with Patriots in past three seasons before joining Philly. Blount has 10 TDs rushing in 10 playoff games. … Eagles DE Chris Long won Super Bowl with Patriots last season. … None of four players who’ve combined to score Eagles’ six TDs in playoffs was on team last year. … RB Jay Ajayi has 127 yards rushing in two playoff games. … WR Alshon Jeffery has nine catches for 146 yards and two TDs. … TE Zach Ertz has 11 catches for 125 yards. … WR Torrey Smith has eight catches for 108 yards and one TD. … Eagles haven’t allowed point in second half this postseason. … CB Patrick Robinson had 50-yard interception return for TD vs. Vikings in NFC title game. … Patriots are appearing in Super Bowl for 10th time. They are 5-4. … With sixth ring, New England would tie Pittsburgh for most in Super Bowl era. … Patriots can become ninth team in NFL history to repeat as Super Bowl champions and first since they won back-to-back titles for 2003 and 2004 seasons. … On 53-man active roster Patriots brought to Minnesota, 32 players have combined 60 games of Super Bowl experience…. Brady led NFL with 4,577 yards passing this season. No player to lead NFL in passing yards has won Super Bowl in that season (0-5). Brady, Peyton Manning, Rich Gannon, Kurt Warner and Dan Marino all lost in Super Bowl after leading league in passing yards. … Brady has played in seven Super Bowls and has 5-2 record … Brady and coach Bill Belichick will be making eighth Super Bowl appearance together, most NFL title games for any head coach and quarterback duo in league history. Their five victories together are most by coach and quarterback combination. … With victory, Belichick would pass Vince Lombardi and tie George Halas and Curly Lambeau for most NFL championships by coach in league history. … RB James White has scored six touchdowns (four rushing, two receiving) in his past three postseason games. Over past two postseasons (2016 and 2017), White leads NFL with seven total touchdowns and 44 points scored. … TE Rob Gronkowski has 10 career playoff TD receptions. He trails only Jerry Rice (22) and John Stallworth (12) for most in NFL playoff history. … Gronkowski’s 856 yards receiving and 10 TD receptions are most ever by tight end in NFL postseason history. … Patriots have 11 sacks in postseason, most in NFL. Eight players have at least one sack in this year’s playoffs, most by any team. … Three Patriots defensive ends — rookies Adam Butler and Deatrich Wise Jr., and Geneo Grissom — have two sacks apiece in this postseason. … LB James Harrison has 11 career postseason sacks, tied for fifth in NFL since individual sack became official statistic in 1982.

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BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (AP) — Doug Pederson is one win away from bringing Philadelphia the elusive Super Bowl title his mentor couldn’t deliver.

If the Eagles (15-3) beat New England (15-3) on Sunday, Pederson will hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy and Philadelphia will celebrate its first NFL title since beating Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers in 1960.

No one saw this coming two years ago.

After abruptly firing Chip Kelly, Eagles owner Jeffery Lurie longed for a coach more like the one he used to have: Andy Reid. Even though Reid failed to win the big game during his 14-year tenure in Philadelphia, he won more games than any coach in franchise history and led the Eagles to nine playoff appearances, five NFC title games and a Super Bowl loss to the Patriots.

Reid also had a close relationship with Lurie, was well-liked by the players and instilled a family atmosphere. That culture was an important element for Lurie. The environment had changed under Kelly, who was 26-21 in three seasons. Though he was an innovative coach, Kelly didn’t connect well with all his players and members of the organization.

So Lurie went back to what he knew and hired Pederson, Reid’s protege.

Lurie was quite familiar with Pederson, who was a quarterback for Reid with the Eagles in 1999 and then an assistant coach on his staff in Philadelphia and Kansas City.

Other coaches had more impressive resumes, but Lurie liked Pederson’s intangibles.

“I spent a lot of time with players at the end of that (2015) season and I thought what was really needed was a kind of leadership that leads with a genuineness, a real genuineness,” Lurie said. “And people laughed when I used the term ‘emotional intelligence,’ but that’s probably a really good way to describe it.

“There’s a lot of great coaches. They all have their different styles, but the one common ground among them all is absolute consistency and genuineness. And Doug Pederson is just himself. And at times that’s very humble, and at times it’s just very real. At times that’s very bright. At times it’s tough. But he does it in a true, genuine way and I think players really respond to that in today’s world.”

Naturally, Pederson learned from Reid.

“Being around him, he’s the same day in and day out,” Pederson said. “Same consistency. Same work ethic.”

Like Reid, Pederson had his share of critics. He wasn’t the people’s choice in Philly when he got the job and ESPN ranked him the worst hire of his coaching class at the time. Three of the six other coaches already have been fired.

“I don’t pay any attention to that, quite honestly,” Pederson said. “I drive home at night knowing I put in a full day’s work. I get up in the morning to come in here, and however I can serve this organization and serve these players, that’s all I know. I love football. I love coaching football. I love teaching it. I love being around these guys, and I’m going to pour my life into these players. If it’s good enough, great, because that’s all I know I can do and I’ve given it my best effort. So I don’t care about what’s written.”

Pederson cares about his players, improving their game and making them better men off the field. He gets what they’re going through because he played, although mostly as a backup. They trust in him and his coaching philosophy.

“Coach Pederson is an unbelievable coach to play for,” said Nick Foles, who went from backup quarterback to hero of the NFC championship game. “He just has such a great feel for the game.”

Pederson’s steady demeanor and positive approach helped the team overcome numerous injuries to key players, including Carson Wentz, Jason Peters and Jordan Hicks.

Seeing their coach never waver gave guys confidence they can beat anyone. It helps that Pederson has devised masterful game plans. He outcoached Mike Zimmer in the NFC championship game as Foles picked apart the top-ranked defense en route to Philadelphia’s 38-7 win over Minnesota .

“I played for some amazing coaches, and Doug is an unbelievable play caller,” Foles said. “He does a great job of deciding when to call each thing, but our staff is unbelievable at game planning and putting us in position, no matter if it’s the run game, the pass game, the screen game, whatever it may be. The attention to detail is unbelievable and we go into a game feeling 100 percent confident because of our staff and the work and long hours that they put in to get the game plan to us so that we can go out and execute. That’s big for an athlete when you can go out there and trust everything.”

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FILE – In this Jan. 26, 2018, Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson huddles with the team during practice at the team’s NFL football training facility in Philadelphia. Pederson is one win away from bringing Philadelphia the elusive Super Bowl title his mentor couldn’t deliver. If the Eagles beat New England on Sunday, Feb. 4 Pederson will hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy and Philadelphia would celebrate its first NFL title since beating Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers in 1960. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
http://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2018/01/web1_119750848-bf4b22f6c79d4c66b0b855ceb61569df-1.jpgFILE – In this Jan. 26, 2018, Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson huddles with the team during practice at the team’s NFL football training facility in Philadelphia. Pederson is one win away from bringing Philadelphia the elusive Super Bowl title his mentor couldn’t deliver. If the Eagles beat New England on Sunday, Feb. 4 Pederson will hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy and Philadelphia would celebrate its first NFL title since beating Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers in 1960. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

FILE – In this Jan. 25, 2018 file photo, Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson speaks with members of the media during an NFL football news conference at the team’s training facility in Philadelphia. Pederson is one win away from bringing Philadelphia the elusive Super Bowl title his mentor couldn’t deliver. If the Eagles beat New England on Sunday, Feb. 4 Pederson will hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy and Philadelphia would celebrate its first NFL title since beating Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers in 1960. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
http://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2018/01/web1_119750848-17bc4cf1e663471b8796b5d859fed559-1.jpgFILE – In this Jan. 25, 2018 file photo, Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson speaks with members of the media during an NFL football news conference at the team’s training facility in Philadelphia. Pederson is one win away from bringing Philadelphia the elusive Super Bowl title his mentor couldn’t deliver. If the Eagles beat New England on Sunday, Feb. 4 Pederson will hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy and Philadelphia would celebrate its first NFL title since beating Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers in 1960. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson arrives with his team for the NFL Super Bowl 52 football game Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018, in Minneapolis. Philadelphia a a scheduled to face the New England Patriots. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
http://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2018/01/web1_119750848-73db58202f3445e88bd348fa71a560bc-1.jpgPhiladelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson arrives with his team for the NFL Super Bowl 52 football game Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018, in Minneapolis. Philadelphia a a scheduled to face the New England Patriots. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

By ROB MAADDI

AP Pro Football Writer

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (15-3) vs. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (15-3)

Sunday, 6:30 p.m. ET, CBS

OPENING LINE — Patriots by 6 ½

RECORD VS. SPREAD — Eagles 10-6, Patriots 11-5

SERIES RECORD — Eagles lead 7-6

LAST MEETING — Eagles beat Patriots 35-28, Dec. 6, 2015

LAST WEEK — Eagles beat Vikings 38-7 in NFC championship game, Jan. 21; Patriots beat Jaguars 24-20 in AFC championship game, Jan. 21

AP PRO32 RANKING — Eagles No. 5, Patriots No. 1

EAGLES OFFENSE – OVERALL (7), RUSH (3), PASS (13)

EAGLES DEFENSE – OVERALL (4), RUSH (1), PASS (17)

PATRIOTS OFFENSE — OVERALL (1), RUSH (10), PASS (2)

PATRIOTS DEFENSE — OVERALL (29), RUSH (20), PASS (30)

STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES — Patriots beat Eagles 24-21 in Super Bowl to conclude 2004 season. This will be sixth Super Bowl rematch in NFL history. In last three rematches, team that won first game also won second game. … This is third Super Bowl in which each team ranked in top five in both points scored and fewest points allowed. Eagles were third in points scored (28.6 points per game) and fourth in points allowed (18.4). Patriots ranked second in points scored (28.6) and fifth in points allowed (18.5). … Eagles are 0-2 in Super Bowl. Eagles haven’t won NFL title since 1960. … Philadelphia has have seven players on active roster who’ve won Super Bowl. … Eagles are missing offensive, defensive and special-teams captains: QB Carson Wentz (knee), LB Jordan Hicks (Achilles tendon), S Chris Maragos. … LT Jason Peters (knee), RB Darren Sproles (knee) and K Caleb Sturgis (hip) also sustained season-ending injuries. … Eagles QB Nick Foles is 72 of 96 (75 percent) for 793 yards, five touchdowns, zero interceptions, and 116.3 rating in three playoff games. His rating is highest in postseason history, minimum 90 attempts. … Foles is only QB in team history to throw for 300-plus yards and three-plus TDs in postseason. … Foles and Joe Montana are only two QBs with consecutive playoff games completing 75 percent of passes. … RB LeGarrette Blount won two Super Bowls with Patriots in past three seasons before joining Philly. Blount has 10 TDs rushing in 10 playoff games. … Eagles DE Chris Long won Super Bowl with Patriots last season. … None of four players who’ve combined to score Eagles’ six TDs in playoffs was on team last year. … RB Jay Ajayi has 127 yards rushing in two playoff games. … WR Alshon Jeffery has nine catches for 146 yards and two TDs. … TE Zach Ertz has 11 catches for 125 yards. … WR Torrey Smith has eight catches for 108 yards and one TD. … Eagles haven’t allowed point in second half this postseason. … CB Patrick Robinson had 50-yard interception return for TD vs. Vikings in NFC title game. … Patriots are appearing in Super Bowl for 10th time. They are 5-4. … With sixth ring, New England would tie Pittsburgh for most in Super Bowl era. … Patriots can become ninth team in NFL history to repeat as Super Bowl champions and first since they won back-to-back titles for 2003 and 2004 seasons. … On 53-man active roster Patriots brought to Minnesota, 32 players have combined 60 games of Super Bowl experience…. Brady led NFL with 4,577 yards passing this season. No player to lead NFL in passing yards has won Super Bowl in that season (0-5). Brady, Peyton Manning, Rich Gannon, Kurt Warner and Dan Marino all lost in Super Bowl after leading league in passing yards. … Brady has played in seven Super Bowls and has 5-2 record … Brady and coach Bill Belichick will be making eighth Super Bowl appearance together, most NFL title games for any head coach and quarterback duo in league history. Their five victories together are most by coach and quarterback combination. … With victory, Belichick would pass Vince Lombardi and tie George Halas and Curly Lambeau for most NFL championships by coach in league history. … RB James White has scored six touchdowns (four rushing, two receiving) in his past three postseason games. Over past two postseasons (2016 and 2017), White leads NFL with seven total touchdowns and 44 points scored. … TE Rob Gronkowski has 10 career playoff TD receptions. He trails only Jerry Rice (22) and John Stallworth (12) for most in NFL playoff history. … Gronkowski’s 856 yards receiving and 10 TD receptions are most ever by tight end in NFL postseason history. … Patriots have 11 sacks in postseason, most in NFL. Eight players have at least one sack in this year’s playoffs, most by any team. … Three Patriots defensive ends — rookies Adam Butler and Deatrich Wise Jr., and Geneo Grissom — have two sacks apiece in this postseason. … LB James Harrison has 11 career postseason sacks, tied for fifth in NFL since individual sack became official statistic in 1982.

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