I DON'T WANT to get all existential on you, but one of the problems with the world today is that nobody is willing to admit they don't know something. Whenever a situation arises in which somebody simply does not possess the information required to say something other than "I don't know," they say something else anyway, and usually that something is whatever fits with the overall worldview they have chosen to believe.
Take Doug Pederson. Nobody knows if he is going to be a good NFL head coach. I don't know. You don't know. Even the people who are hiring him don't know. If they did know, they wouldn't be hiring him in the first place, because they would already have a good NFL head coach, the guy they hired the last time, unless they had purposely hired a guy they knew would not be a good NFL coach, which, I think we all can agree, would have made for a curious strategy.
Problem is, the prevailing worldview says that the Eagles are a dysfunctional organization with a front office that has spent the last five years blaming everybody else for a situation in which it alone has been the constant. So instead of admitting that we know as much about Pederson's capabilities as an NFL head coach as we do Ben McAdoo's or Adam Gase's or Sean McDermott's, we say, "Lol look at these clowns hiring a guy who couldn't even play quarterback better than Donovan McNabb."
My intent is not to shame you into booking your hotel rooms for Super Bowl 51. Everybody knows it's going to be 49ers vs. Chiefs. My intent is to prevent you from a crippling case of cognitive dissonance should Pederson succeed. Definitive judgments based on imperfect information are the seeds of self-defeat. They are the first steps into that miserable vortex where everything Pederson does must support your initial premise, a vortex that might one day leave you looking back on a decade of divisional dominance and seeing only the passes he bounced at receivers' feet. Metaphorically speaking, of course.
I know, I know. You didn't come here for a lecture. But reality anymore seems to be a fungible thing, and it can really mess with your head if you start defining it before it happens.
Take yesterday's surreal run-up to our Les Bowen's report of Pederson's hiring. At 9:46 a.m., an NFL Network reporter said the Eagles were "set for a face-to-face meeting with Tom Coughlin today" after previously saying that talks between the two sides were "far down the line." At 12:53 p.m., an ESPN reporter had Coughlin "withdrawing his name from consideration." Later in the day, media in El Paso, Texas, reported that the man UTEP was set to introduce as its defensive coordinator had informed the school that he'd accepted a job as an Eagles assistant coach that morning. All of this came in the wake of an evening in which the Eagles were hot and heavy with McAdoo, despite all logic suggesting that the Giants had nudged Coughlin out the door specifically to clear the way for McAdoo, who had no reason to prefer a team without any of the stability at quarterback, wide receiver or general manager that his current team possessed.
All of this served to create the impression that the Eagles were scrambling to find someone, anyone who would take their job, which helped feed the impression of Pederson as an underqualified backup plan whose chief qualification was the endorsement of Andy Reid. Just like old times, waka waka!
That's unfortunate, not just because of the journalistic implications, but the ones for reality as well. Maybe everything went down in the order it was reported, the apparent contradictions a simple matter of accurate time. Or maybe what we witnessed was a proxy reality constructed entirely for the sake of real-world leverage. Either way, you should not let it obscure the fact that the Eagles were interested in Pederson even before they knew Coughlin was out of a job.
That interest was not a courtesy interest. People inside and outside of the Eagles' football operations department - present and past - rave about Pederson's personality, intellect and intuitiveness. As for concerns, his lack of play-calling experience pales in gravity to his lack of hiring experience and his lack of coaching experience under anybody outside of Andy Reid.
Pederson's success or failure will almost certainly be determined by two factors:
1) His ability to identify offensive and defensive coordinators who can identify their players' strengths and deploy them in a way that maximizes their production.
2) His front office's ability to succeed where it has failed miserably for the bulk of Howie Roseman's time at the helm. Look at the playoff teams and read the names of the players they've drafted since 2010 and think about what Chip Kelly's teams might have looked like with a similar number of them.
The only thing we know for sure is the Eagles took a chance. Columbus took a chance, and so did Robert Scott.
On Twitter: @ByDavidMurphy