Eagles coach Doug Pederson has revealed in his new book, Fearless, that a publishing house had suggested that Mike Lombardi, perhaps his most outspoken critic, should help him write the manuscript. Lombardi, who has a podcast on TheRinger.com and has appeared frequently on Philadelphia media outlets, is a former NFL executive who worked for various teams, including the Eagles. Among other criticisms, Lombardi said last year that Pederson"was less qualified to coach a team than anyone I've ever seen." Below are excerpts from the book that likely would have resulted from a Pederson-Lombardi collaboration.
"Everyone knows I wasn't a head coach. Even I knew I wasn't a head coach when Jeffrey Lurie brought me in for an interview. At first, I thought the discussion with Jeffrey went just OK, mostly because I was a bit distracted. I was the Chiefs' offensive coordinator at the time, and the interview took place while we were still in the playoffs and preparing to play the Patriots. But I came to realize later that no head-coaching candidate had ever had a worse interview in the history of the NFL and that I was fortunate that Jeffrey took enough pity on me to hire me. Bruce Springsteen said, 'There's a darkness on the edge of town,' and I knew in that moment that a similar darkness was descending on Philadelphia because of me."
"We closed out the 2016 season with victories over the Giants and Cowboys that upped our record to 7-9. I had felt pretty good about where we were. Carson Wentz had survived his growing pains; it was pretty clear we had found our franchise quarterback. But I soon realized that, because I had not been to four Super Bowls as an underling and confidant to Bill Walsh and Bill Belichick and Al Davis, because I had not spent 35 years studying the NFL and 34½ years telling people how much time I had spent studying the NFL, I was wrong. Our 7-9 record wasn't like the 7-9 record from the season before, when Chip Kelly was coaching the team. Chip's team was a sharp, crisp 7-9 (well, 6-9, actually, since he was fired before the last game). We were a sloppy and unprepared 7-9. Big difference.
"I would have understood if people were skeptical that we could improve enough in one offseason to win a Super Bowl, but I didn't understand at the time that we had no chance of winning a Super Bowl unless the Eagles fired me. Bruce Springsteen, whom many consider to be the greatest songwriter and lyricist of our time, once sang, 'I'm in love with the queen of the supermarket,' and to be honest, she would have been a better head coach than I was in 2016. The immortal Roy Rubin, who coached the 76ers during their 9-73 season, lasted 51 games. Everyone knew I wouldn't last as long as that. That was the Eagles' only chance. They had to admit their mistake. They had to stop sticking to 'The Pederson Principle.' To this day, I don't know why they didn't."
"Marcus Aurelius said, 'Whatever happens to you has been waiting to happen since the beginning of time,' and when you put it that way, it was a big mistake for me not to know ahead of time that Carson was going to injure his knee that day in Los Angeles. I should have known it would happen, and I wasn't ready when it happened. A good coach would have been ready. Bill Belichick would have been ready. Bill Walsh would have been ready. Bill Murray would have been ready. I was just Doug. I wasn't ready. We had no choice but to play Nick."
"Frank Reich, John DeFilippo and I had finished our final meeting ahead of the Falcons game. It had taken us the better part of two weeks, but we had finally revamped our offense, adding more run-pass-option plays to better suit Nick's skill set.
"Really, I should never have made those adjustments. Aristotle said, 'We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.' And here I was, casting aside what we had repeatedly done all season. There was a smart man – a much smarter man than I was or ever will be – who worked under Bill Belichick. One day, Belichick told him, 'Mumble mumble, hmma hmma, fizurp fizurp.' And that man never forgot it, because it was the most profound insight into leadership and football strategy that he had ever heard. But I did not heed that insight. I changed the offense anyway."
"One day, I received a letter in the mail. It had been written on a typewriter and was just three paragraphs. It said:
"I apologize for my criticism of you over the past two years. Bruce Springsteen once said, 'You can't start a fire without a spark.' I guess I did the same thing for you.
"Just remember: Records are meaningless. Bill Walsh wrote a book called 'The Score Takes Care of Itself.' He was right. It's about the process, and by that standard, Coach Belichick and the Patriots actually won Super Bowl LII. They win every Super Bowl. Also remember: Al Davis said, 'Just win, baby.' He was right, too. I'm not sure how both of those two ideas could be right at the same time, but whatever.
"Anyway, I'm sorry. Congrats.
"He's a swell guy, that Mike Lombardi."