The Philadelphia Eagles, who lost MVP candidate Carson Wentz to a torn ACL in December, are back in the Super Bowl for the first time since 2004.
Philly made short work of the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship on Sunday, turning an early 7-0 deficit into a 38-7 bludgeoning – and head coach Doug Pederson deserves a lot of praise.
“Doug Pederson never really got enough credit,” Eagles sideline reporter Howard Eskin said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “I know Sean McVay did a great job and the Pro Football Writers voted him as Coach of the Year, but Doug Pederson is the Coach of the Year. There’s not a question in my mind because he got them all together, got them all on the same page. It’s hard to get a chemistry among players, but they have players on that team – more than eight to 10 – that (are true leaders).”
Some analysts, for example, wondered if trading for Jay Ajayi midseason was the right move. After all, Ajayi had a reputation for being a bit of a malcontent in Miami, so what if he causes problems in Philly?
Well, he didn’t. And he had 99 total yards against the Vikings.
“They never even let it get to that point,” Eskin said of the leaders within the Eagles locker room. “These players will make sure that everybody is out for everybody else, whether you get enough carries, whether you get enough catches. This team is not the Cowboys, where Dez Bryant whines and Ezekiel Elliott will whine. You have these whiners that are never happy enough about what the team does (and are more concerned about) what they do. The Eagles, it’s just something about the personality. It’s something about the head coach. It’s really hard to pinpoint why. But it is an Eagles team that has the most chemistry of any – any – Eagles football team I have ever covered. And that’s been quite a while. There’s no complainers. There’s no one or two guys that are just worried about themselves.”
Unlike, say, the last time the Eagles went to the Super Bowl.
“TO is a great player and he should get into the Hall of Fame,” Eskin said of Terrell Owens. “However, he created division in that locker rom that year – Donovan McNabb against him – and then players took sides. You can’t have that if you’re going to win. This team doesn’t have that. When Nick Foles came in, they all embraced him and rallied around him. He’s not Carson Wentz, but my gosh, he did a hell of a job in that game. He did an unbelievable job in that game.”
Foles finished 26-of-33 for 352 yards and three touchdowns against Minnesota.
Up next? A date with Tom Brady and the Patriots in Super Bowl LII on Feb. 4. Kickoff is at 6:30 p.m. ET.