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Dublin: 2°C Thursday 21 January 2021

Eagles fire Super Bowl-winning coach Pederson a week after alleged 'tank job'

Doug Pederson steered Philly to their first NFL championship since 1960 three years ago but his final game was shrouded in controversy.

Doug Pederson (L).
Doug Pederson (L).
Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

DOUG PEDERSON WAS fired as head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday, three seasons after guiding the team to its first NFL title since 1960.

Eagles chairman and owner Jeffrey Lurie announced his decision in a statement, saying it was best to part ways with Pederson after a woeful season — going 4-11 with one drawn.

What would transpire to be the final game of Pederson’s tenure resulted in a controversial defeat as, trailing by three points in the fourth quarter of their game against the playoff-chasing Washington Football Team in an NFC East clash, Pederson substituted his starting quarterback Jalen Hurts for a comparably unknown entity in third-stringer Nate Sudfeld.

The Eagles subsequently lost the game, meaning they would select sixth as opposed to ninth in the 2021 NFL draft. Amid reported discontent within the organisation and from Philly fans and former players alike at Pederson’s handling of the fourth quarter, among those to accuse them of ‘tanking’ — or deliberately losing for future gain — were players of the Philadelphia’s archrivals, the New York Giants, who would have made the playoffs at Washington’s expense if the Eagles had turned around their three-point deficit to win the game.

“I’ve spent the last few weeks evaluating everything from this past year and looking ahead,” Lurie said. “We’re all very disappointed with the way our season went and eager to turn things around, not just for next season but also for the future of the franchise.

“Coach Pederson and I had the opportunity to sit down and discuss what that collective vision would look like moving forward. After taking some time to reflect on these conversations, I believe it’s in both of our best interests to part ways.”

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Pederson went 42-37-1 over five season as coach of the Eagles, including a 41-33 victory over New England in Super Bowl 52 in 2018 at Minneapolis.

Pederson, 52, is a former player who spent most of he career as a backup to legendary Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre.

The Eagles went 9-7 in each of the next two seasons, losing in the first and second rounds of the playoffs, before slumping in 2020.

“As the leader of this organisation, it’s imperative for me to do what I believe is best for everyone as we look ahead to the future and move into our next chapter,” Lurie said.

“I know that we have work to do to get back to where we want to be, but I also believe that we have an exceptionally strong group of people in this organisation who can help set us up for future success.”

© – AFP, 2021

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