PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Philadelphia Eagles have fired head coach Doug Pederson after five years with him at the helm.
In a Monday afternoon tweet, the Eagles said Pederson spoke with owner Jeffrey Lurie and they decided it "is in both of our best interests to part ways."
Many expected Pederson to keep his job despite an abysmal 4-11-1 season — the first in which Philadelphia missed the playoffs since 2016 — but Lurie has decided to go in another direction.
Pederson said he is grateful Lurie gave him the opportunity, and it has been an "absolute honor" to serve as head coach.
"To the City of Philadelphia," he added, "thank you for embracing me and this team. I truly appreciate that passion you bring every single day — at home, on the road, and in the community. No matter what, you were always right there with us."
Pederson lasted five seasons as the Eagles' head coach, compiling a regular-season record of 42-37, two NFC East titles, and a postseason record of 4-2 — which, of course, includes bringing Philadelphia its first-ever Super Bowl title.
His job appeared safe last week, but speculation about the coach’s future ramped up over the weekend. In the end, Pederson and Lurie had two different visions about how the Eagles should approach the future. It was a stalemate Pederson was destined to lose.
“Sometimes you just have to look toward the future,” said Lurie. “You try to evaluate things in an unemotional path as possible … and arrive at a decision that might make you very uncomfortable, but you have to feel — honestly, my first allegiance is what will be best for the Philadelphia Eagles and our fans for the next three, four, five years.”
What's best for the Eagles going forward is a question with a variety of opinions. Lurie indicated Pederson believed it was not a time to step back and retool. Lurie believes otherwise, after three years of trying to duplicate their Super Bowl success.
“I would say the difference in vision is much more about where we’re at as a franchise,” Lurie continued. “As I said, we’re at that point. It’s a transition point and we’ve got to get younger and we have to have a lot more volume of draft picks and we have to accumulate as much talent as we possibly can that is going to work in the long run.
“It’s almost not fair to Doug, because his vision has to be, what can I do to fix this right away, and what coaches can I have that can help me get to a smoother 2021?”
Some believe Lurie fired the wrong man. The target of criticism from many fans has been Howie Roseman. The general manager has had a series of poor draft decisions and questionable personnel moves.
Lurie made it clear he has complete faith in Roseman and the rest of the front office.
“One of the jobs of the general manager is to attract really good people and executives around him. because it’s not meant for one person,” said Lurie. “There’s mistakes, but what I have to look at is the process and I have to look at the performance over time, but most importantly, I have to look at the process. But in terms of every level of the football operation, I am really confident of where we’re at.”
The Eagles' next head coach will be the third since Andy Reid was fired before the 2013 season. After they hire a new coach, the offseason attention will immediately turn to the quarterback position.
Carson Wentz’s underwhelming 2020 season was a major storyline this year for the Eagles, who finished in last place in the NFC East.
The decision to play rookie quarterback Jalen Hurts in the final stretch of games reportedly hampered Wentz's relationship with Pederson. But reports following the team's Week 17 primetime loss to the Washington Football Team suggested other players, in addition to Wentz, may have lost faith in Pederson.
But Pederson may not remain unemployed for long. Six other NFL teams are looking for head coaches, and one of them may want to take a chance on someone who has won the Super Bowl and reached the playoffs three out of the last four years.
Wherever Pederson goes, he will still have the support of Lurie.
“I actually think it’s better for both the organization and for Doug,” Lurie said. “I really, really expect him to be a successful head coach in this league, and it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if he is on another NFL team later this week.
“I’m certainly there for any owner that wants to talk about hiring Doug because I will be a major fan.”