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Doug Pederson: Conservative play-calling leads to 8-8

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson
James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

On the NFL’s biggest stage with a backup quarterback, Doug Pederson called an aggressive game for the Philadelphia Eagles. The decision seemed bold, but the result was a Super Bowl victory.

According to Peter King of the MMQB, Pederson said he deployed the attacking strategy because playing scared only leads to average results.

“Playing quarterback, watching a lot of teams, a lot of football. You learn if you play passive, if you play conservative, if you call plays conservatively, you are going to be 8-8, 9-7 every year. Every year.”

Pederson added that he and offensive coordinator Frank Reich have a “collaborative spirit” and keep the game fresh, fun and exciting for their players. And did it ever.

King highlighted “Target left bunch, Philly special” — the trick-play touchdown — as the primary example of the team’s aggressiveness, but the Eagles had another key moment.

In the fourth quarter, Pederson elected to attempt a 4th-and-1 on Philadelphia’s side of midfield. That critical decision led to a conversion, sustained drive and the game-winning touchdown.

Pederson trusting his kicker on a late 46-yard field goal was notable, too. The second-year coach could’ve been scared about a miss and giving Tom Brady excellent field position but trotted out Jake Elliott, who drilled the kick for an eight-point lead.

In a football era where risk-averse offense is trumpeted, the Eagles strayed from the norm. And they were rewarded.

Hopefully, the attack-minded strategy will resonate around the league, and more coaches will play for wins rather than not to lose.