For much of the morning, Gregg Giannotti assured us that Doug Pederson is not a terrible candidate for head coach of the Jets.
Gio's right: the recently fired Philadelphia Eagles head coach is not the worst pick. He's just the wrong pick.
Since the firing is so recent and emotions are so raw, fingers are being pointed in opposing directions. Pederson took the fall in part for a failed organization that stopped drafting and developing players in the same slick manner that got them their only Super Bowl in franchise history. Team owner Jeffrey Lurie, who can't be fired, chose to fire the coach and keep the GM. Clashing reports say different circles of power within the franchise bungled their ugly QB situation at the end of the season.
But who did what to who or when they did it doesn't matter vis-a-vis the Jets.
Probably the best answer is Philly got fat after winning their only Super Bowl title. It's natural that they wouldn't play with the same edge or hunger of a hunter stalking their first championship. And it's quite possible that Pederson wouldn't coach the Jets with the same passion and purpose that led the Eagles over the Patriots in Super Bowl LII. It's not about X and O as much as who, when, and why. But even if you don't believe a single word of this admonition, history backs it up.
Only seven men have taken two teams to a Super Bowl as head coach: Dick Vermeil, Bill Parcells, Don Shula, Dan Reeves, John Fox, Mike Holmgren, and Andy Reid - and not one has won a Super Bowl with both (or in Fox’s case, any).
There's something charming, if not magical, about a coach being so singularly tethered to a team and town as they scratch and claw their way up the NFL mountain, all in search of a maiden ring. It's not rocket science to see this; it's basic human nature. Just look at the esprit de corps the Eagles had for those few months leading to their title. They adored the underdog role, and even wore canine masks as tokens of this solidarity. Something special, some spiritual chemistry, some amalgam of timing, talent, and desire fuels an NFL team all the way to February. It's much harder, if not impossible, to pull off this kind of alchemy if any part is softened by success.
As legendary boxer Marvin Hagler once said, it's tough to get out of bed at 5 a.m. to do roadwork when you're sleeping in silk pajamas. His point is well taken. After all the victory laps, award banquets, and self-indulgent late-night TV pit stops, a Super Bowl champion often falls apart naturally, like autumn leaves cascading from a tree.
Sure, any team would take someone like Parcells, who almost made it three Super Bowl teams when he nearly scaled the mountain with the Jets. The problem is there's only one Bill Parcells, who attacks the job with the same savage hunger of a rookie. It would be fair to assume just about all coaches change after they slide on that glittering ring coated in diamonds and labeled in Roman numerals.
The Jets are largely doing the right thing, looking for candidates among the many talented and eager assistants pacing NFL sidelines. The problem? Too often, they pick from the right group, but choose the wrong guy.
Teams all around the NFL are all set at coach - from the Rams to the Cardinals to the 49ers to the Giants - by just finding the right neophyte. Someone like those head coaches is ready and eager to be Gang Green's next man up.
Doug Pederson isn't the worst possible pick. He's just not the best pick. And after all this suffering, the Jets owe their fans the right pick, not a safe pick.
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