MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) - At first glance the coaching clash for Sunday’s Super Bowl appears to be a gross mismatch but Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson could cause trouble for his more accomplished New England Patriots counterpart.
When Pederson slips on his headset on Sunday for the biggest game of his young coaching career he will be standing opposite Bill Belichick, a five-time Super Bowl-winning coach who is considered the league’s best.
“Obviously it’s a challenge when you go up against a smart coach, an intelligent coach, a coach that’s going to have his team well prepared,” Pederson told reporters on Tuesday.
“We just have to make sure that we are all focused and it’s a commitment to obviously the team and to the organization to stay on top of that.
“Try to anticipate the best you can and try to put your guys in the best possible scenario and situation on gameday to
expect certain things.”
While Pederson, who was a back-up quarterback with the Green Bay Packers for their Super Bowl triumph in 1997, does not have anywhere near the same reputation as Belichick he has been on an incredible roll.
He clearly possesses impressive motivational tools as he steered his team through the playoffs after starting quarterback Carson Wentz went down with a season-ending injury last month.
The Eagles have clearly bought into Pederson’s next-man-up attitude but his impact on the team goes much deeper.
Pederson, in only his second year as a NFL head coach, has already gained a reputation as one of the league’s most aggressive tacticians.
Opposing teams are well aware he is not shy to go for it on fourth downs and that he enjoys taking shots down the field, even with backup quarterback Nick Foles now at the helm of the Eagles offense.
Still, the Eagles will be an underdog in the Super Bowl, a role that Pederson said his players are not fussed about.
“Our guys don’t read into too much about what’s written or said. Our guys just go about their business every single day. We know what we’re faced against, we know the opponent we’re going against,” said Pederson.
“Lot of respect for them obviously and what they’ve done and what they’ve accomplished,” said Pederson.
“It’s about what we do. How our players handle this week and eliminate distractions and eliminate the noise and how well they prepare and get themselves ready to go.”
Editing by Greg Stutchbury