Over the last 29 years, only four NFL coaches have gone for it on fourth down as often as Doug Pederson did in his first two seasons as Eagles coach. While the number of fourth-down attempts doesn’t always reflect aggressiveness – many are necessary for trailing teams – 32 games is a large enough sample. Pederson went for it 53 times – eight times more than the next team over that same span and 23 times more than the league average. Numbers tell only part of the story. Anyone who watched the Eagles over the last two years saw that Pederson liked to fly outside the envelope and not just on fourth down. He’d go for two, as he did against the Panthers after an early-third-quarter touchdown which broke a 10-10 tie. He’d push for points despite time limitations, as he did against the New York Giants with Jake Elliott’s game-winning 61-yard field goal. And Pederson didn’t turtle up in the postseason. He had the Eagles drive 60 yards for a field goal with 29 seconds left before the first half in the NFC championship game. He converted on all three fourth-down tries in the playoffs, including twice in the Super Bowl, with the “Philly Special” trick play being the most aggressive and memorable. But Pederson wasn’t reckless. He used analytics. When there was gray area his lead-foot approach often led to a conversion or points and ultimately wins — the last a championship. Naturally, teams around the NFL have noticed. Polling coaches and general managers for lessons learned from the Super Bowl-winning team is often a rite of passage at the annual combine. And the answers have been varied.
Doug Pederson's aggressiveness likely to be copied by other NFL coaches
Philly.com | Mar 3