August 20, 2018
In just his second season as an NFL head coach, Doug Pederson shocked the world last year by leading the Philadelphia Eagles to their first Super Bowl title in franchise history.
Most who didn't see the parade coming probably felt the Eagles just weren't quite there yet, especially after the talent purge and fallout of the Chip Kelly years.
Mike Lombardi, a former NFL executive-turned-analyst, was a special kind of Pederson skeptic, as most fans remember well. He bashed Pederson as the least-qualified person in the league to be coaching an NFL team and wound up eating those words slowly and reluctantly until the bitter end of the Super Bowl.
If this were a simple case of a professional analyst embarrassing himself by badly misreading a situation, that would be one thing. Apparently, Lombardi had the audacity to want to co-write Pederson's book after all he said to publicly trash him.
In his new column for ProFootballTalk, Peter King shares his impressions from, "Fearless: How an Underdog Becomes a Champion," the Pederson book co-written with Dan Pompei of Bleacher Report and The Athletic.
At one point, Pederson addresses the slight he received from Lombardi:
Pederson, in the book, says Lombardi wrote him a letter during the playoffs last season. “It was written on a typewriter, and was about three paragraphs long,” Pederson writes. “The letter said, ‘The first rule of any informed opinion is to never begin with the end in mind. And I violated that rule. For that, I extend my sincere apology.’ I was appreciative, and at least it showed he was man enough to admit he was wrong.”
Out on Tuesday, "Fearless" was published by Hachette, one of several publishers that had interest in the project.
Pederson noted that among those companies, one whose name was undisclosed had the nerve to approach him with the suggestion that Mike Lombardi write the book with him.
"I said, respectfully, 'No thanks,"" Pederson wrote.
The notion that Lombardi was being positioned to profit off of his incredibly bad and insulting take is nauseating to consider. Why the world would ever work that way is beyond comprehension. It's a reflection of Pederson's character that he showed such restraint in his response (privately, he perhaps turned to his family and friends and said: "Are you f***ing kidding me?").
No matter what the rest of Pederson's coaching career looks like, Lombardi's season-long hedging against the 2017-18 Eagles is a stain that's going to stick. Bottom line, Pederson delivered one of the most brilliantly coached seasons in NFL history.