His is a background in football. Dad was a coach. His brothers coached. Nick Sirianni "came out of the womb" with a football in his hands. He played through his college days at Mount Union and then transitioned to the college coaching game, first at Mount Union and then at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, before moving to the NFL in 2009 with Kansas City. Along the way, he has built a platform of beliefs on how to win, what it takes, what is mandated from the head coach to the players, and the responsibility of a coordinated effort on gamedays to get it done.
There are five branches of Sirianni's Win Tree, if you will, and he will stress those every day to his Philadelphia Eagles football team. I spoke with Sirianni ahead of his Friday press conference, and while he touched on the interview process with Chairman & CEO Jeffrey Lurie and the Eagles' contingent in Florida and as he spoke briefly about the roster – yes, the quarterback position included – and addressed his NFL coaching rise rung by rung on the ladder and what he learned along the way from the coaches who meant so much to him, what really stood out were the points of emphasis Sirianni will have with his football team.
These are his beliefs and his philosophies, and this is what he will impart on the Eagles' locker room each and every day. This is, then, a blueprint of sorts that Sirianni will lay out for his players, a kind of daily message he will bring to the players.
1. Connect and Trust
"What I think it boils down to is that we need to connect with each other," Sirianni said, "and ultimately trust, and that gets built through time. The connection and the trust gets built through time. We have different ways we want to think through that."
2. Compete with each other
"We want to compete with each other at all times," he said. "We're competing in the meeting room. We're competing on the field. We're competing outside of the meeting room when we're in between going from one meeting to another and there will be different ways to do that. I think competition is such a big thing that we want to establish here and build on here."
"Being accountable. Holding each other accountable. My job is to hold everybody accountable," Sirianni said. "Hold the players accountable for what they do on the field and hold the coaches accountable, but then I also want the coaches and players around to hold me accountable because we're all in this together. Being accountable is going to be one thing."
4. Playing smart football
"Being a smart football team – how are we going to know what to do? Knowing what to do takes no talent, right? So, if we can know what to do as far as our assignments, then our talent can shine. And then also being a very smart situational football team. We have good guys in this building that really care and believe in that, being a smart situational football team. That's going to be a big message of being a smart football team."
5. Fundamentals, fundamentals, fundamentals
"The thing that I'm trying to do now, as we hire a (coaching) staff, is hire great teachers of fundamentals, because here is what I believe: There is a lot of parity in the NFL. This player is really good and this player is really good and this coach called a good play and this coach called a good play and so what gives here? This really good player against this really good player and the coaches worked all night and stayed up all night to make sure they had a good plan, well, what gives? In my opinion, what gives is fundamentals and technique," Sirianni said. "If I can beat him with fundamentals, that's my edge."
Sirianni presents himself with authenticity, a passion for the game, an understanding from the player's point of view, and, ultimately, the understanding that he's here to win – and to win big. He is going to call the plays on offense for the first time in his career. Every step along the way is uncharted territory for a first-time head coach.
"I don't think there is a playbook for it, and that is the common theme as I have reached out to old mentors and people that I trust," Sirianni said. "There is not a playbook for it. Sometimes, there are things in football – OK, we're playing a Cover 3 team and they do this with the safety, boom, we have about a five-play inventory and we're going to get to this, this, and this. I don't think there's a playbook for it. I think it's just going to be a lot about those five things I just talked about, but I think what it comes down to, I know the things that I'm going to be challenged with is going to have to start with the connection that I make with people. It's a people business … it's just caring about people and building that relationship with people.
"Even though there's not a playbook, I think that can be a good start."
The Nick Sirianni Era begins with those five principles as he puts his Philadelphia Eagles program together.
Get an up-close look at new Eagles Head Coach, Nick Sirianni.