Doug Pederson's new book Fearless: How an Underdog Becomes a Champion hit stores Tuesday, giving Eagles fans another chance to relive last year's magical Super Bowl run before the 2018 regular season begins in just more than two weeks.
The book chronicles the entire 2017 season through the eyes of the Eagles' head coach providing remarkable insight and bringing fans into the Eagles' locker room and the coaches' meeting room during the most important games in franchise history.
When Pederson spoke to reporters prior to practice on Tuesday at the NovaCare Complex, he explained the reasons he wrote the book and how personal the writing process was for him.
"When the project was first introduced, I was against it," Pederson said. "Quite honestly, I didn't want to do it. Then I got to thinking, it's a way for people, I think, to see me in a different light. You guys see me like this as coach, being around the team. I'm a very private person. I don't talk about myself, my family a bunch. It's just a way for people to kind of get to know me outside of football. I didn't want it to be a sports book. If it's motivational, if it's inspirational, if it's spiritual, or whatever it is, that's kind of the message behind this project."
The first chapter of the book begins with a look at the gutsy coach's confidence going into the big game. Entitled "I'm Going to Kick Your Tail," the first page includes Pederson's thoughts as he shook hands with Patriots head coach Bill Belichick on the field at the Super Bowl.
"But as much respect as I had for him, I was looking at him thinking of all the hard work it took to get to the Super Bowl, and all the doubters and naysayers who said our season was over after we lost our franchise quarterback. I was thinking of the sacrifice of long hours by my coaching staff. I was thinking of the players who committed to taking ownership," Pederson wrote. "And then I thought the Patriots had no idea what the championship was about to them. I looked at him and thought, 'I'm going to kick your tail, definitely going to kick your tail.'"
Pederson then went back and described the week leading up to the game. He detailed the incredible practices and individual efforts in practice by players like Alshon Jeffery, showing that the team was ready for the big moment. He also admitted that several players and coaches -- including himself -- came down with the flu or flu-like symptoms before the big game.
Luckily, everyone recovered and even had time to enjoy the Super Bowl week in Minneapolis, staying loose and having fun. Pederson wrote about the time he spent with his family at the Eagles' party the Friday before the game. He even enjoyed the Nickelodeon Universe amusement park in the Mall of America.
"I love roller coasters. 'You're an NFL head coach and it's the Friday before the Super Bowl,' I thought. 'You're supposed to represent the Philadelphia Eagles and set an example.' And then I said to myself, 'Let's go. What the heck!'
"Avatar Airbender was my favorite. I rode that and Rock Bottom Plunge three times. And then I rode Fairly Odd Coaster twice. They let us stay a little later for a couple more rides after they shut down at 10:00. It was fun to enjoy the moment with the boys. I came back to the party, and Dom (DiSandro, vice president of security) asked where I'd gone. I said, 'Dude, you gotta come on this ride!' He was shocked."
While fans get to see Pederson's fun side, they also are able to read about the making of one of the most iconic plays in Eagles history: The Philly Special. One anecdote that may surprise Eagles fans is that Pederson thought about never running it at all after the team struggled to execute it in practice.
"The first time we did it, Trey (Burton) threw a heat-seeking missile to Nick (Foles). That wasn't going to work," he wrote. "'Trey, you can't throw it that hard,' I advised him. 'Throw a grenade to him. Just float it to him and let it come down in his hands.'" We ran it again and then he overthrew it, sailed it 5 yards over Nick's head. At that point I said, 'OK, got it, let's move on to the next play. I don't think I'll be calling this.'"
But, as everyone now knows, Pederson did call the play on fourth down from the goal line with just 38 seconds left in the first half. Pederson finished the opening chapter by speaking to the truly fearless mindset he had to have to call that play.
"You hear people say, "Man, that was the gutsiest call in Super Bowl history," and I just shrug," Pederson wrote. "I trust my players. Nick made a suggestion, and I agreed to it. I could have just trumped it, but then again, earlier I was standing next to Bill Belichick at the 50-yard line and thinking about how I was going to beat his tail. The play was awesome. It worked great.
"Some have said that if the players didn't execute, I'd be on the street now, looking for a job. But I never thought about that. You can't. If I had, I wouldn't have called the play."
Fans can order Pederson's book or find more information about it here. Pederson will appear at a book signing event at 7 p.m. on Friday night at the Barnes & Noble at 1805 Walnut Street in Philadelphia.