ST. PAUL, Minn. – Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Lurie spoke for an hour during the Super Bowl Opening Night festivities about his NFC champion Eagles, the structure of the roster, and the head coach, Doug Pederson.
Questioned two years ago about the decision to hire Pederson, and mocked in some circles, Lurie had no doubt that he hired the right man to lead the football team. He wanted someone with "emotional intelligence" and in the course of an hour, he discussed what that term meant to him and the Eagles.
"It was important to have a very genuine, collaborative coach who was smart, poised, and who could be tough when needed," Lurie said. "I wanted someone the players could relate to. I spent a lot of time with the players before we did that coaching search and one thing that I really took notice of was that in today's sports world athletes want a lot of genuineness.
"If you want to get maximum performance – you're going to have different styles. You can be (Patriots coach) Bill Belichick-like, you can be (former NFL head coach Bill) Parcells-like, you can be (former 49ers head coach) Bill Walsh-like, you name it, but you've got to consistent and genuine. Howie (Roseman) and I were committed to those two things more than anything.
"We wanted to get that kind of head coach and that kind of quarterback and I think we've done that."
Pederson's ability to remain unflappable in the face of all obstacles a head coach faces, the ups and downs of a season, also made him an attractive candidate. In Kansas City, where he was the offensive coordinator for three seasons, Pederson's Chiefs had some early-season stumbles in 2015 before getting on track and reaching the postseason.
His reputation as a coach who can handle adversity has paid off given the Eagles' spate of injuries this season and the challenges the Eagles faced – trading starting quarterback Sam Bradford, Lane Johnson's 10-game suspension, for example – in Pederson's rookie year as head coach.
"Nothing fazes him and that's what I thought we were getting in Doug," Lurie said. "When he's tough, he's genuine. He's not making it up. That's what I'm talking about. I've seen him rip players apart and sometimes they needed it, but it's coming from a genuineness. That's why it's effective."
Lurie is all business on this trip, with the Opening Night part of the overall picture at the Super Bowl. He is digging in, just one win away from bringing the Lombardi Trophy to Philadelphia.
"We're here to win a football game," he said. "That's the bottom line. That's why we're here. I'm laser-focused on this football game and winning the Super Bowl. That is the only objective."