Doug Pederson's quickly making his mark with the Jacksonville Jaguars, but he'll forever be linked to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Having navigated the Eagles' first and only Super Bowl triumph, Pederson will make his return to the City of Brotherly Love on Sunday for the Jaguars' Week 4 game against an undefeated Philly squad.
Pederson said Monday he's looking forward to his return – no matter the reaction he receives.
"My wife and I, our family, we have a lot of great memories back there," Pederson said, via team transcript. "I spent eight or nine years there, one with [former Eagles head] coach [Andy] Reid and then once obviously as the head coach and brought that city a championship and something to be proud of obviously.
"I'm really looking forward to getting back there. I understand that city, I understand that passion for football, but now I'm on the other side. It's still a long way away. It's seven days away or six days away, but we have to prepare this week like we have these last couple of weeks. But I'm looking forward to it, to getting back up there. It's been a great place. We did a lot of good things there and I'm looking forward to hopefully the welcome."
Over five seasons as Philadelphia's head coach from 2016 through 2020, Pederson piloted the Eagles to three playoff berths, including a 2017 run to a Super Bowl win. A statue was subsequently erected of him and quarterback Nick Foles paying homage to the "Philly Special" play that keyed the franchise's Super Bowl LII triumph.
Fired following the 2020 season, Pederson was dismissed from the Eagles right around the same time that the Jaguars began targeting Urban Meyer as their next head coach. As fate and a stunningly ill-starred 2021 season would have it, Meyer would last less than one season in Jacksonville, which eventually led to Pederson's return as a head coach.
Down in Duval, Pederson led the Jaguars (2-1) to their best start since 2018 and in a note of head-scratching trivia is already tied for fifth all-time in Jaguars history for coaching wins. He is tied with Mike Mularkey (2-14), Mel Tucker (2-3) and, of course, Meyer (2-11).
"We are [feeling good], obviously the way we've won, the way the guys have come together to win, we're healthy, relatively healthy as a football team," Pederson said. "[There's] still a lot of football ahead of us. You never look past the current week you're in, the current situation you're in, but I've been pleased with the direction, the leadership of the team, and where we are as a football team right now."
Pederson's successor in Philly, Nick Sirianni, captained the Eagles to a surprising playoff berth in 2021 and now has his squad off to a 3-0 start – its best since 2016, which was Pederson's first year at the helm.
Now, Pederson, 54, is back for the first time as an opposing coach.
He's hoping to get a welcoming reaction from the Philly fans, but, as aforementioned, he understands the city he's returning to.
"It could be mixed," said Pederson, who also played a season for the Eagles during his 10-year NFL playing career. "Listen, I have to get this team here ready to go and I'm not going to be concerned with that. You hope it's a good one obviously for the things you did there, but I also know that crowd and they can be a little hostile and [I'm] looking forward to that too. Listen, understanding that and having been there and worked there, you just understand that it's [how it is]. Even when I was there and we were winning games or losing games, you were still getting booed."