Without question, there is no Super Bowl 52 Championship for the Philadelphia Eagles without Doug Pederson and Carson Wentz. It’s indisputable.
Still, here we are just five years later, and Pederson is the head coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars, and Wentz is the new QB for the Washington Commanders. The two, whose careers in Philly have been indelibly linked since 2016, will now face each other to open their 2022 NFL seasons.
You had a first-time head coach and a quarterback that the organization traded a bajillion picks to move up and draft. It’s so easy to forget that Wentz was supposed to play a backup role his rookie season behind Sam Bradford — but then Bradford, Bradford’ed and got injured. Wentz was thrust into the starting role and never looked back. He had a decent rookie season followed by a Year 2 performance that earned the team a spot in the playoffs, ultimately resulting in a Super Bowl — even if he wasn’t on the field for it. Without Wentz’s 2017 regular season, the Eagles would not have been playoff contenders.
Despite the energy coming off that season, Pederson and Wentz failed to recreate the same dominant dynamic in 2018 — with much of the same roster —, and then again in 2019. What felt like the beginning of a new dynasty in Philly, quickly started looking like a team that needed to be rebuilt. In 2020, the organization used their second-round pick to draft Jalen Hurts, and what appeared to be Wentz’s downfall quickly began. By the end of the 2020 season, Pederson’s hand was finally forced — either by the front office, or by Wentz’s play — and the head coach benched their former No. 2 overall pick for Hurts in Week 13.
Not long after the 2020 season wrapped up, it was announced Doug Pederson was no longer the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles and Carson Wentz was headed to the Indianapolis Colts by way of trade. And that was it. The journey that was started by the pair together in 2016, had now ended, just four seasons later.
Pederson decided to take a year off before getting back into the league as a head coach, but he was an early, popular candidate for teams in 2022. Wentz, on the other hand, played for Frank Reich in Indianapolis in 2021 but struggled with injuries and really, really poor decision making in critical game-winning (or more often losing) moments. They just had to win in Week 18 over the Jaguars to get a spot in the postseason. It should have been a lock. But, it wasn’t. Wentz and the offense scored just 11 points. The team lost to Jacksonville, and Wentz lost the support of Colts’ owner Jim Irsay, leading to him being traded after just one season to the Washington Commanders.
All of that leads us to Doug Pederson coaching a team against his former star quarterback Carson Wentz in their season openers on Sunday afternoon.
Pederson still has a statue outside The Linc, and will go down as one of the best Eagles coaches in history thanks to the Super Bowl win. Carson Wentz, however, is anything but revered by fans and will now face those fans twice a year as quarterback in the NFC East.