Doug Pederson is changing the NFL and it bit him Sunday


Since he was hired in 2016, Doug Pederson has quickly established himself as one of the most aggressive coaches in the NFL and even rode that reputation to a Super Bowl win last season. 

We've kind of expected other coaches to copy his style — it is a copycat league, after all — but it came back to bite the Eagles on Sunday in the 26-23 loss in Nashville. 

In overtime, Titans head coach Mike Vrabel was forced to make a tough decision. It was 4th-and-2 from the Eagles' 32-yard line. Either line up for a 50-yard kick to tie the game or go for it and have a chance to score a touchdown and win. 

A missed field goal would have meant a loss. At best, it would have meant a tie. 

So Vrabel channeled his inner Pederson. After a timeout, he put his offense back on the field. 

Speaking with NBC Sports' Peter King in Football Morning in America, Vrabel explained part of his reasoning: 

I think people are more conscious of making [risky] decisions like this than ever before. I studied Philadelphia a lot this offseason. Doug is the gold standard when it comes to making bold moves like this. We talked at the owners' meetings and I've called him a few times about things. I'm lucky he's been approachable about some of the things he does. So I've done a few things. We threw a pass on a punt to a gunner [for a touchdown] against Houston.

It's not just Vrabel, of course, taking that aggressive mindset. Former offensive coordinator Frank Reich made a risky call in his game, a decision that ended in failure but was appreciated by the Colts and seemingly most of their fans. 

The somewhat ironic part of Sunday is that Vrabel beat Pederson using that trademark aggressiveness in a game where Pederson probably wasn't aggressive enough. 

Just before halftime, Pederson elected to run the ball from the 10-yard line instead of taking a shot at the end zone. The Eagles settled for a field goal. And then in the fourth quarter, he punted on 4th-and-4 from the Eagles' 42-yard line down three points. That one ended up working out as the defense finally got a stop.

He might have abandoned it slightly Sunday, but Pederson's aggressiveness isn't going anywhere. It's his trademark and it's part of what has made him a good coach. 

It just seems like the rest of the league is catching up.

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