Doug Pederson has always compared his relationship with Carson Wentz to a marriage.
Instead of tying the knot, they were tied to each other’s success.
Going into Year 4, that hasn’t changed.
But since they joined the Eagles in 2016 as rookie head coach and rookie quarterback, that relationship has grown. They’ve gone through ups and downs, they’ve learned more about each other, and after Wentz was signed to a big extension, they expect that relationship will continue for many more years.
“It’s huge,” Wentz said last week. “Really, every single season since I’ve been here, my relationship with Doug has just continually grown. It’s more than just a coach-player relationship. It’s really a friendship. We talk about really anything and everything. Obviously X’s and O’s and scheme plenty, but just the way we’re kind of like-minded within schemes and systems like that but also off the field. It’s awesome having a guy like that I can grow with really from Day 1.”
Generally speaking, Pederson and Wentz have a similar outlook when it comes to football matters. But they don’t always agree.
That’s where the relationship comes into play.
Backup quarterback Nate Sudfeld explained that while Pederson and Wentz don’t always see everything exactly the same, it’s their open and honest relationship that allows them to get on the same page. They listen to one other and — more importantly — they each value the other’s input.
It’s not like this was a totally arranged marriage. Head coach and quarterback got to know each other during the 2016 pre-draft process. But they really didn’t get to date very long either. There was the Senior Bowl, the combine and a couple visits, but it was enough to tell the Eagles all they needed to know. It was a good start to their relationship, but it keeps growing and evolving. Each week during the season, normally on Thursday night, the two have a sit-down meeting and it’s not always about football. They have other shared interests like hunting and faith.
When you ask about off-the-field issues sometimes players can really respond, and I think for Carson and I that’s what we’ve kind of started in this last three-year journey, and just being open and honest with each other,” Pederson said last month. “Especially head coach-quarterback, and you’ve seen the great ones in the NFL that have been together for a long time.
It’s not always easy. There’s going to be discussions, there’s going to be heated discussions, but you know what? It’s like anything. Any family structure. You’re going to have an argument but you’re going to walk out and you’re going to be united when you go out on the football field. That’s the thing. Just being able to have those conversations, and just continue to cultivate that just goes a long way with the head coach-quarterback combination, and again the ones that have been successful have done that, have built that lifelong relationship that we have begun here.
As amazing as it might seem, there are just six NFL head coach-quarterback tandems that have been together longer than Pederson and Wentz. (The pairs that arrived to their teams the same year are noted with an asterisk.)
2000: Tom Brady-Bill Belichick*
2006: Drew Brees-Sean Payton*
2007: Ben Roethlisberger-Mike Tomlin
2011: Cam Newton-Ron Rivera*
2012: Russell Wilson-Pete Carroll
2015: Matt Ryan-Dan Quinn
2016: Dak Prescott-Jason Garrett
This means that of every QB-head coach duo in the NFL that has been together since 2016, all but one (Dallas) has been to a Super Bowl.
Five of the seven longest-tenured QB-head coach pairs in the league have won a Super Bowl together, including Wentz and Pederson, but you know the situation there. Wentz played a huge role in that 2017 season and earned his ring, but he of course wasn’t on the field for the Super Bowl.
In 11 seasons together, Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb won 92 regular-season games together, putting them in the top 10 tandems of all time. Wentz and Pederson have 23 wins together, so they have a long way to go. But they’ve already come a long way too. Back in 2016, the New York Daily News ranked them as the NFL’s 29th-best QB-coach tandem in the NFL.
Now, they’re arguably one of the best as their unique relationship continues to grow.
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