In roundabout way, Eagles get their guy

16 days ago, the Eagles dropped a bomb of an announcement with the firing of Chip Kelly. 16 days later, Kelly found a new job and the Eagles filled their coaching vacancy just hours apart.

When the Eagles began their search, they started internally. The first two candidates interviewed were Duce Staley and Pat Shurmur.

But in between Staley's interview on New Year's Day and Shurmur's interview on Jan. 4, another name surfaced, the first from an outside team to be linked to the Eagles.

It was Doug Pederson.

It was Jan. 3, the final day of the NFL's regular season and there was Pederson, already surfacing as a leading candidate for the job.

That was 11 days ago and in between, there may have been numerous offers to other coaches and coordinators that will never see the light of day. But in the back of the minds of Jeffrey Lurie, Howie Roseman and Don Smolenski, Pederson was there.

Pederson will now become the next head coach of the Eagles, to be announced only after he completes his duties with the Kansas City Chiefs who remain in the playoffs and face the New England Patriots in the AFC Divisional Round on Saturday. Pederson has been the offensive coordinator under Andy Reid in Kansas City for the last three seasons.

Pederson didn't have the resume that other candidates had, certainly nothing as impressive as a former NFL head coach like Tom Coughlin or the hype that other coordinators had, certainly nothing like Adam Gase, Ben McAdoo or Hue Jackson

But Pederson always had the ties to Philadelphia that were still in excellent standing. 

Pederson was the under-the-radar candidate. The Eagles were the only team to interview him, leaving no pressure on whether another team would be coming for his services. 

As the search wore on, two things forced the Eagles to go in the direction they did. They weren't an attractive enough destination for a highly-touted coordinator like Gase, who opted for the Miami Dolphins instead. They didn't have anyone already hired that truly made them comfortable moving forward — hence the reasons Shurmur wasn't hired and the reason Ben McAdoo ended up staying with the Giants and becoming their new head coach. And in the end, they ultimately ran out of options.

With no way to know how serious the Eagles interest was in guy's like Gase, who slowly emerged as the favorite for the job before the Dolphins came in, or McAdoo, who stayed on with the Giants after nearly being hired by the Eagles a day earlier, but it seems as though the Eagles always kept Pederson in their back pocket.

There was no competition. There was no threat of losing. If they gambled and lost in going after other coaches, they could always fall back on Pederson because he was their guy.

And Pederson too fit what Lurie and company were looking for. He would be a fresh, but familiar face, having already coached with the Eagles before. Not having that experience, he wouldn't be the power-hungry head coach that Kelly was, so the collaboration Lurie was looking for wouldn't hold anything up. And while there isn't much known on his personality as a coach or his relationships with players, there was no indication or track record to go against him.

The first name truly associated with the Eagles ended up with the job. So the Eagles, essentially, got their guy. It just wasn't necessarily their first choice.

Kevin Durso is managing editor for Eagledelphia. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.

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