Football

His gutty calls and football mind helped win a Super Bowl. He’s got good hands, too

A fan reaches out to touch the Lombardi Trophy carried by Philadelphia Eagles coach Doug Pederson during the Super Bowl LII victory parade, Thursday, Feb 8, 2018, in Philadelphia. Peterson was born in Bellingham and grew up in Ferndale, graduating from Ferndale High School in 1986.
A fan reaches out to touch the Lombardi Trophy carried by Philadelphia Eagles coach Doug Pederson during the Super Bowl LII victory parade, Thursday, Feb 8, 2018, in Philadelphia. Peterson was born in Bellingham and grew up in Ferndale, graduating from Ferndale High School in 1986. Associated Press

Ferndale yellow and blue make Philadelphia green, right?

Philadelphia’s first Super Bowl parade worked its way up Broad Street on Thursday as hundreds of thousands of deliriously happy Eagles fans jammed the city’s main thoroughfares to celebrate an NFL title many of them never thought they’d see.

Nearly 2,920 miles away and in a much more mellow fashion, Ferndale shared in their joy and sense of pride. Though firmly rooted in Seahawks country, the small town in the northwest corner of Washington was the childhood home to Doug Pederson, head coach and architect of the Eagles’ 41-33 Super Bowl LII victory over the New England Patriots Sunday in Minneapolis.

Pederson, who was born in Bellingham in 1968 and graduated from Ferndale High School in 1986, is the toast of the NFL world after he guided Philadelphia through an injury-riddled regular season and the NFC playoff mine field where his team always found itself disrespected and overlooked. In the Super Bowl, once again thought to be a long shot against one of the most storied programs in league history, the Pederson-led Eagles grabbed their first league championship in 57 years thanks in large part to following their their coach’s gritty, emotionally intelligent lead and his go-for-broke aggressive nature.

The town of Philadelphia showed up in full force to support the Eagles during the Super Bowl parade.

On Thursday in Philadelphia, the spoils went to the victors.

Fans clad in Eagles green lined up 20 deep in spots to catch a glimpse of the champs, who rode in open-top, double-decker buses. Bundled up against freezing winds, some fans from New Jersey walked across the nearly 2-mile long Benjamin Franklin Bridge just to get into the city.

“This Super Bowl championship is for you,” Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie told the vast crowd. “You are the most passionate and deserving sports fans on the planet. We couldn’t have done it without you.”

The players got into the Philly spirit. Center Jason Kelce walked the route in an outlandishly sequined Mummers getup — a nod to Philadelphia's raucous annual parade on New Year's Day — slapping fans' hands and leading them in a profane chant broadcast on live TV. Defensive end Chris Long wore a full-length, fake fur coat atop an Allen Iverson 76ers jersey.

Pederson carried the Lombardi Trophy past the cheering throngs, while Lurie held a sign saying "THANK YOU FANS" while standing next to the team's three quarterbacks: Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles, injured starter Carson Wentz and third-stringer Nate Sudfeld.

And when he wasn’t holding the trophy and walking, Pederson even showed off his hands, one-handing a beer tossed to him by a fan along the parade route:

Though Pederson still has family and friends in Ferndale, there’s no doubt he is beloved in Philadelphia after Sunday’s big win:

The parade concluded at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where team personnel and players addressed the crowd.

“I’m really proud of this group of men,” Pederson told the crowd. “The dedication, the commitment, the desire and the will to never quit. This is a resilient group. This is a group that fought through a lot of injury, adversity. The underdog, right? The underdog.

“This is a group that I’ll always remember for sticking together, for trusting in me as the head football coach and trusting in Mr. Lurie and trusting in each other. I love these guys. We brought you guys a world championship, and just like Mr. Lurie said, ‘We are not done yet. We’ve got more to go, more to prove. This is our new norm.’ This is our new norm to be playing football in February. I’m so proud to represent this group, this city and this organization.”

Earlier in the week, Ferndale also showed it’s pride by declaring Tuesday “Doug Pederson Day,” and the his former high school even recognized Pederson’s accomplishment:

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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