Pederson was watching on the sidelines when Brett Favre led the Green Bay Packers past the Pats in Super Bowl XXXI. Twenty-one years later, Pederson is back in the Big Game, this time as head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles and tasked with overcoming the biggest obstacle of his football career: Super Bowl Tom Brady.
“The biggest thing watching him is that there’s no panic. It’s just business as usual with him,” Pederson told reporters at Super Bowl Opening Night. “When the team has the lead, you just got to make sure you continue to play ball and you’ve got to play for 60 minutes. He’s obviously one of the best quarterbacks at bringing teams back and he’s proven it time and time again. He did it a couple weeks ago. I just think that’s something, as quarterbacks, you’re always remembered for Super Bowl wins, but for him too, it’s how he’s gotten some of these wins and that’s a special thing.”
Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox echoed his coach’s sentiments, telling NFL Network’s Deion Sanders, “You’ve got to play 60 minutes against that guy because at any point in time, man, he can make big plays. … Everybody on our defense respects him. It’s going to take 11 guys to beat him, not just one guy. … Our locker room has so much respect for him.”
Pederson’s quarterback on Sunday, Nick Foles, was equally complimentary of the future Hall of Famer.
“[Brady’s] one of the greatest to play the game. I’m excited about the challenge,” Foles gushed. “When you play this game, you want to play against the best, and you really want to play against the best of this stage. I’m glad, I’m excited to play in the Super Bowl this Sunday.”
“Well, it has to start with our defensive line obviously. You’ve got to get good pressure on him. If you let him sit back there, he’ll pick you apart,” Pederson explained. “He’s a Hall of Fame quarterback. He’s got great vision. He gets the ball out of his hands extremely quick. So our defensive line has to get that pressure on him.”
Of course, six days before Philly can implement its game plan, all of this is easier said than done, something Pederson knows and has imparted unto his team.
“I tell our players all the time there’s no magic formula. There’s no magic plays. There’s no magic defenses,” Pederson said of topping the favored Pats and their all-time great signal-caller. “It just comes down to how well our players are prepared, and I do the best job that I think I can of trying to put our players in successful situations.”
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