Pederson must avoid gaffes that have cost so many Belichick Super Bowl foes

Doug Pederson is just in his second year as the Philadelphia Eagles’ coach, but he’s about to coach what could be a career-defining moment for him this Sunday.

He’s going to become the seventh coach to face Bill Belichick in the Super Bowl.

One of them, Tom Coughlin, beat Belichick twice as the New York Giants’ coach, but the other five not only lost, they made coaching gaffes that helped contribute to their team’s losses.

Now it’s Pederson’s chance to see if he can beat the New England Patriots with Nick Foles as his quarterback.

If he is to pull it off, Pederson has to avoid the types of mistakes made by the coaches who’ve lost to Belichick in the Super Bowl.

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Jaguars won’t be Super Bowl-ready until they move on from Bortles

So where do the Jacksonville Jaguars go from here?

Despite the heartbreaking defeat in New England, they had a magical season that energized the fan base, will sell a lot of tickets and sent a message that they should be a contender the next three or four years.

But that same frustrating loss to the Patriots also revealed a hard truth about this team.

Namely that while Blake Bortles probably played well enough to convince the Jaguars to bring him back at $19 million, the odds are against them winning a Super Bowl with him at quarterback.

The top priority for the franchise has to be to find their long term answer at quarterback if they want to bring the Lombardi Trophy to Jacksonville. Bortles improved this year, but remains too inconsistent to reach elite status.

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Is it ‘Coughlin Time’ again for Belichick and the Patriots?

It is unusual for a team’s chief front office executive to be in the spotlight before a conference title game.

But that is what is happening this week with the hype before the New England-Jacksonville game for the AFC title.

One of the storylines is the matchup between New England coach Bill Belichick and Jaguars vice president of football operations Tom Coughlin.

That is because the two men once coached together under Bill Parcells, and Coughlin has a 5-2 edge on Belichick in head-to-head matchups and twice beat him in Super Bowls.

The key to both of Coughlin’s victories was a fierce pass rush that throttled Tom Brady and held him to 14 and 17 points. And then Eli Manning directed game-winning touchdown drives in the fourth quarter of both games.

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Steelers’ Tomlin looking more and more mediocre with each big-game loss

When Mike Tomlin coached the Pittsburgh Steelers to two Super Bowls in his first four years as a head coach, winning one and losing one, he seemed destined to be an elite coach in the NFL.

It hasn’t worked out that way.

Seven years have gone by and Tomlin hasn’t made it back to another Super Bowl. His playoff record is now 8-7.

Even worse, he had the most talented offensive team in the league in 2017 and lost his first playoff game to Jacksonville despite a 13-3 regular season record, although the loss of Ryan Shazier during the season was huge.

Still, Tomlin must take most of the blame for how undisciplined the Steelers were during the season. And his premature talk about playing the New England Patriots twice were certainly ill-advised.

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Assessing the NFL Divisional Round quarterbacks

They might be called the Other Seven.

They are the quarterbacks heading into the divisional NFL playoff round with a chance to win the Super Bowl not named Tom Brady.

Brady, of course, is the one with a chance to make the most history. He’s already become the first quarterback to win five Super Bowls (Bart Starr also won five titles but the first three were before the Super Bowl was invented)  and now can become the first to win six.

Despite the drama surrounding the Patriots recently, he still overshadows the rest of the QB field in the playoffs. But the other seven can also put their names in the history book by winning it all this year. A Super Bowl victory is a defining moment for a quarterback’s career.

Two others — Ben Roethlisberger and Drew Brees — have already won rings.

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