Coaching Game of Chess Set for Super Bowl Sunday
BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – Super Bowl LII will showcase the many skills and talents of the athletes on the field. It will also feature a major game of chess between the coaching staffs of the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots.
Both of these teams have excellent preparation during the week leading up to any game. Both had an extra week to prepare, scout and dissect the opponent prior to the Super Bowl.
“It’s obviously a challenge to go against a very smart and intelligent coach,” Eagles Head Coach Doug Pederson said in regards to coaching against Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick. “He is going to have his team prepared.”
Pederson has done an excellent job of creating a fairly successful opening offensive script of plays. They have been successful more often than not. But his management of the offense extends far beyond just the opening drive or two of the game. He has made great adjustments helping to put more points on the scoreboard in the second half. That all comes back to having a sense of what the opponent will try to do, adapt and cover all of that during the week of preparation.
“It’s a commitment to the team and organization to stay on top of that and try to anticipate the best you can,” Pederson stated. “I try to put our guys in the best possible scenario and situation on game day to expect certain things.”
Pederson certainly has the respect of his offensive players. Many of them want to win this game for him due to the way he has managed them.
“I’m happy for Doug and this situation to go up against one of the greatest coaches of All time,” Center Jason Kelce explained. “I’m sure he is looking forward to it. He is coaching against one of the best defensive minds the NFL has seen. You always value how you play, so I would imagine as a coach it is the same situation.”
The chess game among coaches will also take place on the defensive side of the ball for the Eagles. Defensive Coordinator Jim Schwartz has held opponents to just 17 points in two playoff games this postseason.
Eagles defensive players are confident Schwartz will have yet another solid plan ready for them to follow this weekend.
“Just look at the way the defense has played throughout the year,” Defensive Lineman Tim Jernigan exclaimed. “No way we do this without him. Jim has just done a great job of getting us ready and knowing exactly what they will do in tough situations. It seems like he always has an answer for everything.”
“He’s good,” Safety Rodney McLeod shrugged. “His biggest attribute is his ability to make adjustments during the game. He is a smart coach,. We always talk about team tendencies and percentages. I think his biggest asset is his ability to make adjustments and he ultimately puts us in good position to win.”
Schwartz has done a great job forcing many opponents this season to become one-dimensional. They abandoned the run game due to the Eagles’ ability to stuff the run and instead try to win the game through the air.
However, Schwartz must be prepared for the consequences of stuffing the run. That would ask a future Hall-of-Famer, Tom Brady, to use his arm to try and win the Super Bowl.
“When you are dealing with a team like the Patriots, you can stop the run, but it still don’t matter,” Jernigan said with a smile. “You can control that part of the offense, but when they drop back to pass it don’t matter because they have a quarterback that can beat you with his arm. When you play a guy like Tom Brady, it just doesn’t matter.”
So watch the players and the plays they make this Sunday. But keep in the back of your mind the intense game of chess the coaches are playing against each other. One will ultimately get to say ‘Check Mate’ and in turn win the ability to hoist the Lombardi Trophy as Super Bowl champs.