The wide disparity in Super Bowl experience between the Patriots and Eagles is hard for Eagles coach Doug Pederson to ignore, but it’s not something he wants his team spending time thinking about over the next 10 days.
Pederson was asked at his Thursday press conference about the “mystique” around the Patriots as a result of their success over the last two decades and how it comes up when he’s talking to his players about Super Bowl LII.
“I think that’s obviously a real question,” Pederson said. “That’s a real issue that you have. These guys have been there. They’ve done it. They’ve proven it time and time again. My biggest focus with the team is: let’s just focus on today. Let’s just win today. Let’s get better today, and we’ll worry about that when we get to the game. But it’s a credit to what the Patriots have done in their careers and their history, and everybody is trying to win championships like that. But we’ve just got to focus on today.”
In a follow-up to the initial question, Pederson said that the Eagles are in “trouble” if they make this game all about the Patriots. Pederson stressed that his approach to the game is focused on “what we do and how well we execute.”
“Grind the midnight oil again,” Pederson said of the team’s work plan. “Listen, yeah, we’ve got a game to play, and it’s not a vacation next week. My message to the team is just that. We’re going to prepare this week as if we’re playing this weekend, obviously, and then we can sort of fine tune some things. But we’ve just got to stay on top of our game, keep the grind, and keep the intensity going right into next week.”
Pederson has done a good job of keeping the Eagles pointed in the right direction, which is well illustrated by how the team has lost injured players like Carson Wentz and Jason Peters without letting it derail their season. If another week of that focus pays off with a win in Minneapolis, it will do a lot for the mystique of Pederson and the Eagles.