Get to know the faces of the Philadelphia Eagles' offensive and defensive units heading into the team's Week 11 matchup with the Seattle Seahawks.
First-year front man Doug Pederson will need no introduction to the Pacific Northwest as his team travels across the country from Philadelphia for a Sunday afternoon game against the Seahawks at CenturyLink Field. That's because the Eagles head coach grew up a fan of professional football in Seattle while living in Ferndale, Washington.
"For me, it's coming home a little bit," the 48-year-old Pederson said Wednesday morning on a conference call with the Seattle media of the Eagles' Week 11 matchup in the Emerald City. "I grew up a Seahawks fan and the Kingdome and all of that. I remember on Sunday mornings driving down with my mom and dad and going to Seahawks games and watching Jim Zorn and Steve Largent and Kenny Easley and those guys. It was always a great memory for me as a kid.
"I'll have some family, have some friends out there and hopefully get a chance to say hi to them either before or after the game. It's always a great feeling to come back home."
An all-state performer in basketball, baseball, and football at Ferndale High School, Pederson went on to play quarterback at Northeast Louisiana. Undrafted out of college, Pederson still managed to embark on a 12-year playing career in the NFL, spending time with the Green Bay Packers, Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles, and Cleveland Browns. As a backup with the Packers, Pederson was part of the team that won Super Bowl XXXI. He played under three of the more successful coaches in League history in Don Shula, Mike Holmgren, and Andy Reid and also played alongside Pro Bowl quarterbacks like Brett Favre, Dan Marino, Donovan McNabb, and Jim McMahon.
Sunday's game will mark Pederson's first time coaching in Seattle since the 2011 season, when Pederson served as quarterbacks coach of the Eagles during the team's December visit to CenturyLink Field, a 31-14 defeat. Pederson spent three seasons (2013-15) as offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs before returning to Philadelphia as head coach this past January, and with this weekend's road game in mind, Pederson allowed himself to take a short trip down memory lane.
"My mom and dad had season tickets, since the franchise opened in 1976," Pederson said of his one-time Seahawks fandom. "They had season tickets for several years before we moved and I graduated from high school. We had four of them up in the second level, corner end zone in the Kingdome. Great seats."
Pederson also recalled his best memory of going to Seahawks games as a child.
"The drive down," he said. "We left early in the morning on Sundays. It was one o'clock or 1:30 games, and we always had a big breakfast once we got down there. I just remember walking into the Kingdome and how big that building was. Even today, the crowd was so electric and loud. It's just very similar today. Those were some great times, great memories, growing up in Washington and watching the Seahawks play."
Pederson said he even had a chance to play at the Seahawks' former NFL home during his senior year at Ferndale.
"We played a playoff game in the Kingdome, so I actually had a chance to play in there," he said. "You just kind of walk on that turf and you go man, one day it would not only be great to play in this game, and who knew back then that you'd be a head coach in the League. It was more about wanting to play and getting an opportunity to play in the National Football League. It was just a surreal feeling knowing that one you're going to get an opportunity, and to play 14 years is just very special for me."
The Seahawks and the Eagles have played 14 times, splitting their all-time series 7-7. The two teams will face off again this Sunday during Week 11 at CenturyLink Field.