How Eagles coach Nick Sirianni won over Philadelphia fans
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Nick Sirianni gets his flowers figuratively instead of thrown in his face.
The bumping chest, prancing on the sidelinesthe swearing Philadelphia Eagles head coach conquered a tough city that questioned his credentials and mocked his introductory press conference when he was hired two years ago years.
Sirianni has the Eagles in the NFC Championship Game and now he’s getting more popular than Rocky Balboa in Cheesesteak City and Liberty Bell.
The Eagles (15-3) host the San Francisco 49ers (15-4) on Sunday with a chance to reach the Super Bowl for the fourth time in franchise history and the second time in six seasons.
Sirianni leads the way with his swagger and an offensive system labeled “unstoppable” by CBS analyst Tony Romo, the former Dallas Cowboys quarterback.
However, things didn’t start so well for Sirianni.
It made a bad first impression on people more concerned with style than substance. Sirianni appeared nervous, rambling and overwhelmed during a videoconference. The former Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator wasn’t used to a media contingent like the one that greeted him in Philadelphia. In addition, the video setup prevented him from being comfortable because he did not see the journalists asking the questions.
Philly, as we know, has accumulated unfairly.
Sirianni, who is not afraid to admit his mistakes, was shocked by his performance. He told the players in his first full team meeting that he screwed up and needed to do better. This set the tone for a team goal to see daily improvement from the coaching staff and players.
Still, the worst moment came later in its first season.
After the Eagles started 2-5, Sirianni used a flower analogy that sent Philly into a frenzy and had fans and media calling for his work.
“That’s what I told the team. … the results aren’t there right now, but what’s happening here is there’s growth under the ground,” said said Sirianni on October 27, 2021. “I put a picture of a flower, and it goes through the ground, and the roots grow. The roots keep growing. Everyone wants to see results. Pull, no one wants to see results more than us, right? We also want to see results.
“But it’s really important that the foundations are built and the roots grow. And the only way the roots grow every day and they get stronger and they grow better is if we all water, we all fertilize, we all do our part, every individual, every individual coach, every individual player, everyone in the building, which we do our part to water to ensure that when it comes out, it really comes out and grows. … But just keep doing what we’re doing, keep watering and do you first look and know that you’re watering and fertilizing every day? So when it’s time to jump, it will jump.
The Eagles beat the Lions on the road in their next game, but lost at home to the Chargers on Nov. 7, 2021. As Sirianni left the field after that loss, a fan threw a bouquet of flowers to him. He stopped, looked up, and said a few words before being escorted down the tunnel.
The Eagles went 6-2 the rest of the way and earned a wildcard spot. They were eliminated by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the playoffs, but opened this season 8-0, 13-1 before Jalen Hurts missed two games with a shoulder injury.
Sirianni helped make Hurts an AP NFL MVP and Offensive Player of the Year finalist. He has designed an attack that can dominate opponents on the ground or in the air.
And, Sirianni is still talking. Whether it’s cursing officials, yelling at opposing coaches, or liking his players, Sirianni is a quote machine. He compared Hurts to Michael Jordan after the Eagles beat the New York Giants 38-7 in the Divisional Round.
The Eagles reacted to Sirianni’s “dawg mentality” and emerged as championship contenders.
As for those fickle Philadelphia fans, they’re angry that he wasn’t a finalist for AP NFL Coach of the Year. They have his back now. Well, until he loses or mentions gardening again.