Summer 2024

New Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson: 'God's had His hand on my life for a long time'

Doug Pederson, who led the Philadelphia Eagles to the Super Bowl championship four years ago, is the new head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, the team announced Thursday. He becomes the seventh head coach in Jaguars history.

>> Subscribe to Sports Spectrum Magazine for more stories where sports and faith connect <<

Pederson has spent the past year out of the NFL after he was fired by the Eagles in January 2021. Jacksonville fired its head coach, Urban Meyer, in December.

It marks the second NFL head-coaching gig for the 54-year-old Pederson, who accumulated a 42-37-1 record in five seasons with Philadelphia. He had previously spent four seasons with the Eagles as an offensive quality control and quarterbacks coach (2009-2012), before joining Kansas City as the Chiefs’ offensive coordinator for three seasons (2013-2015) prior to getting the head job in Philly.

His best season, obviously, was the 2017-18 season, when the Eagles won the first Super Bowl in franchise history. Jacksonville is hoping Pederson can “replicate the magic” with the Jaguars, who went 3-14 last year.

“Doug Pederson four years ago won a Super Bowl as head coach of a franchise in pursuit of its first world championship,” Jaguars owner Shad Khan said in a statement. “I hope Doug can replicate that magic here in Jacksonville, but what is certain is his proven leadership and experience as a winning head coach in the National Football League. It’s exactly what our players deserve. Nothing less.

“Combine this with his acumen on the offensive side of the ball, and you have why I am proud to name Doug Pederson the new head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars. I know our fans will warmly welcome Doug and his family to Duval and I personally look forward to having Doug as part of everything we envision for the team, downtown and community in the years ahead.”

Pederson landing in Jacksonville is an answer to prayer. On an episode of Sports Spectrum’s “Weekly Slant” in December, he shared that he’d been praying about another chance to lead a team in the NFL.

“I know that good things are going to happen in the future and what I continue to pray about is just, ‘God, lead me to a place where I can continue to lead and continue to show my faith with a group of men and an organization that would have me and give me an opportunity to coach again,'” he said. “… I’m looking forward to that and hopefully that’s His plan for my life.”

It is indeed God’s plan, and Jacksonville will get a rested coach. Pederson said he enjoyed the past season being away from football — seeing his oldest child get married, also welcoming his first grandchild, and just getting to relax and recharge with his wife, Jeannie.

“God’s had His hand on my career and my life for a long, long time,” Pederson said on the “Slant.” “It hasn’t been easy, no one expects it to be easy, it’s just been a blessing all season and looking back on my life and some of the things that He’s done for me.”

One of the blessings Pederson talked about was leading the 2017 Eagles team, which he feels like he saw God moving through in many ways.

“God had His hand on that group of men because, you know, we played the Carolina Panthers on a Thursday night, and they were baptizing guys in the swimming pool the night before,” Pederson said on the show. “It was a strong group of men and it took us obviously all the way to the pinnacle of our sport.”

After winning Super Bowl LII, many of the players gave praise to God in front of a national audience. Pederson led the way.

“I can only give the praise to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for giving me this opportunity,” he said that night.

Pederson is a coach who is open about his faith, often finding some quiet time to study his Bible or a devotional in his office at the team facility. He wants his players to know what he believes, but not feel forced to hold the same beliefs.

“They knew I was a man of faith and they knew I believed and had a relationship with Jesus Christ, and I made that known to them,” Pederson said of his time with the Eagles. “But at the same time, I wanted to make sure they understood that I wasn’t pushing that on anybody.”

He’ll bring the same faith-centered approach to Jacksonville.

WATCH: ‘Weekly Slant’ w/ Former Eagles Head Coach Doug Pederson
‘Faith-driven’ Trevor Lawrence selected No. 1 overall in NFL Draft by Jaguars
Eagles coach Doug Pederson says football isn’t the most important thing in his life
Philadelphia Eagles give ‘glory to God’ after winning Super Bowl LII
Eagles head coach Doug Pederson gives glory to God, says his faith keeps him grounded