BLOOMINGTON, Minn. -- Doug Pederson was surrounded by a group of reporters in the Philadelphia Eagles' locker room on Sunday night, his voice loud and confident, blazing with elation.
He had just one more question left to answer, mercifully, before he could re-join the Super Bowl celebration, one more question before he could share the moment with the group of men who now revere him following their thrilling 41-33 victory over the defending champion New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium.
And as the gaggle of reporters each yelled their questions out, hoping to get the last one in, Pederson turned to his left and chose to answer a question from Kansas City. It was about his mentor, Andy Reid, and on a night he'd been asked everything under the sun, he couldn't let the highlight of his professional career end without a word on the man he lovingly calls his mentor. Reid counts Pederson as one of seven NFL coaches who once learned under him.
"He obviously gave me the ability to lead and be myself," said Pederson, a former NFL quarterback who joined Baltimore's John Harbaugh as the members of Reid's coaching tree to win Super Bowls as head coaches. "He taught me a lot through playcalling and the different things that have allowed us to be successful. He's been a big mentor for me."
Reid was quick to congratulate Pederson via text following his win over the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship Game on Jan. 21, and with good reason. Back when he was the Philadelphia Eagles' coach, Reid first hired Pederson as an offensive quality control coach in 2009, and promoted him to quarterbacks coach a few years later. Pederson eventually served as Reid's offensive coordinator in Kansas City from 2013-15.
What's more, in the months leading up to Pederson's hire as the Eagles' head coach in January 2016, Reid empowered Pederson by giving him more input in the offensive game plan, giving Pederson an important play-calling checkmark in an area all owners want their head coaches to have.
On Sunday, the aggressive approach that Pederson learned under Reid paid off in a big way, as he made two fourth-down calls that led to touchdowns in one of the all-time greatest Super Bowl shootouts.
"Doug Pederson is unbelievable," Eagles tight end Brent Celek said. "The play-calling, man. Tonight he let loose."
Particularly late in second quarter, when Pederson -- whose Eagles were nursing a three-point lead -- had the guts to not only eschew a field-goal attempt, but also call an end-around pass from tight end Trey Burton to quarterback Nick Foles on fourth-and-goal from the 2-yard line. That touchdown put the Eagles ahead by 10 at the break instead of six.
"That play, we've been working on it for the last couple of weeks, and we just needed the right time, right opportunity," Pederson said. "The guys executed it brilliantly."