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Eagles coach Nick Sirianni's approach paid off in a Super Bowl run: 'I'm not going to be someone I'm not'

EJ Smith, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in Football

Nick Sirianni stood on pressbox furniture at Arrowhead Stadium and celebrated like no one was watching.

The Eagles coach was a quality control assistant for the San Diego Chargers at the time, and the sting of Andy Reid letting him go the year before was still fresh enough for the 2013 matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs to mean something extra for him.

So in the aftermath of the Chargers’ 41-38 victory that handed the Chiefs their second loss in 11 games, the passionate side of Sirianni took over.

Luckily for him, no one of record caught a glimpse.

“I was just so emotional about it,” Sirianni said last Saturday, recounting his reaction. “Shocker, right? If I was the head coach, I guess they would have seen that there and people would have been talking about that.”

Unlike that afternoon in 2013, the cameras have been on Sirianni plenty the last two years with the Eagles, particularly this season as he has led his team to Super Bowl LVII against Reid’s Chiefs this Sunday in Glendale, Ariz.

 

Sirianni’s passionate approach is uncommon in a profession that typically lauds stoic leadership and steadiness even in the face of chaos. It sometimes even stands in contrast to Jalen Hurts, who embodies many of those outwardly unemotional qualities, much to Sirianni’s admiration.

Sirianni has worked on being more steady — likening his sideline responsibilities to a flight attendant’s as passengers nervously watch their reaction to sudden turbulence. Still, Sirianni won’t take concealing his emotions too far. The quality he values most is authenticity, and denying the emotional part of himself would quarrel with being true to himself, for better or worse.

“I’m not going to be somebody who I’m not,” Sirianni said. “I’m going to have fun on the sideline. I’m going to yell and scream on the sideline. The moment that you’re somebody that you’re not — and it works for different people in many different ways — that’s just who I am. If I’m truly trying to build relationships with people and truly living by our core values and connecting, then I can’t be somebody I’m not.”

Sirianni has given the cameras plenty to work with this season in particular. He gave a point-blank, celebratory nod staring directly into one during the Eagles’ blowout win over the New York Giants in the divisional round of the playoffs last month. A little while later, a hot mic caught him chiding an official for erroneously corralling him from the goal line. A few months earlier, Sirianni had celebrated vindication for his mentor Frank Reich’s firing by Indianapolis after a 17-16 road win over the Colts, jumping on a bench to shout at fans before shedding tears in the tunnel.

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