Pederson dons Doc's actual jersey for 1st pitch

Super Bowl champion talks overcoming early criticism as new Philly coach

April 5th, 2018

PHILADELPHIA -- Eagles head coach Doug Pederson arrived at Citizens Bank Park on Thursday a little more than an hour before he carried the Lombardi Trophy onto the field to throw out the ceremonial first pitch to .

Pederson thought it might be a nice touch to wear a Roy Halladay jersey to the mound.

But could the Phillies find one in time? They not only found a Halladay jersey, they found Halladay's actual jersey. Phillies vice president of communications Bonnie Clark had packed up Halladay's jersey, which he wore at Phillies alumni functions, at the end of Spring Training 2017. The jersey hung in her office for the past year, originally expecting Halladay to wear it to future engagements.

Tragically, Halladay died in a plane crash in November. The Phillies paid tribute to him before the game, which included a video montage and a moment of silence.

Phillies baseball communications assistant Kenny Ayres said he got chills as he retrieved and carried Halladay's jersey from Clark's office. Clark used the same word, "chills," as she handed the jersey to Pederson.

Halladay's jersey fit Pederson perfectly.

"I really wanted to honor him by wearing it," Pederson said.

Pederson received the loudest cheers in the Phillies' pregame ceremony. He not only led the Eagles to their first Super Bowl championship in franchise history, but he made it happen with some of the boldest, gutsiest play calls in Super Bowl history. Conversely, Phillies manager Gabe Kapler heard the loudest boos. The rookie manager has had a rough first week on the job.

Pederson could relate to that. Before the Eagles won the Super Bowl, before Carson Wentz looked like the NFL's MVP prior to sustaining a knee injury in December, many wondered if Pederson had the chops to be a successful NFL coach.

Many considered Pederson out of his league. Many thought he believed too much in the analytics of the game. He proved those folks wildly wrong.

"Been there, been there," Pederson said. "Listen, it's about the locker room. It's about the players, just stay focused on those guys and everything will be OK. When you're going through it, obviously it's difficult. But I can remember back in my first years, we didn't play so well and we lost some games. But I continued to trust the process, trust my players, trust my staff and things worked out. Hey, listen, it's a long season, it's early. They're going to be fine."