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It’s nice to give flowers and even nicer to receive them.
You don’t need to know anything about flowers, except that they are beautiful and colorful, sometimes romantic, always thoughtful, capable of brightening a home, a room, an office, or certainly someone’s day.
However, somewhere in Philadelphia, amidst the currently enthusiastic and always raucous Eagles fan base, there is someone who should feel a little silly for the delivery of a fateful bouquet just under 15 months ago , long before anyone was thinking about Super Bowls.
On November 7, 2021, the Eagles lost to the Los Angeles Chargers at home, and as head coach Nick Sirianni walked off the field and was about to head down the tunnel, a bouquet of flowers was thrown in his direction from the stands and fell at his feet. Sirianni stopped, visibly disturbed, and glared at the offender, quite rightly so, considering it was a cheap shot and a classless, classless move.
The precursor to this was a press conference that Sirianni, then in his first season, had given a couple of weeks earlier. Trying to get the idea that the team was a work in progress, he told reporters that he had used a flower analogy when addressing the team.
“What’s happening is there’s growth under the soil,” he said. “I put a picture of a flower above, and it’s coming through the ground, and the roots are growing. Everybody wants to see results. Shoot, nobody wants to see results more than us, right?
“But it’s very important that the foundation is being built … and the only way the roots grow is if we all water, we all fertilize, we all do our part.”
It can be argued that Sirianni got a little lost along the way while relaying the story to the media, which was no excuse for the fanatic who used the flora as a projectile. Although the flower thrower went too far, the fact remains that Sirianni was not a popular man with the fans back then.
[Related reading: Eagles on Julian Love’s Nick Sirianni’s comments: ‘He just don’t understand.’]
The Eagles looked like they were going nowhere. At 2-5, Sirianni looked, on early evidence, like a manager who might not be staying too long.
Or, if things improved, it wouldn’t turn into anything like this, where the Super Bowl is right around the corner (Sunday, February 12th on FOX and the FOX Sports app!) and the Eagles, an overwhelming force for much of the regular season, they are slight favorites to beat the Kansas City Chiefs and win the best game of all.
Next Sunday in Glendale, Arizona, Sirianni will have a chance to make history at age 41 against an opposing coach who is 1) old enough to be his father and 2) fired him as a coach of Kansas City receivers. a decade ago
Sirianni had spent four years with the Chiefs, and Andy Reid, then starting as head coach, fired him not out of favor, but because he wanted to bring in his “own guy,” David Culley. Sirianni was disappointed at the time, but it has worked. He’s a Philly boy now, even.
Eagles fans love him. They believe in him. They shake his hand when they meet him on the street and roar at the announcement of his name as loudly as they do for Jalen Hurts or Jason Kelce.
They still get angry, but now it’s on their behalf. Sirianni’s omission from the shortlist for the AP Coach of the Year award caused some outrage; animus which, it must be said, has some solid merit. He won the NFL Coach of the Year award on FOX, presented last week.
Sirianni Wins ‘NFL on FOX’ Coach of the Year Award
Philadelphia Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni won the “NFL on FOX” Coach of the Year Award presented by Mark Sanchez and Chris Myers.
Fans love how their coach fits the city and the franchise, and he does it by being himself. They love how he calls out the opposing team’s refs and coaches and enjoy his hype, like when they compare Hurts to Michael Jordan.
And they will live on even with their most unusual inspirational anecdotes. Sirianni’s method revolves around being able to control certain things. Let’s go back to the flower incident, then, because it’s a good example of how it rolls.
He couldn’t do anything about being thrown at them, but he could control his response, and he did. He sensed in the moment that his reaction, and the temptation must have been there to mouth off or even throw the group into the crowd, would affect how he was perceived by both the fan base and his players.
The correct answer was a firm look that spoke to a man who doesn’t take nonsense but won’t lose his head under pressure. He hit the right note.
It feels like a long time ago now; much more than 15 months. The best of the Eagles might have been underground then, now they are a feared team throughout the league.
Sirianni’s role has focused on cultivating that. As for the flowers he was talking about, they did bloom.
Martin Rogers is a columnist for FOX Sports and author of the FOX Sports Insider newsletter. Follow him on Twitter @MRogersFOX i subscribe to the daily newsletter.
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