What difference can two years make? Just ask Nick Sirianni. On January 29, 2021, he held his first press conference as coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. After serving as the offensive coordinator of the Indianapolis Colts, he took on the head coaching job for the first time.
Expectations were high because this was a team that was struggling just a few years after winning the Super Bowl.
When he was introduced to the media at the opening press conference, Sirianni tried to give multiple answers for which he seemed unprepared. In a wide-eyed response, he talked endlessly about systems when asked how he would make the team better.
“The next thing that is very important to me is to build a smart football team. That we have a smart football team here and I know we have the people in place for that. The first part of being smart is knowing what to do. We will have… systems in place that are easier to learn. Okay, complicated for the defense or offense they’re playing against, or the special teams group they’re playing against, but easy for us to learn. Because when we can learn our system and become good at our system, then our talent can take over.”
Some said he was a B-level coach. It didn’t help that he was giving his answers via video and couldn’t see the reporters. Later last season, when the Eagles were 2-5, he used a flower analogy to explain how the team was developing.
He gave the example of a flower that has yet to bloom, but is currently taking root underground.
“The results aren’t there right now, but what’s happening here is that there’s growth under the ground. I put a picture of a flower up there, and it’s going through the ground, and the roots are growing out. The roots keep growing. Everyone wants to see the results. For God’s sake, nobody he wants to see results more than us, right? We want to see results too.”
What were once considered gaffes now seem far-sighted. Because two years after Nick Sirianni’s first press conference, his Philadelphia Eagles beat the San Francisco 49ers 31-7 in the NFC Championship game. They booked their spot in the Super Bowl.
Did Nick Sirianni play in the NFL?
Nick Sirianni was perhaps more underrated than the others because he had never been a head coach or even an NFL player before taking this job. His only experience playing professional football was in the hall for the Canton Legends, just one season in 2005.
However, what may have served Sirianni well is the depth of his coaching career. While playing, he began his coaching career at Mount Union University in Ohio as the defensive backs coach, where he also graduated from college.
After starting on defense, he then moved on to the offensive line at Indiana University of Pennsylvania as the wide receivers coach.
Since then, Nick Sirianni got his first opportunity in the NFL with the Kansas City Chiefs. He held various offensive line coaching positions with them before moving on to the San Diego Chargers.
Rising through the ranks, he was there as the catching coach when they moved to Los Angeles. He was given the opportunity to become the offensive coordinator of the Indianapolis Colts and remained there from 2018 to 2020.
After paying his dues in the coaching sphere, he was well prepared to take on the challenges of being a head coach in Philadelphia. Although it didn’t seem like it at his first press conference, Nick Sirianni proved himself against all of his initial detractors.