The Philadelphia Eagles went outside the box in January 2021 when they hired Nick Sirianni, a young assistant coach with an optimistic attitude and offensive mindset.
From questions and doubt to comebacks, the Eagles have already experienced so much with Nick in year one. Underneath the Philly sports attire and flower references lies a man who in just one season, grew to represent the city very well and got a chunk of the fanbase and media to buy in.
Who Is Nick Sirianni?
Nick Sirianni was born in New York into a tight-knit Italian-American family. He grew up a Steelers fan but it could have been worse, as he could have been a Cowboys fan. Let’s thank his wonderful parents Fran and Amy Sirianni for that.
His brothers Mike and Jay also coached at colleges, in addition to their father Fran. Coaching and natural leadership ran deep in the Sirianni family, so it felt like Nick was destined to do it. In college, he learned to push through adversity early on in his football career at Mount Union after suffering from a calf injury.
Despite showing a ton of skill at the wide receiver position over a three-year period, he never went pro. Being at a division III school made it that much tougher, but Nick ultimately found a love for coaching which began at Mount Union. He began coaching defensive backs, but would never return to that side of the ball again.
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Despite his young age of 41, his resume is quite impressive. After Mount Union, he went on to the Indiana University of Pennsylvania where he began coaching the wide receiver position. His passion for the offensive side of the ball would land him wide receiver, offensive quality control, and offensive coordinator positions with the Kansas City Chiefs, San Diego Chargers, and Indianapolis Colts.
It’s fitting that he worked under coaches with Super Bowl rings in Andy Reid, Romeo Crennel, and Frank Reich, and ultimately was the successor to Doug Pederson. He is also a family man and he and his wife Brett have a daughter named Taylor, and two sons named Jacob and Miles. Maybe the Sirianni coaching tree will expand through his children one day!
“Why Did They Hire This Guy?”
Nick Sirianni’s hire was met with mixed opinions. Many called him a “yes man,” deeming him and Eagles coach that Jeffrey Lurie and Howie Roseman could control. Fans and media were a bit nervous given his small amount of time at the offensive coordinator position and the fact that he actually didn’t call plays on teams he coached for.
A lot were just thankful the Eagles didn’t hire another retread at the position and took a chance on an up-and-coming name. Colts running back Jonathan Taylor who had a great season under Sirianni, praised the hire, speaking very highly of him. Regardless of the point of view, Philadelphia was headed for the unknown.
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Nick, The Year One Underdog!
If there’s one thing Philadelphia fans love, it’s a good underdog story. The mixed opinions about Nick Sirianni’s hire were initially justified after a tough 2-5 stretch to start the 2021 Eagles season. After a thrilling opener in ATL, the Eagles would go on to lose five of their next six games.
After an embarrassing loss to the Las Vegas Raiders, Nick Sirianni admitted he put up a picture of a flower, saying:
“It’s coming through the ground and the roots are growing out. And the roots are continuing to grow out, and the only way they continue to grow is if we water, we all fertilize, we all do our part.”
We Philly fans are known to do and say things that are quite strange, but this comment seemed extra peculiar. It made everyone raise an eyebrow and question Nick. Luckily for him, this quote became eerily prophetic. The Eagles would go on to win seven of their last ten games and make the postseason.
Not only did they come back in the second half of the season, but they also had thrilling comebacks against the Washington Football Team (twice) and the New York Giants. A lot of this was due to a change in Nick’s play-calling, as the Eagles ended the season as the #1 rushing team in the NFL.
The Eagles would get obliterated by Brady in the Bucs in the postseason, but the ride was a ton of fun. The 2021 Eagles roster had heart and left it all out on the field, and that was clearly an indictment of the culture Nick created.
The Eagles Are In “Bloom.”
Here we are, headed into year 2 with Nick Sirianni. There’s a ton to be optimistic about, including a 2022 Eagles schedule that looks even easier than last season.
He wears the jerseys of Philly players and graphic tees with their faces on them. Some may find it weird, but I see it as Nick having fun. He’s tough and has fire, and isn’t afraid to show it. He will defend his guys to the very end and it appears they care for him in return.
His youth makes him relatable, and he’s already shown the ability to lead a team back from adversity in year one. We know he brings the best out of his running backs and we know he knows the wide receiver position in and out.
With the addition of several big names, the Eagles depth chart is looking a whole lot better than last year. Sirianni has even more weapons to maximize his potential as an offensive-minded coach and play-caller. Nick Sirianni got the Eagles in the front door of the party in 2021, but in 2022 the team will aim to be the last one to leave.
Maybe Nick should hang a flower picture in the team weight room, just in case?