The result was one of the most astonishing plays in football history, and neither man will ever buy a drink in Philadelphia again.

Football is one of the last bastions of command-and-control leadership. While smart managers understand that they can get the best results by empowering and trusting their employees, football—with its militaristic love of hierarchy and tradition—often still adheres to a top-down, dictatorial model of leadership. In the same game, for example, Patriots coach Bill Belichick benched starting cornerback Malcolm Butler, apparently without explanation.

But Pederson, 50, a longtime backup quarterback, is clearly cut from a different cloth. In his two years at the helm in Philadelphia, he’s created an atmosphere where players, even backups, are empowered to suggest plays at the most critical point in the team’s season (and, it turns out, franchise history). In 2016, before he had success as a head coach, Pederson was praised for his people skills. “He gets it,” tight end Brent Celek told “I don’t know how else to say it. He knows how to treat guys. He knows how to handle players. And he played for so long, and has been around so many situations, that he just doesn’t get fazed.”

Ultimately, the head coach is accountable for the team’s performance, and if Foles had dropped the pass in the end zone, Pederson, not Foles, would have been blamed. But it was Pederson’s faith in Foles that gave Foles the confidence to call the play, and perhaps, haul in the history-making catch.

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