Nick Sirianni’s brash and confident persona is a far cry from his bumpy start as Eagles manager

PHOENIX — For about an hour Monday night, Nick Sirianni sat behind a Super Bowl opening night podium and answered questions.

They came in a flurry, from morning hosts and local Philly TV reporters all the way from the Middle East. There have been questions about football and clumsy attempts to create a viral moment.

Sirianni has handled them all with aplomb and insight, and it’s not easy to go from, say, the lessons he learned being fired once by his Super Bowl counterpart Andy Reid to, well, who knows… This is a strange environment where” personalities” wore wedding dresses, brought puppets to ask questions or tried to deceive coaches and players in any way.

What’s the one guy you wouldn’t let your daughter date on the team, Sirianni was asked at one point.

“My daughter is 5,” she said.

It was a strong, controlled performance and was, perhaps, a surprise considering that Sirianni, then an unnamed 39-year-old, bombed his introductory press conference as the new head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles two years ago.

At that point, he struggled to coherently express thoughts or goals, stumbled over his words, and turned social media into a vicious cycle of negativity. Many people immediately concluded that he would fail in Philly.

“It could be said with certainty that my opening press conference was not complimentary to who I am as a person or as a manager,” Sirianni said on Monday.

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni looked comfortable speaking to the media during opening night of Super Bowl LVII on Monday in Phoenix, Arizona.  He's come a long way since his opening press conference with the Eagles.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni looked comfortable speaking to the media during opening night of Super Bowl LVII on Monday in Phoenix. He’s come a long way since his opening press conference with the Eagles. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

He was able to laugh now, of course. His Eagles went 14-3 this season and roared into Super Bowl Sunday against Kansas City without losing a single second of those playoffs.

At 41, he has gone from a bumbling young coach to a confident, bordering on cocky character who is immensely popular in Philadelphia. He can shake off the beginning.

“It’s always about sticking to your plan and trying to win football matches,” Sirianni said.

If only he was able to put it succinctly in 2021.

“It is very important to build a smart football team,” Sirianni said at the time. “The first part of being smart is knowing what to do. He was going to… [pause] …we will know… [pause] … we will have systems in place that are easier to learn.”

Or later: “When we can learn our system and can become good at our system, then our talent can take over. Less thinking equals acquiring talent, but we must have systems in place and we will have systems in place to to do it .”

Nothing Sirianni said was wrong, per se, it was more like she said it. Social media has gone crazy. Even the ever-suspicious Philly fans did likewise. It was just a press conference, but Siranni was under a cloud of doubts from day one.

He laughed Monday at how, despite the consensus that the 2021 season would be a rebuilding year, the team was bugged at halftime of its second preseason game. After the game, Sirianni returned home with his wife, Brett.

“It’s game two of the preseason, what are they booing us for?” she asked.

“Well, what did you give him to cheer up?” Brett said.

After starting his tenure 2-5, the Eagles are 21-6 in the regular season. No one laughs or doubts more than Sirianni. He deflects some of that, noting that as a young rookie head coach, he was blessed with veterans like Fletcher Cox and Jason Kelce and a fast-rising quarterback like Jalen Hurts.

“Want to know the secret to great coaching? You get good players,” Sirianni said.

He now represents his aggressive club. The Eagles relentlessly go fourth down, attack the red zone fearlessly, and their coach isn’t afraid to interact with cameras on the sideline or act with the certainty of a championship contender.

“Our team has a lot of confidence and I feed on this. I’m confident because we have really good players and they perform at a very high level” Sirianni said.

Gamers love it.

“You see the emotion with which he trains,” Hurts said. “

Sirianni can only look back on her first stumbles in the press conference and realize it was a learning opportunity. In all of his attention to becoming an NFL head coach, he never considered dealing with the media. As offensive coordinator in Indianapolis, he had a low key session, once a week, with some beat writers. It was all new.

“I wasn’t hired to wow the media,” Sirianni said. “Or do something like that. I was hired to be in charge of the football team, be the head coach of the football team and win the games.

“You train your whole life to be a football manager and then you walk in at that moment and I just wasn’t good enough at the time,” he continued. “There are no excuses. I wasn’t good enough at the time.

It didn’t really matter. It’s about winning playoff games, not press conferences, and Sirianni has won enough of them to now be in football’s ultimate press conference, handling everything thrown at him during Super Bowl week.

“You know what,” she said, “I feel like I’ve gotten a lot better.”

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