On Tuesday, Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone laughed off the harsh criticism from Eagles head coach Doug Pederson over his conservative play calling during Jacksonville's loss to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game.
"I'm sure there's a long line of people who have the same questions or feelings," Marrone told reporters. "What are you going to do?"
In his new memoir, Fearless, Pederson ripped Marrone's decision to play it safe with a 14-10 lead heading into halftime against the Patriots. Instead of attempting to score with 0:55 remaining and two timeouts, Marrone told Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles to take a knee and run out the clock. The Patriots ultimately came back in the second half, scoring two fourth-quarter touchdowns and winning the game 24-20 to propel them to their Super Bowl match-up with the Eagles.
Pederson wrote that it was Marrone's hyper-conservative approach at that moment that convinced him to avoid playing it safe against the Patriots during the Super Bowl.
"I was there thinking, 'You've got to be kidding me right now,'" Pederson wrote, according to excerpts released prior to its publication by longtime Florida sports reporter Vito Stellino. "It made me mad because Jacksonville had New England right where they wanted them. I was screaming at the TV in my office. When they knelt right before halftime, inside I was like, 'I'll never do that.' It fueled me. They could have least tried for a field goal. They took it out of their quarterback's hands, and they didn't give to their big back Leonard Fournette. I thought, 'If they lose this game, this is why.' Sure enough they would go on to lose the game."
Marrone told reporters that he didn't receive a heads-up about the passage prior to the book's publication, and was only made aware of Pederson's criticism from text messages he received after excerpts were published. Still, Marrone said he didn't have a problem with Pederson's comments.
"Those things happen, and that's it. But I respect the hell out of him and his team, and he won a Super Bowl," Marrone said. "And we lost, and when you lose, you question everything."
Marrone also not-so-subtly tossed out that he spent the summer reading a new book by New York Times bestselling author Mark Manson without revealing its title. Manson's latest book is called The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life.