The Eagles' season began back on Sept. 10, with a 30-17 victory at FedEx Field over the Washington Redskins. When the game ended after a Fletcher Cox fumble recovery TD, Kamu Grugier-Hill and Steven Means hoisted the Gatorade container and dumped it on Doug Pederson.
Generally, season-openers do not occasion the soaking of coaches with energy drinks, but afterward, Grugier-Hill and Means talked about how they wanted to show support and affection for Pederson, in the wake of widely publicized remarks by former NFL general manager Mike Lombardi that proclaimed Pederson unqualified to be an NFL head coach.
A lot had changed by Sunday evening in Minneapolis; Pederson certainly was no longer embattled, as the final seconds ticked down toward the Eagles' first-ever Super Bowl victory. But one thing didn't change. Grugier-Hill and Means approached Pederson from behind, Gatorade held high, as the sideline began to react to New England's incomplete last-play Hail Mary.
"Steven Means came up to me and said we had to do it, because we started it," Grugier-Hill said Wednesday, amid the most joyful locker room cleanout day in the history of the NovaCare complex.
"I went up to him right after the last [Patriots] drive started and was like, 'Yo, we started it this way, you and me going to be the ones to finish it out right,' " Means recalled.
Did they have to fend off any other potential coach-soakers this time?
"A couple people came over there and it was like, 'I got it, I got it,' [and they said] 'OK, cool,' " Means said.
Grugier-Hill and Means did not require assistance.
"The moment was heavy, but the Gatorade was what the Gatorade was," Means said.
"It's a surreal feeling. You can't imagine that game. You can't imagine how [Thursday] is going to be, the parade, just everything," Means said. "It's a testament to this whole year, all the blood, sweat and tears we put into it, Doug, and all the rest of the coaches and teammates."