MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. -- During the 38-7 dismantling of the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship Game, quarterback Carson Wentz marveled with a teammate at the unpredictability of the Philadelphia Eagles offense.
"We just do so much," said Wentz, who was wired for sound.
"You don't know what we're going to do, ever," his teammate replied. "It's always changing, you know what I mean?"
Of all the surprises during the 2017 season, one of the biggest has been the tour de force performance of Eagles coach Doug Pederson. He comes into Sunday's Super Bowl matchup with the New England Patriots on a serious roll. He has managed his team past injuries to Wentz, left tackle Jason Peters, linebacker Jordan Hicks and running back Darren Sproles, tailored a system to fit backup QB Nick Foles' strengths, and been lights-out as a playcaller.
"Can't have a better year calling plays than he's had," said Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich, later adding, "The whole year has been unbelievable. That [Vikings] game, in particular, was among the best I've seen as far as playcalling."
Now Pederson faces an all-time great in Bill Belichick, who has coached more playoff games (38) than Pederson has coached overall (34). When it comes to experience and accomplishment, it's a total mismatch. But with the year Pederson has had, this feels less lopsided than anyone could have predicted a few short months ago.
Let's take a closer look at the coaches who will be going head-to-head on Sunday:
2017 record (including playoffs)
Belichick: 215-118 (.679 win percentage), 28-10 in playoffs
Pederson: 20-12 (.625 win percentage), 2-0 in playoffs
Belichick will be appearing in his eighth Super Bowl as a head coach, two ahead of Don Shula for the most all-time. Belichick has five Super Bowl titles as a head coach, the most of any coach in NFL history.
Pederson is 2-0 as an underdog this postseason. Andy Reid is the only other Philadelphia coach with multiple wins as an underdog in the playoffs (3-5).
Character traits that make them winners
"It's hard work. He's out there working harder than all his players, and it shows and the players respect that. He kind of gets the most out of his players because of that." -- Patriots fullback James Develin
"His love for the game. That's probably No. 1. To be able to, every day, learn something new in a team meeting [from him], what to look at, and keys. The love he has for the game just speaks volumes." --Patriots linebacker Kyle Van Noy
"I spent a lot of time with players before I did that coaching search, and one thing I took note of was, in today’s sports world, athletes want a lot of genuineness. And if you want to get optimal performance, you can have different styles. He can be tough, he can be Parcells-like, he can be Belichick-like, you name it. But you’ve got to be consistent and genuine ... I've seen him rip players apart, and sometimes they've needed it, but it's coming from a genuineness and that's why it works." -- Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie
"One thing that I appreciate about Coach is his approachability and when you're talking to him one-on-one, he's a guy that played in the NFL a long time -- 14 years. He understands what it's like to be a player and he knows all the different stuff that's going on. You talk to him and you feel like he understands you and knows where you're coming from." -- Eagles defensive tackle Beau Allen
Pederson on playing a chess match against the master
"It's obviously a challenge to go up against a very smart coach, an intelligent coach, a coach that's going to have his team well-prepared. It's not just the X's and O's, it's the situational aspect of the game: timeouts, fourth downs, red zone, punt situations, all kinds of things that we've seen from them that I have to be prepared for and talk to our staff about ... Try to anticipate the best you can and try to put your guys in the best possible scenario and situation on game day to expect certain things."
Belichick on Pederson as a playcaller
"Very aggressive, well-balanced. They use a lot of personnel -- all of the receivers, all of the tight ends, all of the backs. He gets a lot of people involved. Very aggressive getting the ball down the field ... He's done a great job."
Pederson on if he has been influenced by Belichick
"Obviously I have a lot of respect for Coach Belichick and what he's done and what he's accomplished. It's just the way he goes about his business and handling his business, and the way he handles the team, very matter-of-factly. Always business-like. It's important that you maintain that type of mentality with your football team and your coaching staff. Watching him and his career, it's what everybody aspires to do -- to win championships. That's why we get into this business. Again, a lot of respect for him and what he’s done [but] I still want to be me at the same time, you know what I'm saying? But I think there's definitely some similarities of things you can take away from that."
Belichick on what stands out about the job Pederson has done
"Everything. The record, the way they play. They're solid in every area of the game, they're tough. They've had several personnel losses -- Peters, Sproles, obviously Wentz, Hicks. They've dealt with those things and they continue to roll up a lot of points and play a lot of good football. They don't make many mistakes, they make you beat them, and they execute well. They've led wire-to-wire and they’ve won a lot of games by a lot of points. It's been a dominant football team all year, so they're very impressive."
Courtney Cronin, Mike Reiss and Dan Graziano contributed to this report.