Comparing the Careers of Former Backup QBs-Turned NFL Head Coaches

Jason Garrett and Doug Pederson are currently NFL head coaches for rival NFC east teams – Cowboys and Eagles, respectively. Garrett is best known for consistently hovering around .500 and choking come playoff time while Pederson is now known for his gutsy 4th down play calling and Super Bowl 52 victory this past February.

But before they both achieved their dreams of being head coaches, they were backup QBs who had rather lengthy careers.

Some things both QBs had in common:

  • Both spent their careers as backup QBs, playing behind hall of fame, Super Bowl winning starters
  • Before breaking out in the NFL, both played in the World League of American Football
  • Neither was drafted after both retired in 2004

Take a look at a deeper dive into the professional playing days of these rival head coaches.

Jason Garrett

Played college at both Princeton and Columbia
Ivy League record for completion percentage (65.5%)
NFL career – 1993-2000
Signed as an undrafted free agent with the Saints in 1990, but didn’t appear in an NFL game until 1993
9 starts (all with the Cowboys) and appeared in 25 total games
6-3 record as a starter
Backed up Troy Aikman in Dallas
11 TDs, 5 INTs
56.1% completions
2,042 total yards passing
3 career playoff passes in two appearances
Retired as a player in 2004 and became Dolphins QB coach in 2005
Cowboys head coach since 2010. Career record of 67-53 and 1-2 in playoffs

Doug Pederson

Played college ball at Northeast Louisiana University from 1987-1990
NFL career – 1993-2004
Appeared in 100 games and started 17
3-14 record as a starter – 2-7 with Philly in 1999 and 1-8 with Cleveland in 2000
Backed up Dan Marino in Miami and Brett Favre in Green Bay
12 TDs, 19 INTs
54.8% completions
2,762 total yards passing
Retired as a player in 2004
Eagles head coach since 2016
Super Bowl 52 Champion

Follow me on twitter @msschneid or instagram @mikedropsports .


Mike is an alum of the University of Cincinnati and the ultimate sports nerd.

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