PHILADELPHIA – To his own fans Nick Sirianni is the epitome of swag, the leader of the best football team in the NFL, and the steward of everything good and just in the football world.
To opposing fans, he’s the obnoxious cheerleader with a clock ticking towards comeback.
As with most things in life, the truth lies somewhere in between.
During a 38-7 beatdown of the New York Giants in the Divisional round of the postseason, Sirianni caught a camera in his face and couldn’t help himself. The Eagles Coach acted like a defender who just produced a turnover and raced to the end zone before mugging it up for the people at home.
In the days of Tom Landry or Bud Grant, there was a certain decorum to being a head football coach in the NFL. That’s still the case with many of the buttoned-up, but the younger generation is turning that on its ear a little bit.
For Sirianni, 41, nothing’s calculated, he’s just being himself.
“It was right in my face,” Sirianni said on Wednesday when asked about his exuberant look into the camera. “I was juiced, we were up a couple scores and it was like right there. I do not know. It’s the first thing that came to my mind.
“I guess that’s who I am.”
Sirianni is, is an ultra-competitive, type-A personality, so much so that he installed a basketball hoop in the NovaCare Complex’s Auditorium and enjoys putting some of the best Athletes in the world in their place if they haven’t kept their jump shots sharp.
He’s also the guy that will take you on if you disrespect one of his own whether it’s on a South Jersey tennis court or on the radio when the uneducated take shots at the leader of the second-ranked defense in the NFL.
And it’s always been that way for him.
“Yeah, you can ask some of the people from the neighboring high schools or the Rival colleges,” the Coach said. “You can ask some John Carroll guys or Baldwin Wallace guys.
“My brother married a girl from our Rival high school and they have all sorts of family members there and my brother will go to an event at Randolph and he’ll be like, ‘You know, the people there still don’t like you from all the things that you did when you were playing against them?’”
Sirianni kept his Hometown antics in-house but when asked to compare it to one of his players, the answer was trash-talker extraordinaire Chauncey Gardner-Johnson.
Sirianni is just a sideline extension of the star player opposing fans get mad at after the touchdown celebration.
And the advice to stopping it will always be the same – stop them.
Justin Jefferson isn’t doing “The Griddy” if you keep him out of the end zone and Sirianni isn’t mugging for the FOX cameras when you’re beating the Eagles by two touchdowns.
What drives Rival fans nuts is that Sirianni has built a 15-1 team when his starting quarterback is in the lineup and he’s on the cusp of the Super Bowl.
They back up the swagger with results.
And the worst part is, he doesn’t care what you think.
“All I care about is our team,” he said. “And I’m not really concerned with what anybody else thinks except for our team and helping make those guys the best football players they can possibly be.”
-John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for SI.com’s Eagles Today and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John, alongside legendary sports-talk host Jody McDonald every morning from 8-10 on ‘Birds 365,” streaming live on YouTube. John is also the host of his own show “Football 24/7 and a daily contributor to ESPN South Jersey. You can reach him at [email protected] or on Twitter @JFMcMullen