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Ex-Titans DC Jim Schwartz Back in Super Bowl with Eagles

Posted Feb 1, 2018

Jim Schwartz was a 34-year-old defensive assistant in his first year with the Titans, in 1999. He coached in Super Bowl XXXIV that season. Now with the Eagles, Schwartz is back in the Super Bowl for the first time since.

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – Jim Schwartz was a 34-year-old defensive assistant during the 1999 season.

It was his first year with the Tennessee Titans, and he doesn’t remember a lot of glamour leading up to Super Bowl XXXIV in Atlanta. Yes, it was a new and exciting experience, but he was busy.

“In Tennessee, we didn’t really get to experience a lot of this,’’ Schwartz, defensive coordinator with the Philadelphia Eagles, said this week from Super Bowl LII. “First of all, the whole city was iced in, and it was hard to get around. There was no week in between (the AFC Championship Game and the Super Bowl), and as a coaching staff we were pretty much sequestered, we didn’t have an extra week to prepare.

“We were burning the midnight oil just like regular season. We even stayed behind in Nashville for two days. So this is different. It is neat to be a part of this process.”

Schwartz is back in the big game for the first time since. He’s 51 now, with gray in his hair and several other jobs now in his rear-view mirror since leaving Nashville. After spending 10 seasons with the Titans, where he coached Pro Bowlers like LB Keith Bulluck, DE Kevin Carter, CB Cortland Finnegan, DT Albert Haynesworth, S Chris Hope, DE Jevon Kearse and DE Kyle Vanden Bosch under head coach Jeff Fisher, Schwartz served as head coach of the Lions from 2009-13. He was defensive coordinator for one year with the Bills in 2014, and then in 2016 he joined the Eagles.

After several years of being close in Tennessee – the Titans went to the playoffs four times in five years from 1999-2003, and played in two AFC title games – Schwartz is preparing to coach in Super Bowl LII on Sunday against the New England Patriots.

A lot has changed over the years, including Schwartz.

"Everybody changes with time,” he told reporters during Super Bowl Opening Night. “Every step along the way you take, you gain greater knowledge, you gain greater depth, you gain better experience to use in the future. We’re all a product of our past experiences, so those continue to go.

"I think anything you do in life you’re going to learn from your experiences and that’s what life’s all about. You’re constantly developing, whether you’re a player, whether you’re a coach, whether you’re a writer. It’s a long journey if you don’t want to get stale, and I think that I’ve been very fortunate to be able to continue on a path and continue learning from some good people."

Schwartz, who grew up 90 miles from Philadelphia in Baltimore, didn’t get sentimental when asked how special it is to be back in the big game. Yes, he’s worked, and waited.

No, he’s not caught up in any storyline involving him and his wait to get back.

He’s focused on trying to slow down Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Schwartz’s Eagles finished fourth in the NFL in both scoring and total defense this season.

“I think you appreciate every day in this league,” said Schwartz, who served from 2001-08 as defensive coordinator in Tennessee. “You do everything you can just to get a win on Sunday. You appreciate those wins on September 12th and October 13th and the December wins, and the playoff wins. That’s what this is all about. It is all about winning games and the goal each week is to try and develop a plan, and put the players in a position to win the game.”

But he has a clear memory of what happened back in Super Bowl XXXIV, especially the ending. The Titans lost 23-16 to the St. Louis Rams as Kevin Dyson was tackled on the one-yard line on the final play of the game.

The Titans rallied from a 16-0 deficit to tie the game only to see the Rams win it with a late score, and stop.

“We started off poorly in the game, particularly defensively. We gave up a lot of yards,” Schwartz said of the Titans. “But at halftime we were able to get it settled and were able to get back in that game. The thing that got us back in that game is we got back to our personality, and that was Steve McNair scrambling, Eddie George running the ball and playing good defense. That is what I remember the most.

“… Everybody’s goal is to win a championship, and that is my No.1 goal. I have worn a lot of hats in the NFL, and never won the Super Bowl. And that has taken my full attention this week.”