The world recently lost an icon after “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 80. He touched lives beyond the media industry and even helped Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz get to where he is today.
The Eagles coach talked to NBC Sports’ Peter King about Trebek’s influence:
“Alex Trebek and Jeopardy! trained me to be a football coach,” Schwartz said.
“When I was a sophomore, junior and senior at Georgetown [in 1986-89], every night after dinner, me and a big group, maybe six guys, would watch the show. Very smart guys. We were speed-readers, very competitive. It was a challenge to see who could blurt the answer out the fastest. You might know the answer, but if you don’t do it very fast, you’d lose. With my friends, if you were a little slow, you’d get steamrolled.”
The Eagles defensive coordinator native mentioned that he was able to apply the instincts he formed while playing “Jeopardy!” to the game of football.
“In football, as a play-caller, you’ve got to be very quick, you’ve got to enunciate the play well when you call it, you can’t make errors. Those are all things Alex was so good at. His command of the show and the contestants was incredible. You need that kind of command when you’re in charge of a team too.”
After playing as a linebacker at Georgetown, Schwartz went on to begin his coaching career with several teams in the collegiate ranks. He eventually entered the NFL as a personnel scout for the Cleveland Browns until he worked his way up and landed a head coaching stint with the Detroit Lions from 2009 to 2013.
Schwartz had a one-year pitstop with the Buffalo Bills as a defensive coordinator before joining the Eagles in 2016, where he continues to serve until this day. He has already been coaching in the NFL now for over 20 years, and he has the late Alex Trebek to thank for having an eventful career.
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