Eagles DC Jim Schwartz credits watching Alex Trebek and 'Jeopardy!' for his quick play-calling skills

Frank Schwab
·2 min read

Alex Trebek’s death over the weekend at age 80 affected people from all walks of life.

Even football coaches.

Trebek was the longtime host of “Jeopardy!” He hosted the quiz show as well as any game show host has ever done it. He had a perfect mix of humor and class, he was relatable and simply good at his job of keeping the show running smoothly. He also handled his battle with pancreatic cancer with courage and grace. His death was a loss to many.

You wouldn’t think that watching Trebek host “Jeopardy!” could be a training ground for an aspiring football coach, but it was.

Alex Trebek died at age 80 after battling pancreatic cancer. (Eric McCandless/ABC via Getty Images)
Alex Trebek died at age 80 after battling pancreatic cancer. (Eric McCandless/ABC via Getty Images)

How one NFL assistant benefited from Alex Trebek

Peter King’s weekly column at NBC Sports had a blurb about how Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz credited “Jeopardy!” with his speed in play calling, a necessary skill in a fast-paced sport.

Schwartz said when he was in college at Georgetown, a group of about six guys would watch the show every night.

“We were speed-readers, very competitive. It was a challenge to see who could blurt the answer out the fastest,” Schwartz told King. “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.

“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.”

There are plenty of untold stories of how Trebek and the show either shaped people or provided hours of smart entertainment. The NFL was just one of many groups touched by Trebek and saddened by his death.

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