The Philadelphia Eagles Are Super Bowl Champions
It was going to take the perfect gameplan, flawless execution on both sides of the ball, and an otherworldly performance from an unheralded backup quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles if they wanted to pull off the upset of the mighty New England Patriots and bring home the franchise’s first Lombardi Trophy and first title since their 1960 NFL Championship.
Plus, SBNY Podcast w/ Kevin Luo of The Sports Quotient who was in Center City Philly after the game
Needless to say, they checked off all three of those boxes. Doug Pederson out-coached arguably the greatest coach in NFL history in Bill Belichick with an aggressive offensive gameplan. The Eagles only had one turnover on offense and got the stop they needed most on defense in crunch time. And Nick Foles, the Eagles’ insurance policy when starting QB and team leader Carson Wentz went down with an ACL, was phenomenal. Foles went 28/43 for 373 yards and three touchdown scores and, as a result, the Eagles defeated New England 41-33 in Minneapolis to win the team’s first Super Bowl and sent the city of Philadelphia into a frenzy.
Thousands took the the streets in Philadelphia following the Eagles' first-ever Super Bowl win—and a few climbed streetlights to celebrate. Police say there were only three arrests. https://t.co/W6oYbQyX1O pic.twitter.com/F5I5JgGmCb
— ABC News (@ABC) February 5, 2018
The Eagles overcame one of the better performances by arguably the greatest quarterback to ever do it in Tom Brady, who broke his own Super Bowl record for passing yards (505) and threw for three touchdowns in the game. But the aforementioned Belichick and his typically solid, prepared defenses were NOT prepared and could not stop the Eagles offense whatsoever. It also didn’t help that Belichick made some questionable decisions, both personnel-wise and in-game, that cost his team dearly. There was the move to kick a field goal instead of going for it on 4th and 1 deep in Eagles territory with Tom Brady and the explosive Patriots offense late in the 2nd quarter. There was the head-scratching decision made by Belichick to bench perhaps his team’s best defender in cornerback Malcolm Butler, who had started 17 of the team’s prior 18 games this season, and not have Butler on the field for one defensive snap.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) February 5, 2018
And yet, what we’re going to remember most about this Super Bowl was the Eagles’ refusal to take their foot off the gas pedal, especially on offense, constantly breaking through the Patriots’ “bend but don’t break” defense. To me, even their opening 1st quarter drive, which only led to a field goal but took up half of the quarter, was an indicator of how the night would go. The Eagles were not, as many thought leading up to the game, just “happy to be here”; they wanted to win the whole thing and it was clear from the outset.
There was the gutsy trick play call on 4th and goal and time winding down in the first half, with Nick Foles catching a 1-yard pass from tight end Trey Burton to put the Eagles up double-digits at halftime. Especially in juxtaposition to Brady dropping his chance at glory, this may become the most memorable play of the night.
YUP. Nick Foles is catching TD passes.
In the @superbowl.
— NFL (@NFL) February 5, 2018
There was the crucial decision late in the 4th to go for it on 4th and 1 near midfield with the Eagles down one and the Patriots fresh off three straight touchdown drives. The short pass from Foles to tight end Zach Ertz kept the Philly drive alive, culminating with the eventual game-winning 11-yard reception to Ertz with 2:21 to go. On the next New England drive, the Eagles defense that came up big all year, including the postseason, finally got the stop they needed. Defensive end Brandon Graham strip-sacked Brady with fellow lineman Derek Barnett recovering. Though they kicked a field goal shortly after, the game wasn’t officially over until the final desperation pass Brady threw towards the end zone was batted down as time expired.
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) February 5, 2018
Of course, there was a bit of controversy on a couple of plays. New England fans griped over Eagles RB Cory Clement’s 22-yard touchdown catch in the third and Ertz’s game-clinching touchdown in the fourth, both of which were upheld under replay review. There was a bit more legitimacy in the complaint over the Clement play, as it looked like he was bobbling the ball slightly before controlling it on the way down towards the ground. But in both cases, as so often happens, there just wasn’t enough to change the calls made on the field (especially in a game of this magnitude).
Regardless, the Philadelphia Eagles played a complete, perfect game. The kind of game that we’ve seen so many Patriots opponents try to play but just simply cannot do for 60 minutes. The Eagles did finish it off, and as a result, are hoisting their first Vince Lombardi trophy. Expect to see hundreds of thousands of fans partying on Broad Street tomorrow for their victory parade and for years to come.