They finally have a Lombardi Trophy.
As I write this, the city of Philadelphia is literally and figuratively on fire as Eagles fans light up the city following a magnificent victory over a phenomenal performance from Tom Brady and his New England Patriots.
The game was everything a sports fan could hope for and on local radio here in Adelaide I claimed it was the most exciting sports event I had ever watched. I stand by that comment for now but I may well be a prisoner of the moment.
I had my concerns the Eagles bubble may be about to burst as they left the comfy confines of Lincoln Financial Field and trekked to freezing Minneapolis to tackle the machine that is New England.
Justin Timberlake was his swaggy self during the halftime entertainment and occasionally, such is the talent attracted to perform at the Super Bowl, the performances on the mic can overshadow the performances on the turf.
But not today. Not in this Super Bowl. Now with the greatest quarterback to have played the game in action. Not with the explosive Eagles in action. This was a historically great game. One which NFL Films will make multiple documentaries about.
Let’s break down where this game was won – and lost…
FANTASTICALLY FABULOUS FOLES
When I previewed this game I suggested Nick Foles would have struggled in this game, thanks largely to game-planning from the Patriots defensive coaching staff.
Boy was I wrong. And Nick Foles is never forever known as a Super Bowl MVP. It’s a brilliant story considering Foles was run out of town a few seasons ago before coach Doug Pederson convinced him to back up young star Carson Wentz.
When Wentz dropped with a torn ACL, shivers went through Philly and experts across the US gave up hope on the Eagles playoff chances.
Foles had other ideas and his entire playoff run was sensational, capped off by the Super Bowl where he threw for 373 yards, three TD’s and even caught a touchdown on a magical trick play. His play was flawless and he now seems likely to be chased by a bunch of teams looking for a competent QB.
Foles was understated after the game but as great as his playmakers were – and they were all indeed excellent – the Eagles do not win their first ever Super Bowl without an amazing effort from a back-up QB.
IS IT A CATCH ?
This god damn catch rule will be fixed in the off-season according to commissioner Roger Goodell and it’s about bloody time.
Super Bowl 52 was marred somewhat by two ‘is it a catch’ reviews on Eagles touchdowns.
Rookie tailback Corey Clement caught a deep pass from Foles near the back of the end zone and after a conversation between two referees, a touchdown was awarded.
Replays suggested the ball may have bobbled in his arms and his left foot was clearly out of bounds when he regained control of the ball. For mine – and the way those decisions have been officiated all season – that was not a catch because he stepped out of bounds after regaining control. Anyway, if that was not enough, the game-clinching score from Foles to tight end Zach Ertz was also controversial when replay assistants needed to decide whether Ertz dived for the goal line as a receiver or had taken possession and dived for the line as a runner after securing the catch. Confused ? Me, too.
Rightfully, Ertz was considered a runner so as soon as he broke the plane of the goal line the touchdown was scored.
The rule is in disarray and Goodell is right, sorting out this mess is among the top priorities for the league office in the off-season because as it has all season long, the ‘catch rule’ paralysed at least a part of the big game.
TOM vs TIME
Tom Brady is magnificent. He missed a few throws early but that just shows he’s actually human. After settling into his shoes, Brady tore up the Eagles defence for 505 passing yards and 3 scores. A truly remarkable effort.
He found Rob Gronkowski twice in the end zone and linked up with Danny Amendola and Chris Hogan time after time.
After an Ertz go-ahead TD, Brady had to take the ball almost 90-yards and then score a 2-point conversion to get to overtime and anyone who said he had no chance was flat out lying. It was too much however and Eagles defensive lineman Brandon Graham managed to get to Brady and force a fumble, scooped up by rookie Derek Barnett – basically sealing victory.
Brady’s performance was incredible. Incredible for anyone playing quarterback, let alone a 40-year-old veteran.
He insisted after the loss he would be back as a 41-year-old and who would be game enough to bet against him…
COACH DESERVES THE GAME BALL BECAUSE HE HAS BIG, BIG BALLS OF HIS OWN
Excuse my gutter lingo but there’s no other way to describe the play-calling performance from head coach Doug Pederson. Only few head coaches also call plays and often those that do hand over the reigns because it becomes too tough an ask.
Pederson is an exception and his calls in the big dance were ballsy, accurate and produced game-winning results.
Working with a back-up QB, ‘Philly Special’ was the call heading into halftime and the players produced to perfection. Foles stepped away from his customary shotgun stance and moved along the offensive line as if he was disinterested in the play. Clement then took the direct snap, flipped it to big man Trey Burton who found Foles who had slipped into the end zone unaccounted for.
The play was one that ended in two completely different conversations.
Bravest play call of the season or the dumbest!
After the game, Burton was quoted as saying, ‘our coach has some guts, huh?’
Yes he does Trey and thankfully for Eagles fans he does because he just play called his way into Philadelphia folklore.