By Jared Spohr
A quick glance at Tom Brady’s stat line from the Super Bowl would lead anyone to the educated guess that New England became back-to-back champions. As we know, they’d be wrong. At 28-48 completions, 505 passing yards and three touchdowns, Brady is now the only quarterback in history with 500-plus passing yards, three or more touchdowns and zero interceptions to lose a football game.
Arguably the greatest quarterback of all-time, Brady had an absolutely phenomenal game and made very few mistakes, but the Patriots defense could not handle the incredible performance from Nick Foles. Nick Foles? You mean the backup quarterback who contemplated quitting football two years prior? The guy who stood in Carson Wentz’s shadow before his crippling knee injury? The guy who has been struggling to land a starting quarterback job for the past few years? Yeah, that Nick Foles.
The entire Eagles team had an incredible game. Behind the best offensive line in the league, LeGarrette Blount and Jay Ajayi combined for 147 yards and a touchdown. They played a key part in keeping the clock running and helping gain valuable yards for the Eagles moving downfield. Perhaps more exciting is the fact that Foles spread the ball around incredibly well to each of his wide receivers. Just take a look at this stat line: Corey Clement: four receptions, 100 yards, TD. Nelson Agholor: nine receptions, 84 yards. Alshon Jeffery: three receptions, 73 yards, TD. Zach Ertz: seven receptions, 67 yards, TD. Torrey Smith: five receptions, 49 yards. Nick Foles: one reception, one yard, TD.
What? Foles with a touchdown reception? You bet.
As said by ESPN’s Courtney Cronin, “On fourth-and-goal with the first half coming to a close, Foles moved out from under center, having center Jason Kelce snap the ball to running back Corey Clement, who turned and swiftly handed the ball off to tight end Trey Burton. Foles had ran freely to the far side of the end zone and turned around right before he crossed the plane to haul in a touchdown pass from Burton that gave Philadelphia a 22-12 lead.”
With what Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth called one of the “gutsiest” play calls in Super Bowl history, the Eagles pulled off their “Philly Special” in spectacular fashion.
However, It didn’t take long for controversy to surface, as a video emerged on Twitter highlighting how the Eagles seemed to be in an illegal formation during the play. NFL’s rules state that there must be seven players on the line of scrimmage when the ball is snapped. If you look at a screenshot of the play, it is easy to see that Eagles receiver Alshon Jeffery was off the line enough to get called for a penalty.
However, while this will probably anger Patriots fans for years to come, the play was completely legal. Receivers are supposed to check with officials before the snap, to confirm that their alignment is considered okay. Alshon Jeffery did just that, as evidenced in the official game tape. Whether or not Jeffrey was exactly where he was supposed to be doesn’t even matter, because the officials told him that his alignment was fine.
Regardless of any controversies, Eagles head coach Pederson’s aggressive play calling style allowed them to hold the lead for most of the game.
No, Tom Brady is not washed up. No, the Patriots era probably isn’t over. Bill Belichick is still the greatest coach in history. Regardless of what administration changes occur in the offseason, if Belichick and Brady are back for another year, it will be hard to bet against the future outlook of the Patriots.
Bottom line is that both teams showed up to play, which resulted in a great football game which will go down as an instant classic.
The Philadelphia Eagles are world champions for the first time in franchise history, and Eagles fans are partying so hard they are climbing light poles and lighting Christmas trees on fire.
If you listen really hard, you can probably hear cries of “Free Meek Mill!” all the way from here.