By Will Price, ’18 and Zach Backiewicz ’19
After a year’s worth of football-filled weeks and an entertaining postseason, the Philadelphia Eagles were crowned this year’s Super Bowl Champion. The Eagles defeated the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII on Feb. 4 by a final score of 41-33. The game was watched by an estimated 103.4 million viewers according to CBS News.
After defeating the Minnesota Vikings by a score of 38-7, the Eagles advanced to their first Super Bowl game since 2005 in which they lost the game to the New England Patriots. Immediately the Eagles were seen as the underdogs of the game, having their backup quarterback, Nick Foles, lead the team after the injury to the original starter, Carson Wentz, earlier in the year. For senior Jack Castetter, an Eagles fan since he was a kid, witnessing Philadelphia win the Super Bowl was a great experience.
“It’s amazing,” Castetter said. “When Wentz got hurt I thought that it would be it for the season but Foles came through. It’s surreal.”
The Eagles defeated the reigning Super Bowl Champions led by the NFL’s MVP. quarterback Tom Brady. Brady and Patriots were the favorites to take home the Lombardi Trophy. Instead, Foles was voted the MVP of the game afterward, going 28 of 43 passing for 373 yards and three touchdowns. He also caught a touchdown in the game.
It was an exciting game filled with record-breaking offensive numbers. The teams combined for 1,151 of total offense, a record for any NFL game. For his part, Brady threw for 505 yards, another postseason record. The teams went back and forth with only one punt by either team in the game.
The Eagles scored first, and after the teams traded scoring possessions during the remainder of the first half. Philadelphia had one of the biggest plays in the game late in the second quarter. Up 15-12, head coach Doug Pederson decided to go for it on 4th and 1 at the goal line. The Eagles would score on a trick play that had the tight end and former college quarterback Trey Burton throw to Foles. This gave Philadelphia a 22-12 edge heading into halftime.
Brady would not be denied in the second half, as the Patriots scored touchdowns on their first three drives, including two by All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski. The second one gave the Patriots a one-point lead at 33-32 with less than 10 minutes to go in the game.
Foles responded masterfully with a 14 play, seven-minute drive that ended on a touchdown pass to tight end Zach Ertz. The play underwent a lengthy review to see if Ertz made the catch, and head referee Gene Steratore confirmed the call on the field. This wasn’t the first catch controversy of the game- Eagles running back Corey Clement caught a touchdown pass earlier in the second half that had a long review of its own, but that play stood as well.
The play of the game was on the next possession was when Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham forced a fumble on a sack of Brady that was recovered by rookie Derek Barnett with just over two minutes to go. Philadelphia would kick a field goal to go up eight shortly after, and Brady’s last-gasp hail mary fell harmlessly to the turf, giving the Eagles their first championship since 1960.
“I just figured they would win the whole game. I’m not sure it makes it better but it would’ve been great no matter who we beat,” Castetter said.
New England was going for its sixth Super Bowl win in the Brady-Belichick era. This would have tied the Pittsburgh Steelers for most Super Bowl wins of all time. Instead, the Patriots fell to 5-5 all time, tying them with the Denver Broncos for the most losses in the Super Bowl era. With Brady and Belichick, who began with the team back in 2001, they are now 5-3 in Super Bowl appearances. Philadelphia also avenged a loss to the Patriots from 2005, when they fell to Brady 24-21.