What a game that was, Sunday treated us NFL to a wonderful Super Bowl between the Eagles and the Patriots; with the Eagles coming out on top in a crazy almost defenceless game 41-33 to win their first Super Bowl in franchise history. It was a game almost purely of offence, so much so that the Eagles only punted once and the Patriots didn’t at all. It was a record-setting night on Sunday with my favourite stat being that Nick Foles became the first player in NFL history to throw and receive a touchdown in a Super Bowl. However, for this exercise, we have to leave him out of this conversation because with his 374 yards and 3 touchdowns he won Super Bowl MVP. Here are my considerations for who else could have won it in Minneapolis.
Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots
Brady was outstanding in this game, my main argument here for him winning the MVP award is that he threw for a Super Bowl record 505 yards. This against a Philadelphia defence that ranked 4th in total defence in the regular season. He carved them up all night, with his poise and precision on display for all to see. Brady operated at a faster pace than usual as they tried to limit Philadelphia from substitutions on their defence. His pocket movement and speed of his release was incredible. The Eagles only managed one sack on him the entire game. However it was the most decisive play of the game, he was sacked by Brandon Graham who stripped him of the ball which was recovered by Eagles rookie defensive end Derek Barnett. Another unfortunate mistake by Brady was a key failed third-down conversion. The Patriots ran a trick play, where Brady handed the ball off to James White who pitched it to Danny Amendola. He throws the ball to Brady who is wide open for a first down. All he has to do is catch it, but no it goes off Brady’s hands and falls incomplete. Those two plays unfortunately may be what people remember Brady for in this game years down the line.
Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia Eagles
Zach Ertz was Carson Wentz’s favourite target all season till he got injured. Ertz in the regular season was as dependable as they come, catching 74 passes for 824 yards and 8 touchdowns. This made him Philadelphia’s leading receiver in the regular season. He continued the role of safety blanket when Foles took over at quarterback, becoming his go-to option on a broken play or third down. This was evident in the Super Bowl as Ertz caught 4 passes that went for a first down, he was crucial for Philadelphia because without those catches they don’t score any more points. As well as that he scored the winning touchdown in the Super Bowl with an 11-yard slant route to the end zone, of course as there always seemingly is, a debate about whether it was a catch but he was a runner when he broke the plain so it stood. His number may not have been as gaudy as the next man on this list, but Ertz made the plays that kept the Eagles alive in this shootout of a Super Bowl. Rightfully he was rewarded with a Super Bowl ring.
Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots
Gronkowski might be a long shot for this award because during the first half he was almost non-existent on the field. He had just 1 catch for 9 yards in that lowly first half, but in the second half, he was back to his brilliant best. He and Brady put on a clinic for everyone on the opening drive of the second half, with Gronkowski catching 4 passes for 68 yards and a touchdown. The drive encapsulated why Gronkowski is the best tight end of this millennium, he was unstoppable. It was like watching a tornado rip through a hamlet. It didn’t stop there as Gronkowski collected his second touchdown of the game on the Patriots last scoring drive of the game with 9:02 left. His touchdown catch over Ronald Darby was a majestic combination of size and strength to beat him to the ball but then the athleticism to catch it for a touchdown was wonderful. Although Gronkowski didn’t have a big first half, it was his performance in the second that willed New England into the game.
Corey Clement, RB, Philadelphia Eagles
This undrafted rookie free agent from Wisconsin was a force during the Super Bowl, as he torched the Patriots for 108 total yards. It was through the air where he did his most damage, collecting 100 yards and a touchdown on just 4 catches. All of his catches either converted for a new set of downs or he scored. His pace coming out of the backfield on a 3rd and 3 with just 1:25 left to go in the first half when he caught a pass from Foles was electric. He shot past Jordan Richards on a wheel route, then he got to the 30-yard line and sent New England safety into next week with an Adrian Peterson like stiff arm throwing him to the ground. With this, he shot ahead, with it only taking an amazing hustle play by Patrick Chung to tackle him at the 6-yard line. Doug Pederson clearly seeing the Clement was in the zone, ran the next play with him in as the tailback. Clement ran into a pile of bodies, but his strength took him through a tackle and him with the help of guard Brandon Brooks got to the 2-yard line. Soon after the Eagles ran a play that will go down in Super Bowl folklore, with Trey Burton on a trick play throwing Nick Foles a touchdown. That play doesn’t happen without the sublime play of Clement.