The Philadelphia Eagles are Super Bowl Champions. In an amazing game, one that was a fantastic advert for the NFL, the Eagles held out to become the Super Bowl Champions. For what it’s worth, I’m going to share my thoughts on the match. First a disclaimer. This is not an analysis of the Super Bowl, it’s just a collection of my thoughts about the match.
Play calling – In discussion with friends, several people were critical of Doug Pederson for his decision to go for two having missed the previous PAT. It didn’t come as a surprise to me. Pederson has been aggressive with his plays all year. Sometimes it’s cost the Eagles games, other times the results have seen the Eagles emerge victors. On the two point attempt it looked costly. However, the same aggressive play calling led to the Eagles ‘Philly Special’; a direct snap to Corey Clement, flipped to former high school quarterback, Trey Burton, who passed to none other than Nick Foles. On fourth down. With 38 seconds left in the second half. In the Super Bowl! Amazing. Pederson has gone with his gut all year. Great coaching job.
Jay Ajayi had this to say on the Eagles aggressive offence, “We wanted to be aggressive tonight. We understood that this is a team that does not quit that we were playing, that plays four quarters and we were going to have to be able to be aggressive all game long and we showed that tonight. From an offensive standpoint to the defense stepping up late, aggressive all the way. We set the tone early and we wanted to keep our foot on the gas.”
The opposition -it’s a testament to just how good the Patriots and Tom Brady have been that my heart was in my mouth until the last play. Brady has such a knack for reading defences and making the perfect throw; again and again. Brady threw for 505 yards and three touchdowns. Time after time he was able to get rid of the ball quickly against the Eagles defensive line. Three players (Hogan, Amendola and Gronkowski) combined for 396 yards receiving. Gronkowski in particular was a matchup nightmare that made play after play in the second half. Even with less than a minute left, behind by eight points, no-one would have been surprised to see Brady drive up the field for to tie the game. Scary.
The Eagles running backs were amazing at times and broke tackles and pushed piles for a large chunk of yardage. Much had been written about my favourite Eagles back, LeGarrette Blount and mid season addition Jay Ajayi. On Super Bowl Sunday it was an undrafted rookie out of Wisconsin who made some amazing plays in the passing game. Corey Clement had four receptions for 100 yards and a touchdown. His touchdown catch was a thing of beauty.
At the start of the season I said I thought the Eagles would make the playoffs. Midway through the season I said to a colleague that we’d make the Super Bowl if our defence played well enough. That was true until last night when the offence stepped up. I never thought I’d see the Eagles win the Super Bowl. I certainly never thought I’d see them play in Philadelphia as part of their Super Bowl winning season. Last night, both things became true. Fly Eagles Fly!