Eagles Become Top Dog
Philadelphia, the wait is over.
The Eagles are Super Bowl champions.
In a season that never quite felt real, that sentence is. It’s over. No more looking ahead to the next game, no more swirling emotions. Just release. Pure, unfiltered joy.
In a game where the Eagles held the lead for nearly its entirety, it still never felt quite real. That’s what happens when you play the best. We have all seen the Tom Brady comeback script before, including last year’s historic Super Bowl when the Patriots overcame a 28-3 deficit to win.
So when Brady got the ball back down by five with over two minutes to go, the euphoria seemed miles away.
And then he dropped back to pass – as he had done cleanly and safely for the majority of the game – and looked for his receivers – three of them logged over 100 yards receiving – and then … the ball was loose. It happened fast. Brandon Graham, slid inside to line up over the guard with Chris Long flanking him outside, beat his man and collapsed into Brady’s pocket. He put his hand where every defensive lineman is trained to put it, right on the ball. Brady’s arm came up, moved forward, with his empty hand springing harmlessly in the direction of his intended target.
But the ball wasn’t there. It hit the ground where it bounced just once, sharply, almost straight up – the only, perfect, most beautiful bounce – and into the arms of Derek Barnett.
There were still plays to follow, including another clutch field goal from rookie replacement kicker Jake Elliott. And a swarming, focused kickoff coverage play on the ensuing possession.
There were still some nervy moments, as Brady managed as only he can to bring his team all the way out to midfield for one last chance. Hail Mary throws don’t usually work, but they work a bit more often than never. But at that point, even Eagles fans had to feel good when it left Brady’s hand. It felt destined. And sure enough, the ball bounced off some hands, hit some shoulder pads, and then, finally, the turf.
The clock said 0:00. The refs signaled the game was over. The Eagles had 41 points and the Patriots only had 33.
And that was that. Apparently that’s how it happens. That’s how an NFL Championship drought that began in 1961 ends. That’s how a team that has been very good but never great enough changes everything.
Nick Foles, the hero of 2013 before being traded out of town, the talk of so many pubs and radio shows and dinner tables around Philadelphia for over two years, won Super Bowl LII MVP. He also caught a touchdown pass … yes, caught one. Saint Nick indeed.
LeGarrette Blount scored on his old team. Alshon Jeffery made good on his guarantee that the Eagles would win the Super Bowl. Jason Kelce and Brandon Brooks and Lane Johnson dominated the line of scrimmage all evening. Nelson Agholor looked like the guy we thought we were drafting back in 2015. Zach Ertz looked like the superstar we’ve all been waiting for. Our defense, gassed and unable to touch the Patriots for much of the game, came up with one last big play in one last big moment.
And then the confetti fell and it was over. And everything – everything – was different. Ghosts and memories of the Fog Bowl, Randall, Buddy, Donovan, TO, Andy, Dawk, Trot, Reggie, The Miracles at the Meadowlands, Jaws, Carmichael, Westbrook … they all took on a new hue. The football gods gave the memory of Jerome Brown the sweetest of presents on his oh so fitting birthday.
It’s been a long time. There have been so many games, so many holidays, tailgates with family, Eagles jerseys wrapped up under so many trees, Sunday dinners at mom-mom’s house, insane traditions, ridiculous superstitions. Eagles fans have been mocked, feared, loathed, envied, and berated. Our city has been called second-rate. Wannabes. We’ve seen other teams and their fans experience joy at our expense and been told it was never going to be our turn.
This was for all of that.
It is our turn. And decades from now, we will be able to tell our kids and grandkids about one of the greatest Eagles team ever. The team that won us our first Super Bowl trophy. We have new immortal names. Foles, Ertz, Jeffery, Agholor, Blount, Clement, Graham, Barnett, Elliott. And after a disastrous spell with a high profile college coach everybody wanted, whoever would have guessed that the first coach to bring a Lombardi Trophy to Philadelphia would be Doug Pederson? Everything is different now.
The parade is on Thursday. We get to pinch ourselves and remind the entire world it really happened. The Eagles are Super Bowl champs.
If you’re going to the parade, remember that the hopes and dreams and joys and sorrows of nearly 60 years’ worth of Eagles fans march with you. This was for all of them and all of us. This is the party Eagles Nation so deserves.
Fly World Champion Eagles, Fly.