From Underdogs to Top Dog

Tristan Batiste, Writer

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Well that was unexpected.

Let’s face it, a majority of football fans gave the Philadelphia Eagles no chance to beat the dynasty of Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and The New England Patriots. The Eagles sought to prove everyone wrong, and the result was a 41-33 win in Super Bowl 52 hosted in Minneapolis.

So how did the Eagles do it?

For years teams have been trying to find a way to beat the Patriots, and have found a formula that consists of keeping Tom Brady off the field, bringing pressure to Tom Brady, and playing man defense. The Eagles and head coach Doug Peterson did an excellent job at following this formula, and executed their game plan perfectly. However, these weren’t the only reasons the Eagles were able to win.

After watching the game, it’s clear that the Eagles focused on keeping Tom Brady off the field. At the end of the first half, the Eagles had the ball with less than two minutes remaining. Instead of being satisfied with their lead and taking a knee(like the Jacksonville Jaguars did in the AFC championship and ended up losing to a Tom Brady 4th quarter comeback) they opted to keep the drive alive.

The Eagles drove all the way down the field and found themselves 4th and goal at the one yard line. Instead of kicking the field goal, Doug Peterson and Nick Foles huddled together and churned up one of the most memorable plays in Super Bowl history, a trick play that resulted in tight end Tre Burton throwing a one yard touchdown pass to Nick Foles.

In the words of Doug Peterson, “If you play conservative, you’re going to go 8-8 or 7-9 every year.” Doug Peterson may have found the new weakness of the New England Patriots: don’t play conservative.

Going back to the Jaguars and Patriots AFC Championship match up, after the Jaguars  secured a 14-10 lead going into halftime they attempted to leave the rest of the game in the hands of their defense and started calling more conservative plays on offense. As a result the Jaguars were only able to score 6 points on two field goals and lost 24-20 after leading a large majority of the game.

The Jaguars focused on throwing easy check downs for 5-6 yards a play and running to their rookie running back Leonard Fournette. The Eagles however, mixed a variety of short underneath routes along with screens meant to set up extra yards after the catch (which the receivers and running backs of the Eagles do very well) and big plays downfield.

Even when they had the lead Nick Foles was throwing rookie running back Corey Clement a 22 yard touchdown with two defenders in coverage. The Eagles took a lead and never went back, and it paid off to play like they were losing the whole game.

Last, one absolutely key component and the most obvious reason for the Eagles success was the play of backup quarterback Nick Foles. Nick Foles played spectacularly.

Foles threw 373 yards on 28-43 passing to go along with four touchdowns (one receiving) and helped the Eagles convert an outstanding 10-16 on third down. Foles also won Super Bowl MVP after playing the game of his life, he played like a hall of fame quarterback when it mattered.

Overall, the Eagles played with guts and grit. By re-watching the game, you can see how badly each player wanted that Super Bowl, and each player looked unafraid of the juggernaut New England Patriots.

As a result, the 2017 Philadelphia Eagles were able to dethrone the defending champions and give the Philadelphia Eagles their first ever Super Bowl victory.