I’m trying to figure out what the most improbable part of all of it:
* Was it back-up quarterback Nick Foles shredding New England’s defense?
* The extraordinary brass set on second-year head coach Doug Pederson?
* A third-straight upset win in the playoffs for a team that should never be called underdogs again?
* The fact that the Eagles won not one, but two “catch-or-no catch?” touchdown reviews in the replay booth?
* Or the fact that the sun came up over Philadelphia this morning and the city is still standing.
Maybe it’s this: Tom Brady threw for a Super Bowl record 505 yards. Rob Gronkowski went crazy with 9 catches, 116 yards and 2 scores. The Patriots came all the way back after not one but TWO 10-point deficits to take a lead in the 4th quarter… And the Eagles were still standing.
They took the champ’s best shot. Never blinked. And went home with a Lombardi. And even when it looked like it was time for Brady to add another chapter to his legend. With 2 minutes and 21 seconds left, when TB12 broke the huddle with his sword, ready to rip the heart out of the chest of another team and another city, the Eagles defense wouldn’t let him.
That was the first and only sack of the Super Bowl, and it came at a helluva time. Brandon Graham was the strip and rookie Derek Barnett with the scoop. That felt like the dagger. That felt like the end.
But of course it wasn’t. Not against the defending champs. Not against Two Goats. Rookie kicker Jake Elliott banged through the 46 yarder to make the lead 8, but the Pats got the ball back. And Brady had 58 seconds and no timeouts to go 91 yards.
And he almost did it. He converted a 4th and 10 to move the sticks. He fed Gronk the ball twice along the sideline. And with 9 seconds left, he had 1 last shot at tying it up.
Oh, it began. And I don’t think it’s stopped. Hell, I know it hasn’t stopped.
If you want a blueprint for ripping a title out of Brady and Belichick’s hands, Doug Pederson’s got it. Coach fearlessly. Attack relentlessly, like he did with Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles — try that on for size. And instead of coaching scared or not to lose, Pederson went all-in, burning the boats. Converting not one, but two legendary fourth downs. Going for it with just over 5 minutes left on his own side of the 50. And right before half pulling out “Target Left Bunch, Philly Special.” Putting the ball in the hands of one-time college quarterback Trey Burton, who threw the first pass of his four NFL seasons in the biggest game of his career.
That’s how you beat the Champ. Throw the first punch. Eat a few yourself, and don’t stop throwing haymakers fighting until the clock hits zero. An absolutely epic win for Philadelphia. And a Super Bowl that’ll go down as one of the best ever.