In a tightly contested game that surpassed all expectations, the Philadelphia Eagles beat the New England Patriots to win the Lombardi Trophy at Super Bowl LII.
It was a Cinderella ending for the Eagles after they lost star quarterback Carson Wentz to injury late in the regular season, which tempered expectations. Led by backup quarterback Nick Foles, the Birds made it through the playoffs and withstood an onslaught from Tom Brady and the defending champs in Minneapolis, earning their first NFL championship in franchise history. Foles was named Super Bowl MVP.
“It’s the most unique, together, group of men,” Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said during the trophy presentation when asked to describe the character of the team. “I’ve told them, I’ve never seen a group come together with all the adversity and injuries and losing our franchise QB and you’re World Champs.”
Eagles coach Doug Pederson—who was coaching a high school team almost a decade ago—complimented the fans in his post-game comments.
“Not only do we have the best fans in the world,” Pederson said, “now we have the best team.”
Philly players took to social media to show off their new bling and celebrate:
No better feeling! pic.twitter.com/XhxcQAFpfw
— Brandon Brooks (@bbrooks_79) February 5, 2018
SUPER BOWL CHAMPS!!!!!!! PHILLY SEE YA ON BROAD STREET!!!
— Trey Burton (@TreyBurton8) February 5, 2018
Yo Philly, WE DID IT! #FlyEaglesFly pic.twitter.com/Y8bpBW2FoH
— Zach Ertz (@ZERTZ_86) February 5, 2018
The evening started off with a powerful rendition of the national anthem by hometown singer, Pink, who was battling the flu. The Patriots won the coin toss, opting to defer possession until the second half (which they almost always do).
The Birds ended the opening drive of Super Bowl LII by scoring a field goal, but New England quickly tied the game with a kick of their own. Philly answered back with a touchdown on their second drive but missed the extra point—not to be outdone, Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski blew a field goal attempt on New England’s next drive, leaving the score 9-3 at the end of the first quarter.
Brandin Cooks of the Patriots took a nasty hit after catching a pass from Tom Brady at the start of the second quarter, which caused the wide receiver to be ruled out for the rest of the game with a head injury.
Cooks just got wrecked #SBLII pic.twitter.com/WTF9S2III0
— NFL Access (@NFL_Access) February 5, 2018
The Patriots then tried to pull off what would have been a stunning trick play that saw Brady miss a pass that sailed through his fingers:
The @Patriots get tricky…
And TB12 ALMOST makes the grab! #SBLII pic.twitter.com/oyL6ux6B92
— NFL (@NFL) February 5, 2018
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The Eagles scored another touchdown halfway through the second quarter, but failed to connect on the two-point conversion. New England scored a field goal to make it 15-6 shortly after, then picked off a pass attempt by the Eagles just yards away from the end zone during the following drive. With momentum going Philly’s way, the interception seemed to be exactly what the Pat’s needed — and New England scored on their next drive, but missed their extra point attempt, again, making it 15-12, Eagles.
Before the close of the first half, Philly scored in style with a touchdown pass from tight end Trey Burton to quarterback Nick Foles, giving them a 22-12 lead going into halftime (and some bragging rights against Brady’s earlier dropped pass).
Foles with the TD CATCH from Burton!!!
22-12, #Eagles!#SBLII #PHIvsNE pic.twitter.com/U2SavGS4lH
— NFL Stats (@NFL_Stats) February 5, 2018
With that catch, Foles became the first player in NFL history to throw and catch a touchdown in the Super Bowl.
After a beautiful tribute to Minneapolis (and Prince) during Justin Timberlake’s halftime show, the Patriots scored with a pass from Brady to tight end Rob Gronkowski, turning it into a three-point game.
Halfway through the third quarter, the Eagles scored on a long pass to wide receiver Corey Clement that went under official review. Though it seemed Clement might not have gained control of the ball before going out of bounds, the officials have Philly the TD, giving them a 29-19 lead. But with three minutes left in the third, Brady threw a touchdown pass to wide receiver Chris Hogan to bring them back to within three. That didn’t last long, as Philly hit a field goal, making it 32-26 to start the fourth quarter.
The Patriots claimed their first lead midway through the fourth with a second touchdown pass to Gronkowski and a completed extra point to make it 33-32.
With just over two minutes left in the fourth, Philly hit a pass for a touchdown but failed at converting their two-point attempt— leaving New England in position to win the game with a touchdown.
But Derrek Barnett of the Eagles sacked Brady on his opening pass, giving Philly the ball with the game on the line. The Birds completed a field goal to go back up by eight, giving the Patriots just over 60 seconds to get a touchdown and a two-point conversion to tie the game. Brady was only able to get about halfway down the field until he shot a wild Hail Mary pass into the air that failed to connect.
Final score: 41-33, Philadelphia.
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Last year, the Pats won their fifth Super Bowl in team history, following wins in 2001, 2003, 2004 and 2015. All five of their wins came during the Brady and Belichick era.
The Patriots ended the 2017 regular season atop the AFC with a 13-3 record (one win shy of tying last season’s record). They cruised to victory against the Tennessee Titans during the AFC divisional playoffs, winning 35-14 at Gillette Stadium. While their next game against the Jacksonville Jaguars was close, the Pats pulled off a dramatic win, 24-20, securing the AFC championship and their ticket to face the Eagles for the Lombardi trophy (which made Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola’s girlfriend, Olivia Culpo, quite happy.)
Brady’s wife, Gisele Bündchen, too.
Sunday night’s game was a rematch of Super Bowl XXXIX in 2004 when the Patriots defeated the Eagles 24-21. New England became the first team since the 1997-98 Denver Broncos to win consecutive NFL championships — a feat they wanted to pull off again this year.
Led by a 40-year-old quarterback, the Patriots were favorites heading into Minneapolis, with Brady expected to win another MVP award. With No. 12’s unequaled Super Bowl experience and his ability to rally his team in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds (Exhibit A: last year’s Super Bowl), Philly’s defensive line needed to dominate and Foles had to put on a performance for the ages.
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Though the Eagles were clear underdogs against the five-time Super Bowl champions, getting to the championship game despite their whirlwind season finale was a success all its own.
The team lost their star quarterback, Carson Wentz, to a torn ACL during their highly anticipated match against Jared Goff’s L.A. Rams on December 10, and the loss forced the Eagles to bring in Nick Foles as their starting quarterback. While the team’s expectations collapsed, Foles was able to win two of the last three games of the regular season.
I’m watching the game with Bradley Cooper. If the @Eagles win this it will be the happiest night of my life #FlyEaglesFly pic.twitter.com/LdSmKLZw5n
— Anne Caprara (@anacaprana) January 21, 2018
The team improved their 7-9 record from last season to 13-3 to clinch the NFC East, mostly thanks to Wentz putting them in position to make their playoff run. With the MVP-candidate out, there were doubts as to how far the Birds could go.
Foles stepped up to the plate during the Eagles’ two playoff games, assisted by the team’s No. 4 ranked defense. In their two playoff games, the Eagles held the Minnesota Vikings and the Atlanta Falcons (last year’s NFC champs) to a total of just 17 points. Though they were underdogs in both matchups, the team’s chemistry carried them through despite Wentz’s absence.
While the franchise hadn’t been to a Super Bowl in more than a decade, seven of their players did have Super Bowl experience before coming into tonight’s game. With the team playing lights out in January, diehard Philly fans (like Bradley Cooper) believed the team could pull off an upset and win their first Super Bowl — even if they were clear underdogs against Brady’s dominant Patriots.
Tonight, the Eagles got revenge.