We should all be sitting down, reflecting on two things. Firstly, the greatness of Tom Brady and the dynasty that Bill Belichick has built. But more importantly, witnessing a team attack the Patriots so aggressively that their aura would fade with every passing minute. Finally, for the first time in a long time, common sense won out – as a better-built team overcame the Patriots in a Super Bowl.
As it turns out, the best way to beat the New England Patriots is by forgetting they’re the New England Patriots.
Eagles’ head coach Doug Pederson did just that, and is now presumably marching down Broad Street, topless, in underpants that read ‘World Champion’.
To wheel out that old phrase again – defence wins championships. It seems funny to say that in reference to a game that broke all sorts of records for offence in a Super Bowl, but the defining play of the entire game was the Brandon Graham forced fumble and Derek Barnett’s recovery.
In a game where the Donald Trump-loving, avocado ice cream-eating, football-deflating Tom Brady throws for five-hundred yards and doesn’t force an interception, you’d imagine the Patriots would not only win it, but win it by any score. Except Nick Foles matched him – if not in figures, in accuracy. Despite having one of the best games of his entire career, Brady couldn’t keep up with that Eagles offence and their staff’s sensational schematics.
Early on in the game, the Eagles went for it on fourth-and-five. Pederson showed Belichick he meant business and he continued that gameplan. Inevitability is the surest sign of greatness, but the Eagles offered an entire league deliverance with their bold play-calling and refusal to be intimidated by the greatest player that will ever play the game.
We may well reflect on this Super Bowl as the one where #BradyDroppedIt.
Foles didn’t. Both the Patriots and the Eagles ran college plays where misdirection is used and the completely open quarterback is the designated receiver of a pass. Brady dropped his attempt, and Foles brought it in for a touchdown. Ironically, in a game where the quarterbacks combined for over 800 yards, we’ll use that contrast as an example of why Philly came out on top.
The @Patriots get tricky…
— NFL (@NFL) February 5, 2018
To put it in the simplest terms, the New England defence consists of bang-average players that have been complemented by a culture of winning – that aforementioned inevitability. Opposition teams buy into it and beat themselves before ever taking to the field to face New England. What it would take was a head coach who backed himself to win those individual battles in front of him – and not play the franchise – just play the players.
Philadelphia will be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy for the next while, and they’ll have done it by achieving the biggest feat of them all: not allowing the New England hype to get inside their heads.
The Eagles had a better team. They just didn’t have the assurance that they could stand up to the greatest of all time. They do now. The rest of the NFL have their blueprint going forward.