If I told you the story, you wouldn’t believe it.
Nick Foles, the unlikeliest of heroes, throws for three TDs and catches another. The knockabout who almost retired two years ago winds up on the Super Bowl victors’ podium, his baby daughter in one arm and the MVP trophy in the other.
Corey Clement, a rookie out of South Jersey so lowly regarded that no NFL team bothered to draft him, gains 100 yards receiving and scores a key toe-tap TD in the back of the end zone.
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Doug Peterson, vilified as the most unqualified coach in the NFL, winds up outsmarting the greatest genius in football history by shoving Bill Belichick’s trick play right back up his nose.
The Eagles miss an extra point kick, can’t convert on two two-pointers and give up a record 505 passing yards to Tom Brady on a night when the Patriots don’t punt once. And yet, the Eagles still win.
Yeah, it all happened. In one of the craziest games ever – and probably the best Super Bowl ever – the Eagles knocked off the Evil Empire, ended the 57-year drought and gave their delirious fans memories they can embrace forever.
Super Bowl LII now becomes the greatest sports victory in our city’s history – the one we’ve been waiting for since the Eisenhower Administration. The last time the Eagles won, in the prehistoric era of the NFL, they didn’t even bother holding a championship parade. The doozy that’s coming later this week will be the human equivalent of shaking up two million magnums of champagne and uncorking them simultaneously.
Decades from now, you’ll close your eyes and smile at the audacity of it all. The Eagles won their first Super Bowl (hey, let’s optimistically say their first of many Super Bowls) after losing MVP candidate Carson Wentz. That injury occurred after they’d already lost Darren Sproles, Jordan Hicks and Jason Peters. So much credit goes to Howie Roseman (again, who believed in Howie Roseman?), who crafted the best off-season I’ve ever seen from a GM.
One more thought about Pederson. Where cautious, slow-moving Andy Reid failed against Belichick 13 seasons ago, “Big Balls” Doug created the formula to beat the Pats. He coached fearless and unconventional, showing no awe of the Patriots mystique and putting Belichick on his heels. That was a thing of beauty.
And so the words “Philadelphia Eagles” will now be etched on the Lombardi Trophy. That stops every other fan base from disregarding us as that sad, second-rate franchise without rings. Our great city’s sports inferiority complex is washed away. Imagine the fun we’ll have April 26 at the NFL draft – in Dallas of all places – when newly enshrined Hall of Famer Brian Dawkins ascends to the stage and announces, “With the final pick of the 1st round, the World Champion Philadelphia Eagles select. . . “
Ahh, that’s my vengeful side coming out. These Eagles have given us so many moments to cherish. My advice is to remember it all – Alshon Jeffery’s acrobatic end zone catch, LeGarrette Blount’s 21-yard TD scamper, Foles-to-Clement-to-Burton-to-Foles, Brandon Graham’s strip sack, Pederson’s Gatorade bath and every time you sweated through the words “the play is under review,” only to have it come out in favor of the good guys.
Embrace the joy. Today and forever.