By Natalie Heavren, Sports Editor
It took 53 years, but the Philadelphia Eagles are finally Super Bowl Champions. Philadelphia was led by Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles, who became the first backup quarterback to win a Super Bowl since John Hostettler in 1990. While Foles did throw an interception in the first half, he also had four touchdowns.
The game appeared to be over. With one timeout and 2:20 left on the clock, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s sixth game-winning drive in a Super Bowl seemed inevitable. However, the Eagles’ defensive end Brandon Graham had other ideas. With 2:16 left in the game, Graham knocked the ball out of Brady’s hand and Graham’s teammate Derek Barnett recovered it.
The Patriots defense stepped up and held the Eagles to only a field goal, though it took just over a minute off the clock. This left Brady with only 58 seconds to cover 91 yards, with the need for a two-point conversion. This proved to be too much to ask when a desperate pass to Patriots’ tight end Rob Gronkowski was deflected.
After the Eagles scored a field goal on their first drive, the Patriots did something they had never done in a Super Bowl before: scored in the first quarter. Despite quickly falling behind 15-3, the Patriots soon came back to within three points of their rivals with 2:04 left in the first half. However, in just 90 seconds the Eagles increased their lead to 10, going for it on fourth and goal from the one-yard line, and converting a trick play. With this play, Foles became the first person to both throw and catch a touchdown pass in a Super Bowl.
The Patriots were able to pull within three points again after Gronkowski single-handedly resurrected the Patriots on the first drive in the third quarter, as he had 68 of the 75 yards of the drive. The game went back and forth until Nick Foles threw his third touchdown pass with 2:20 left on the clock and put the game back into Brady’s hands.
While an amazing win for the Eagles, there were two players whose lack of participation affected the game for the Patriots.
New England cornerback Malcolm Butler played in 97.8 percent of the defensive plays in the regular season. But in this Super Bowl, he only played one snap, and it was on special teams. Sitting Butler out was a coach’s decision and not one that head coach Bill Belichick was willing to discuss after the game.
The Patriots also felt wide receiver Brandin Cooks’ absence. Cooks, who had 65 catches for 1,082 yards in the regular season, left the game with a head injury in the second quarter.
“It made an impact,” said Josh McDaniels, the Patriots’ offensive coordinator, commenting on Cooks’ absence.
“In the end, we just couldn’t make enough plays,” said Coach Belichick after the game, “and that was all on me.”
The energy inside the Eagles locker room was electric after their historic win. Eagles players refused to give head coach Doug Peterson a chance to speak, instead blocking his attempts with chants of, “coach of the year!”
“I’ve got the best players in the world, and it’s a resilient group,” Pederson said outside of the locker room. “I love this coaching staff, [and] Mr. Lurie, the owner. And not only do we have the best fans in the world, we now have the best team in the world.”
Emotions were at an all-time high after the Eagles’ victory. “I’ve officially accomplished the best thing in this sport with a group of guys that mean the world to me,” said center Jason Kelce.
Photo Courtesy of Buccaneers.com