What they’re saying about the Philadelphia Eagles’ 41-33 victory over the New England Patriots in Sunday’s Super Bowl LII:
Philadelphia Inquirer, Bob Ford: For this season to finish, and for the team’s 57-year drought to end, with [Nick] Foles, the backup who replaced Carson Wentz in December, outdueling [Tom] Brady is mind-boggling. The Eagles had to win on a night in which their defense faltered against Brady … until the end.
In fighting their fight and labeling themselves underdogs, the Eagles adopted the civic persona of Philadelphia as the gutty fighters that few respect or fear. … To finish it off, they had to rally around a quarterback who doesn’t have much of a past, and realistically doesn’t have much of a future. The career of Nick Foles was pointed to this one moment in which he would either lead them or fail to lead them. What he did was remarkable, throwing for 373 yards and three touchdowns, and not taking a single sack. … This season’s script has been so preposterously fictional that making it fact once again would be very difficult.
Boston Globe, Tara Sullivan: A stunning fourth-quarter play by these fearless Philadelphia Eagles sent Brady to his sideline earlier than he ever thought possible, denying him a chance for yet another fourth-quarter comeback drive, destined to wonder what might have been had football fate gone his way like it has so many times in the past. On the wrong side of a 41-33 final score, on the far side of his 40th birthday, on the way out of Minnesota without a sixth Super Bowl ring, but with a whole off-season worth of questions, Brady is yet again charting new ground.
Will he ever get this chance again? Will the Patriots ever be the same again? Will Josh McDaniels’s expected departure change the offense inexorably? Will Rob Gronkowski seriously consider retiring? Will Brady himself haul his aging body back on the field? Perhaps most of all, will he ever fully understand how he could set the Super Bowl passing record for the second year in a row (505 yards) yet be left to lament the lost opportunity of his night?
Tim McManus, ESPN: [Eagles Coach Doug] Pederson showed some serious guts -- serious guts -- by dialing up a reverse quarterback throwback on fourth-and-goal late in the first half. Swiped from the Chicago Bears, who had used it against the Minnesota Vikings, the Eagles broke it out in a huge moment on the game's biggest stage. Pederson's aggressive style was key all season, and helped the Eagles walk off as champions.
Sports Illustrated, Andy Benoit: The Eagles consistently created favorable angles and leverage for their receivers, and at times they even dictated favorable matchups. They got some significant help here from the Patriots, who shockingly benched starting corner Malcolm Butler. ...
Butler’s absence was huge. Not only was [Patrick] Chung, a safety, now essentially the No. 3 corner caught in a tough slot matchup against the shiftier Nelson Agholor, but the usual slot corner, Eric Rowe, was isolated on the outside. Downgrades resonated at two positions….
[Patriots defensive coordinator Matt] Patricia wouldn’t say why Butler sat on defense, other than that it came down to playing certain “packages.” But, given everything Philadelphia did to exploit New England’s man coverages, it was the biggest coaching decision of the game, and one of the biggest in Super Bowl history. That Butler and the rest of the secondary didn’t know about it until moments before kickoff is mind-blowing. Afterwards, Butler said that the Patriots gave up and him, and that he “could have changed that game.” We’ll never know.
CBS Sports, Cody Benjamin: Philadelphia knows about underdogs. There was Rocky, of course, who was an inspiration to the city but, still, purely fictional. There was Vince Papale, a nice walk-on story about going from the grandstands to the NFL field.
A backup turned Super Bowl starter, Foles at one time put up the best touchdown-to-interception ratio in NFL history, and now he's responsible for giving the city of Philadelphia its first Super Bowl win. With that accolade under his belt, it's hard to imagine Sunday being his last game under center for the Philadelphia Eagles, but that could also be the case. ...
If Foles can win a Super Bowl picking up where Wentz left off, in fact, who's to say the Eagles won't be doubly committed to their young signal-caller? Who's to say their confidence won't skyrocket knowing that, with Wentz healthy and returned to form, they might have a legitimate shot at chasing more Super Bowls?