Well, they did it. The fairytale is complete. The Philadelphia Eagles are Superbowl champions after a staggering 41 -33 win over the New England Patriots.
It was an incredibly tense and exciting game, with Eagles QB Nick Foles putting in the performance of his life, and even scoring a crucial touchdown himself on a trick play Pederson called . The man behind the plays, Doug Pederson, was quick to give credit to his Lord for the victory, as did many other members of this amazing team.
“How do you explain this, that nine years ago you’re coaching in high school and here you are with this trophy?” Dan Patrick asked Pederson at the trophy presentation.
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) February 5, 2018
Pederson replied, “I can only give the praise to my lord and savior Jesus Christ for giving me this opportunity and I’m going to tell you something: I’ve got the best players in the world.”
Coach Pederson has been given a lot of credit for the win, with his bold plays and courageous tactics. At one point, he shouted out “Philly Special,” at which point QB and Superbowl MVP Nick Foles made a sprint for the end zone and completed an astonishing touchdown that shocked the 73,000 in attendance.
“Pederson making the call for Foles’ touchdown catch will get a lot of attention, but it took even more guts to go for it on fourth-and-1 from the Eagles‘ 45-yard line with 5:39 left in the fourth quarter,” wrote Gregg Rosenthal at NFL.com.
“Bro, you’re talking fourth down, Philly’s never won a Super bowl and you are calling for a pass to the quarterback? … Have you ever seen a play call like that in the Super Bowl?” said Burton, who made the pass to Foles.
“You guys don’t know how athletic Foles is. I just throw it up there and put it anywhere. Even if he’s covered, he’s going to go get it.”
But was Foles freaking out that he might drop it? “I just reacted, made sure I looked at [the ball]” he said. “You don’t wanna drop it!”
Carson Wentz, Philly’s number one quarterback, was hit with injury a few months back and said goodbye to his hopes at a Superbowl finale. When Foles took up the mantle of this critical position, many doubted the Eagles would get very far. Now they are champions – so how did he do it?
“I’m fortunate to be around great coaching staff, great players. We just continue to work throughout the process,” Foles explained. “Everyone just kept working together, kept believing, kept grinding. Everyone doubted us, but we just kept coming and now we’re world champs.”
Astonishingly, Nick was close to quitting a few years back as he struggled to find form and a regular playing spot in a top level team. “Yeah, it was a tough six months. I went through a lot. My wife was there every step of the way. My faith was tested. I just kept leaning on the Lord, kept praying.”
— Nick Foles (@NFoles_9) February 5, 2018
“That journey that I went on strengthened me because when I was weak, I became strong,” he added.
“We’re blessed and humbled in this moment,” Foles concluded. “I’m grateful.”
Foles also has some incredible words about his coach, who drafted him to the team in the first place back in 2012.
“Doug drafted me. He was one of the only people that believed in me. I just watched him live. He’s a man of character. We all respond to that. It is a real identity. I’m grateful to have played for this man, I’m grateful to have won this championship for this man.”
The standout moment of the game was when Foles himself switched from QB to receiver, scoring a crucial touchdown that put the Eagles in a commanding position.
“It was an incredibly gutsy call by Eagles Coach Doug Pederson to not only go for it on fourth and goal, but also to call a trick play,” wrote Mark Bullock at Washington Post.
So how did it actually work? Bullock explained:
“Foles initially lines up in the shotgun before walking up to the line of scrimmage, faking a protection call to his offensive line. Once he sets, the ball is snapped directly to the running back, who takes off to his left. There, he pitches it to Burton, who reverses back to the right. Meanwhile, Foles leaks out to the flat while tight end Zach Ertz sifts back across the formation to block an edge defender and further sell the fake reverse.
The play works exactly as designed. The defenders are a beat late off the snap and then all start working to the left side of the offense. Once Burton secures the pitch on the reverse, only the Patriots’ edge defender has a chance of picking up Foles, but he reads Ertz working across to block and assumes it’s a normal reverse play. Foles leaks out into the flat uncovered and receives a critical touchdown pass.”
Despite being the firm underdogs, the Eagles rose to the occasion, and coach Pederson was not going to be intimidated by the enormity of the situation.
“Coach told us last night he was going to be aggressive, that he wasn’t going to change for anybody,” tackle Lane Johnson said after the game.
“He’s an aggressive play caller and I love it,” Foles said after the game.
“I’m so happy for Nick,” Pederson said. “A lot of people — a lot like this football team — a lot of people counted him out and didn’t think he could get it done. I believed in him, the staff believed in him, and this whole postseason Nick has shown exactly who he is and what he can do and what he is capable of doing. He’s well deserved of the honor, but I know that he would give credit where credit is due, and he had a lot of playmakers tonight make plays for him on both sides of the ball.”
Pederson also revealed one of the Eagles’ secrets to their astonishing success.
“It’s all about the faith, our family and the Philadelphia Eagles, and it is in that order,” Pederson said. “We’ve got a great group of guys. My faith keeps me grounded every single day. I just come to work, I’m the same person and I don’t ever want to change. I love this environment. I hope we can win a couple more of these.”