January 28, 2018
It's Sunday and you've got work tomorrow. Worse yet, you're starting to realize that you have five more days of work standing between you and the Eagles taking on the Patriots in Super Bowl LII.
Don't worry, it's going to be a great week with tons of Eagles content to keep you busy. But because it's still the weekend, and you're probably not ready for it end, we've taken a decidedly lighter look at the Birds in today's edition of What They're Saying.
For example, there's this tweet from Chris Maragos about being denied a reservation at three different Minneapolis restaurants.
I’ve called 3 Restaurants in Minneapolis to get a reservation for me and my teammates and “can’t” get in 🤔🤔🤔 Well played Minnesota fans, well played 👏🏼👏🏼 #FlyEaglesFly— Chris Maragos (@ChrisMaragos) January 27, 2018
We'll start with one semi-serious story and rapidly devolve into madness from there. Then we'll let Merrill Reese snap us back into reality.
I was really disappointed when I turned on the Pro Bowl and didn't see any Eagles players.
Can’t believe there aren’t any Eagles in the Pro Bowl this year. I blame Howie.— Matt Mullin (@matt_mullin) January 28, 2018
Jokes aside, several of the players who were in attendance actually faced the Eagles and/or Patriots this season, and they spoke with Kevin Patra of NFL.com about what it's like facing each of the Super Bowl teams.
Facing the Eagles
The reason for Foles' success has been mostly attributed to a three-word offensive scheme: Run-Pass Option...
As Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis told me this week, RPOs put defenders in a no-win situation when executed properly.
"It's pretty much a play where you can't be right as a linebacker," Davis said after Pro Bowl practice. "Because if you guess and you play downhill to play the run they're going to throw the ball right where you were. If you drop back and you play the pass, then they're going to hand the ball off. So the quarterback is basically reading the linebackers and safeties in that situation and it's a situation where a lot of the time you can't be right."
Facing the Patriots
"Hit [Tom Brady]. He's old. Let's not beat around the bush about it," [Jaguars' Telvin Smith] said. "Hit him, get him down, put him on the ground, let him feel us, let him know that we're there."
The book on Brady is well-read (and executed best in the past by the New York Giants): Get pressure with only four, move Brady off his spot, and cover on the back end.
Easier penned than accomplished. [NFL.com]
The Patriots have done well for themselves in Super Bowl games since Bill Belichick and Tom Brady took over. But that hasn't necessarily been the case in the first quarter.
Even more impressive [that their 5-2 Super Bowl record since 2001]: check out the score at the end of the first quarter of each of those games:
2001: 3-0 Rams
2003: 0-0 Tie
2004: 0-0 Tie
2007: 3-0 Giants
2011: 9-0 Giants
2014: 0-0 Tie
2016: 0-0 Tie
Notice anything unusual there?
The Patriots' scores are all 0. They have not scored a single point in any of the seven first quarters of any Super Bowl they've played during this era of massive success. And they're still 5-2 in those games! That's INCREDIBLE. [cbssports.com]
OK, Eagles. Time to stand tall for your avian brothers.
The Patriots have wins over some mammal mascots: The Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI and the Panthers in Super Bowl XXXVIII. They’ve got a loss to the Bears (XX), and they haven’t fared all that well against other theoretically human mascots, losing to the Packers (XXXI) and Giants (XLII, XLVI).
But losses to teams with avian mascots are for the birds, it seems. The Patriots have also faced the Falcons, Seahawks, and Eagles in the Super Bowl and vanquished their flocking foes every times. [sbnation.com]
While that last streak favors the Patriots, this next one favors the Birds...
However, there is one thing that Brady has never done, and if the Patriots beat the Eagles in Super Bowl LII, he'll become the first quarterback in NFL history to pull it off: lead the NFL in passing yards AND win the Lombardi trophy in the same year.
Believe it or not, that's never been done before in the Super Bowl era. I mean, just think about that for a second: Not once have we ever seen a quarterback lead the NFL in passing yards AND win the Super Bowl.
With prolific passers like Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Brady dominating the NFL over the past 15 years, it seems almost impossible that none of them have led the league in passing the same year they won the Super Bowl, but it's the truth. [cbssports.com]
During Weekend Update on Saturday Night, hose Colin Jost and Michael Che were able to take out the Eagles, Patriots, the NFL ... and even the Giants. And they did it with one joke.
Saturday Night Live couldn’t pick a side and opted to take a shot at both fanbases with this joke from Weekend Update host Colin Jost…
“The Philadelphia Eagles will face the New England Patriots in this year’s Super Bowl, making it the first Super Bowl where the fans have even worse brain damage than the players. … Yeah, yeah, go Giants.”
Michael Che responded with “Go where?” just to remind fans in New York that they really had nothing to root for this season. [ftw.usatoday.com]
If you played Tecmo Bowl growing up like I did, this is going to take you back – they ran a simulation of Super Bowl LII between the Eagles and Patriots. Don't worry, I'm not going to spoil the winner, especially since it's a great finish.
If you didn't have time to watch the video, here's a look at some of the highlights, courtesy of CBS Sports.com's Will Brinson:
• The Patriots scored their first points on a second-quarter Nick Foles fumble that was scooped up by Eric Rowe and returned for a score.
• The Eagles led 14-7 at halftime and Tom Brady didn't have a single passing yard. OK THEN. ...
• A fourth-quarter interception by Nick Foles OH NO! But wait, there's Fletcher Cox for a safety to make it 16-10.
• Another Foles interception gave Brady the ball back with 1:16 left and trailing 16-10. Gulp.
Like I said, it's a close one.
If you think there's no possible way to love Merrill Reese any more, check out this answer from a Q&A he did with the Richmond Times-Dispatch:
What would it mean for you and your career to finally say, “The Eagles have won the Super Bowl?”
I’ve had so many thrills, but what it would mean most is that these fans whose hearts have been worn on their sleeves, who come out and watch this team in the worst weather with some of the worst teams but they’re there every week. For these fans to have a Lombardi Trophy and for these fans to have that to talk about for the rest of their lives, that means everything. [richmond.com]
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