February 01, 2018
One of the perceived advantages that the New England Patriots have in the Super Bowl is that they are a far more experienced playoff team than the Philadelphia Eagles. It's certainly a fair point. Before this season, the Birds hadn't been to the playoffs since the 2013 season, and they hadn't won a playoff game since the 2008 season, while the Pats are, you know, the Pats.
Still, Eagles radio announcer Merrill Reese has not seen a difference in the team's demeanor this week.
Here we are just a little over 3 days away. I have yet to detect even a smidgen of difference in the players demeanor. The biggest game of their lives is approaching and so far they’re handling it like it’s week three. This team couldn’t be more ready for the big stage!— Merrill Reese (@mreeseeagles) February 1, 2018
Merrill is, of course, a team employee, and is not going to be critical of the Eagles in any way the week of the Super Bowl. Still, while certainly not a body language expert, having been around the team all year as well as this week, I too have seen no difference in the players' behavior. If anything, they appear to be as loose as they've ever been.
Out of curiosity, I asked four Eagles players who have won Super Bowls with other teams before joining the Eagles to compare the mindsets of their Super Bowl-winning teams the week of the game, and this one. Unanimously, they all agreed that this game does not seem to be too big for the players on this roster.
• Corey Graham, won Super Bowl XLVII with the Ravens vs. the 49ers: "I think this team has a great mindset. Everybody is confident. Everybody believes in what we're doing, and they believe in the system, what we have set for this game. Guys are feeling really good. Guys are playing really well. We feel like if we go out there and do what we're supposed to do, we'll be in a good situation.
"It doesn't seem too big for anybody. Everybody is doing their jobs to the best of their ability, and we'll continue to do that. There won't be anything different this week."
• Torrey Smith, won Super Bowl XLVII with the Ravens vs. the 49ers: "We had a great practice yesterday, so that's kind of our M.O. I think everyone is in the right place. I knew coming into this week it's kind of crazy. Your schedule is off, your routine is off, but once Friday hits it kind of starts to feel like a normal game. For us, we have to go out and continue to have great practices.
"But overall, I think our team is in a great place. We're still having fun and we're still working our tails off.
"It's just a game. I think experience is overrated. Someone asked me about Coach Pederson. I'm like, 'We all graduate from college, and we can't get a job because we don't have enough experience.' But the reality of it is when you get the opportunity to do it, you can go out there and perform just like anyone else. And so you learn on the job. Just as that was true for Coach Pederson, it's true for this team. We've been playing games all year. Our team is experienced together, and the Super Bowl is no different. The only difference in this one is if you win there's a huge celebration. That's really the only difference. And there's a long halftime and a little longer pregame.
"Otherwise, it's football. We're studying the same. We're preparing the same. We expect the same results if we play our best."
• Dannell Ellerbe, won Super Bowl XLVII with the Ravens vs. the 49ers: "In Baltimore, we were hungry. We weren't playing for ourselves. We were playing for each other, and Ray Lewis. That's the feeling that I get here. We're all playing for each other like our backs are against the wall. We're the underdogs, which doesn't mean anything to me, personally, because I'm self-motivated, but we don't have anything to lose."
• Will Beatty, won Super Bowl XLVI with the Giants vs. the Patriots: "It's the same level of confidence as the last time I was here when we played the Patriots. One more game. Do the little things. It's about you, not about them."
The Eagles may be inexperienced in the playoffs, but they have played fearlessly all season long, and I don't see that changing on Sunday.
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