Super Bowl 52: The Good, The Bad & The Horseshit
There were moments when it was hard to breathe, hard to process the intensity. Super Bowl 52 felt like it lasted both 10 seconds and 10 hours. It was that enthralling, that packed with incredible moments and trick plays, that blanketed in the stunning reality that the Lombardi Trophy was either team’s to hoist. Simply put, the Eagles and Patriots treated 106 million viewers to the best game of the season and one of the best Super Bowls of all time.
Let’s dissect the good, the bad and the gross, both on the field and off.
Duh. When the Eagles hired Pederson in 2016, ESPN ranked it the worst of the six new coaches hired in that cycle citing his inexperience and lack of charisma. Two years later, if we had to pick the most critical aspect of the Eagles’ improbable Super Bowl win (and their entire playoff run), it was Pederson’s aggressive coaching.
Pederson amplified his gutsy play calling in this game, infusing his team with confidence with every fourth down attempt (the Eagles were 2-2 on the down). His “Philly Special” – the direct snap to RB Corey Clement, sweep to TE Trey Burton and touchdown pass to Nick Foles – put the punctuation mark on a stellar first half. While the Patriots used halftime to discover that they should probably be throwing to arguably the best tight end of all time, Pederson’s trickery and commitment to attacking, kept New England from ever controlling the game. Pederson was not remotely intimidated by the Bill Belichick mystique. He effectively used the underdog narrative to further coalesce this team, and then traded it in for the belief that they truly were better than New England long as they played an almost flawless game for 60 minutes. That is exactly what the Eagles did.
Duh again. When Carson Wentz tore his ACL in Week 14, common consensus was that Philly’s dream season was over with Nick Foles under center. Even after retaining the no. 1 seed and beating Atlanta in the divisional round, doubters were still the majority. Last week I asked Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie how much being underdogs had irked the Eagles. “That’s fine because no one has understood what we all knew – Nick is a big game quarterback,” he said.
Foles executed Pederson’s play calls with precision. Like his performance against Minnesota, Foles mostly stood up to pressure in the pocket and took advantage of several offensive mismatches. Foles almost quit football because he lost his love for the game. He was put in a difficult spot replacing the presumptive NFL MVP. The odds were stacked against him. How he handled the reins throughout and performed in the season finale is simply phenomenal. (And should result in a much heftier paycheck.)
Steratore was the lead referee for the infamous Calvin Johnson and Dez Bryant “catch” games. He was also the lead official for Super Bowl 52 but you may not know it because no one is discussing him or any blown calls in the aftermath of a well officiated game. Despite Cris Collinsworth’s opinion, Steratore got it right by upholding both the Corey Clement and Zach Ertz touchdown catches. Roger Goodell has already said the league will wrestle with the broken catch rule and Steratore showed him the way by applying common sense on the world’s biggest stage.
Yes, he’s the only white guy on the Patriots who can’t catch and was strip sacked to cement the loss. He also threw for 505 passing yards and 3 touchdowns and continues to defy logic.
The biggest X factor was supposed to the Eagles’ disruptive defensive line, especially Fletcher Cox and the interior. Brady felt some pressure during the game but he had way more time to throw than anyone could have anticipated.
The undrafted rookie rusher, heavily motivated by the slighting, was the secret weapon for the Eagles. According to ESPN Research, Clement’s 21 offensive snaps resulted in 203 yards and 3 touchdowns. His ability a pass catcher allowed Pederson to be even craftier with the playbook. Moving forward the Eagles have a variety of options in the backfield.
Eli Manning/Odell Beckham Jr.
Leslie Odom Jr.
If you didn’t already know Odom’s mellifluous vocals from playing Aaron Burr in the original cast of Hamilton or the far more creative Nationwide jingle, Odom should become a household name. His vocal cords are like silk and he absolutely slayed America the Beautiful.
After a season in which Colin Kaepernick was touted as a potential “locker room distraction,” the Eagles proved that you can simultaneously be a team of activists and win a Super Bowl.
Our president chose not to tweet during the game.
It feels almost sacrilegious to criticize Belichick’s coaching but there’s a lot to question in Super Bowl 52. Namely why was Malcolm Butler benched for Eric Rowe and then not brought in when Rowe was struggling and the trickle effect of Butler’s absence hurt the entire secondary ? Belichick’s halftime explanation to Michele Tafoya that “I made the decisions that give us the best chance to win.” is b.s.
After the game Belichick still wouldn’t admit it was disciplinary or something non-football related. If coaches and players are fined for not talking to the media, shouldn’t coaches and players be fined for clearly lying to the media?
Also, Belichick (and Matt Patricia) didn’t make the defensive adjustments they usually make in game.
Yes, he threw 505 yards but he also made two key errors that contributed to the loss. In addition, Rob Gronkowski’s disappearance in the first half was in large part to multiple errant throws by Brady.
Love or hate Brady, there had been an air of inevitability surrounding him this week. That’s gone and the future is a suddenly cloudy given Josh McDaniels’s impending departure, rumored discord with Belichick and the clear fact that the Patriots have to rebuild so much of their defense.
It was also disheartening to see Brady head to the locker room without congratulating Foles. Maybe when he turns 41 he’ll learn better sportsmanship
Timberlake’s much anticipated halftime show was a huge disappointment. JT’s less than powerful vocals were absolutely drowned out, he used a hologram figure of Prince, and there were no surprise guests (ahem, Janet Jackson.) The reality is that Timberlake’s brand of R&B is not a genre that translates well to that type of stage. I know (and like) most of Timberlake’s songs but none of them are particularly fun to sing.
I normally consider Collinsworth the second best analyst to Tony Romo, but he struggled mightily during this broadcast. His most egregious error was highly questioning Pederson’s decision to go for it on 4th and 1 from the goal line with :34 seconds left in the first half only up 3. Had Collinsworth not watched Pederson coach or Brady play? Up 6 on the Patriots is basically the same being tied. Pederson’s aggressiveness is what got the Eagles here, and of course he should gave gone for it in that spot. The now infamous Philly Special play kept the Patriots from gaining any real control of the game, even after they rediscovered Gronkowski to start the second half. .
Collinsworth was also adamant that Zach Ertz’s game-winning touchdown would be overturned even though Ertz broke the plane after taking two steps with the ball. And Collinsworth pretty much called every Eagles offensive play an RPO.
“Hey mom, did you see how Brandin Cooks was knocked out of the game on a LEGAL hit by Malcolm Jenkins? Please sign me up for tackle football immediately.”
An Eagles fan ate horseshit in celebration. Watch at your peril.
No….don’t eat the horse shit…don’t do it…..YOU ARE BETTER THAN TH…oh no pic.twitter.com/NfyES9sjp0
— Laces Out (@LacesOutShow) February 5, 2018