Super Bowl LII

Philadelphia Eagles 41 – 33 New England Patriots

Right then, Super Bowl 52 has been played and what a fantastic spectacle it was! “One of the greatest Super Bowls ever” has been bandied around since it’s conclusion and, to be honest, I’m struggling to disagree with that on this morning after — I am very tired still, though, and the brain hasn’t switched on enough to be racking it for comparisons, stats and thought-provoking opinion. “What’s the point of this post then?” I hear you say. Well, I just thought I’d jump on the bandwagon and get my thoughts on the game down.

So, What Can I Remember About the Game?

Erm, it was bloody good! Is that enough?

The thing I liked about it was the closeness of it in terms of quality from both teams. A quick look at the stats shows that the Eagles had the ball for about ten more minutes than the Patriots, both teams only committed one turnover each and it was 29 to 25 in favour of New England when it came to first downs. There were also only seven penalties given during the game which, these days, didn’t feel like a lot at all. What I’m getting at is that we were treated to a quality game of football by two very good football teams playing in the biggest game on the planet.

With me being totally neutral for this game, the quality and speed at which the game was played and the closeness of it in terms of scoreline all adds up to one hell of an entertaining night/morning for me and I was hooked from kickoff to final whistle (if they had one, but you know what I mean).

I would say the scoreline of 41-33 to the Eagles is a very fair reflection of the game as well. A high-scoring, fast-paced quality game of football and either team could have come away from it with the win and they would have deserved it. The haters are going to hate and come out with the usual bullshit about the Patriots but we all know that they only do that through jealousy but, hey, everyone loves a conspiracy, right?

Play of the Game

The play of the game? Well, that’s an easy one, I’d say, and the play that most people will remember. That play was the 1-yard TD pass from TE Trey Burton to QB Nick Foles on 4th down at the end of the first half. It will be remembered because it was a brilliant play and also because the timing of it seemed like it was a bit of a piss-take after the Patriots had tried something similar earlier in the game but old man Brady would appear to have lost the ability to jump and couldn’t quite get to the slightly over-thrown pass that hit his fingertips.

Nick Foles' TD catch in Super Bowl 52

Foles could have been like, “There ya go old man G.O.A.T. That’s how you do it”.

One thing that is confusing me, though, is that everyone is banging on about it being the “Philly Special” and how it was created specifically for the back-up QB to score a TD in the Super Bowl but, hang on a minute, haven’t they just nicked it from the Detroit Lions who used it on a 2-point conversion earlier this season?!

Matt Stafford play-acted it better as well with his hands thrown in the air as though the ball shouldn’t have been snapped until he was ready (I couldn’t stop laughing).

I’m no expert and maybe they’re completely different plays but I don’t see it and think it’s just the usual hype and legacy-building media stuff that happens in the NFL. I suppose they want people to remember it as a Super Bowl play rather than just some 2-point conversion by a team that didn’t make the playoffs. Hence the reason for them giving it a name already and claiming it as one of the great plays of a Super Bowl. If there’s one thing the NFL knows how to do, it’s market their product.

If I’m wrong and they are different, please let me know how and why. I’m always a willing student of the game.

Jay Ajayi

There’s no getting away from him these days if you’re a fan of the NFL and happen to live in or be from the UK. Yes, I get it, some people are proud of the fact that they happen to have been born in the same country as him and are proud of his success in the league even though they’ve had nothing to do with him getting there.

I’m sure I sound like a dick to many people when I say this but I just don’t get it. Yes, I’m pleased for him and the success he’s had in life and good on him, but where does the pride come in? I understand Neil Reynolds, Sky Sports and NFLUK banging on about him and trying to justify it as pride because they want a piece of his success as it can be used to their advantage with marketing etc. But for your average Joe Bloggs fan such as I, I’d use the word “pleased” not “proud” and I wouldn’t shoehorn him in at every given opportunity and try to claim some of his fame and success for myself. I’d appreciate it if the above-mentioned outlets would as well…but I can’t see that happening.

I’ll be honest, I just want to see a good game of football thanks.

It did make me laugh during the run-up to the Super Bowl when I read people taking the piss out of the NFLUK Twitter people and saying that they’ve had to mute them or unfollow them as it just went beyond acceptable how much they were banging on.

Each to their own, I guess, and well done to Mr Ajayi and all of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Jay Ajayi Super Bowl 52

Some Notable Super Bowl 52 Stats

It’s a testament to how good a game both teams played when you look at the fact Tom Brady passed for 505-yards with 3TD’s, no interceptions and had a passer rating of 115.4 and yet he was still on the losing side. That’s incredible. For all the pressure the impressive Eagles defence put on him, his offensive line only allowed him to be sacked once and Nick Foles wasn’t sacked at all!

The Eagles used the one-two punch of their running backs as both Jay Ajayi (he was born in London don’t ya know —*sarcasm*) and LeGarrette Blount played their parts well. I’m not entirely convinced Jay Ajayi has ever fully recovered from the knee injury he suffered whilst with the Dolphins as he just doesn’t seem to be a difference-maker for the duration of a whole game anymore. I suspect that’s why the Dolphins got rid of him but, hey, what do I know.

Blount did the most work out of the backfield with his 14 carries for 90-yards and a TD, compared to Ajayi’s 9 carries for 57-yards.

Early in the game, James White looked like he was going to be a big factor in this Super Bowl as he was in last years (I still maintain that he should have been MVP in that one against the Falcons) but neither he nor the excellent Dion Lewis could take the game by the throat and dominate it.

Once Brandin Cooks went out of the game after the nasty looking (perfectly legal) hit after he’d caught a pass, it appeared the Patriots could well have lost their deep threat. Amendola, Hogan and Gronkowski all stepped up and had over 100-yards each receiving but Cooks was a definite loss for the team. It took Gronkowski a while to get going but he did so in the second half and that made a difference to the Patriots as they managed to take the lead for a while.

At the start of the game, it looked like it was going to be a career game for Alshon Jeffrey of the Eagles but he ended up with just 3 receptions for 73-yards and a TD. Good stats but he seemed to go out of the game after his good start. It was noted by the commentary team that the Patriots started to shadow him with Stephon Gilmore and this is probably why he disappeared.

The big stat of the game (especially considering how few sacks there were) is the strip-sack of Tom Brady by Brandon Graham. This play basically ended any hope the Patriots might have had of driving down the field in the final 2-minutes, and won it for the Eagles.

Best Ever Super Bowl?

That’s a tough one as there have been many good ones, but I would say that, as a neutral, it was very entertaining and had me intrigued about the final outcome all the way to the very last play. This is a sign that it was a fantastic game.

I’d certainly say it’s up there and considering that, leading up to the game, I just wanted both teams to lose as I’m a bit fed up of seeing the Patriots there every year and I don’t want Brady winning as many titles as Otto Graham did, and because I’ve now seen why people think the Eagles fanbase are scum (a quick online search will show you how many Eagles fans ‘celebrated’ the win), I’m surprised that I enjoyed it as much as I did.

Super Bowl 52 MVP

Nick Foles, the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback, was given the MVP award, and quite rightly so. He’s been playing well in Doug Pederson’s RPO offence since stepping in after Carson Wentz went down injured for the season — kinda makes me wonder if it’s Wentz or the system/coaching in Philly that are really good. Time will tell.

Foles went 28/43 for 373-yards, 3TD’s and 1INT. He had a rating of 106.1 at the end of the game. It’s amusing to me as I really believe James White deserved the MVP in last years Super Bowl but they gave it to Brady and then this year Brady really did play better than the person who got awarded it. Karma?

I wouldn’t argue with the Nick Foles MVP award as he played brilliantly. He looked in control and some of the passes were just fantastic. The pass he dropped into the only spot he could down the right sideline to Alshon Jeffrey in between three Patriots defenders was just brilliant. Jeffrey did his part in it as he kept his concentration and made the over the shoulder catch.

Some of the windows he was getting the passes into for completions were tiny and probably wouldn’t have been attempted by many other QB’s. It was passes like these that kept the drives going and got the Eagles the win.

There’ll be loads I can’t remember but, needless to say, well done and well deserved Mr Foles.

I’ve heard he’s going to be on the trade block this off-season, it’ll be interesting to see what they want for him now and whether my Cleveland Browns will make a play for him as the veteran they so desperately need to bring in.

Which Coverage?

I had every intention of watching the GamePass coverage of the game as they were showing the national adverts as well and they are a big part of the Super Bowl experience with millions upon millions of dollars being spent on them, but I ended up watching the whole thing on the BBC.

It would appear that most people love Mark Chapman, Osi Umenyiora and Jason Bell because they say they have great chemistry and have a lot of fun, and I suppose it does look like that a lot of the time. To me, though, it just looks forced at times and Mark Chapman “Erms” far too much. Fair play to him as he does a decent job of playing the newbie, know-nothing about the game English fan that they assume we all are and he’s probably been told to ask the kind of questions he thinks we’d ask, but it’s too much after a while.

I guess I’m just a grumpy old git as I find Osi a little annoying too. Obviously, everyone else loves him as he won an award earlier this year but, meh.

Having said all that, I enjoyed watching the game via the BBC and I didn’t miss the adverts as I thought I might. I found it a little annoying that Mike Carlson was just put on the end and Osi and Jason talked over him and hogged the airtime they had for a lot of the evening, as if they were the fresh kids on the block that everyone wants to see and listen to and they looked like they didn’t respect Mike at times. Maybe this is the case as the BBC has been aiming their show at getting new people into the game and that’s a good thing.

I did like it at one point when Osi and Jason had been banging on and then allowed Mike to speak and he likened the game to another one form a while ago. None of them had a comeback to it as it looked like they were shocked he knew that much and could pick out such a good connection just like that. I found myself saying out loud “Ha! That shut you up didn’t it!”.

I like Mike Carlson, he reminds me of the no-nonsense old man that I’ve become who isn’t interested in all the bollocks that goes on around the sport and is just interested in the game. I couldn’t care less what Cam Newton wore to his post-game press conference or who Odell Beckham has been seen out with. I also like Mike’s attempts at humour now that he’s chilled out a bit from his earlier days covering the game on the other terrestrial channels — they’re such ‘dad jokes’.

Anyway, I’m starting to bang on and preach so I’ll leave it at that for now.

What did you enjoy about the game or it’s aftermath? Let everyone know in the comments below.