By Ben Ramirez
February 4, 2018, will go down as one of the greatest days in Philadelphia sports’ history. While green confetti was being picked up off the field at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and the Philadelphia Eagles were dancing around in their locker room, what felt like the entirety of the population of Philadelphia took to the streets in celebration.
The Eagles did what a lot of the sports world thought was impossible; they took down the National Football League’s (NFL) dynasty, the New England Patriots, 41-33 in Super Bowl LII. It did not come easily. NFL Most Valuable Player Tom Brady, who at 40 years old is the oldest player to ever win the award, threw for a Super Bowl record 505 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Patriots had zero punts, another Super Bowl Record. The unphasable Patriots had a response for everything the Eagles threw at them all night; until they did not.
With under three minutes left in the 4th quarter, and the Eagles up by five, the Patriots started a drive that was all too familiar for everyone on the field, in the stadium, and watching on television. Brady was about to do Brady things, and lead his team back from the brink to win another Super Bowl.
On 1st and 10, Brady dropped back in the pocket, went through his progressions, but before he could begin throwing, the mighty Eagles defensive line collapsed the pocket and coming off the right edge, Brandon Graham swatted the ball clean out of Brady’s hand, which was then caught on the bounce by his teammate.
Eagles fans and Patriots haters alike jumped out of their seats and began the celebration knowing well that the game was not close to over.
After the Eagles kicked a field goal off the turnover to widen their lead to eight, the Patriots had one more chance to tie the game. With nine seconds left in regulation, Brady heaved a hail mary down the field. All eyes were glued to the screen. As the camera followed the ball through the air toward the end zone, people began to stand. While Eagles and Patriots players went up for the jump ball, so went the arms of millions of spectators.
The ball was tipped, then tipped again, then tipped one final time. Finally, the pigskin hit the turf and the clock hit zero. The only word I could muster was wow.
Despite being the number one seed going into the playoffs, the Eagles were the underdogs in every single game they played. Despite everyone telling them they could not beat arguably the best quarterback of all time, they did, with a backup quarterback.
And so to the streets went the dog masks, the Eagles flags, and an endless sea of green and white. They went up oiled street poles, flipped over cars, and partied the only way Philly knows how to party. In Rocky Balboa’s city, headlines Monday morning crowned a new Rocky; an underdog that defied the odds and took the respect they deserved when it was not given.
Fans will wonder: if Brady caught that trick play pass, would they have scored on that drive. They will wonder if Zach Ertz really did score that touchdown. There will never not be what ifs, but there is one fact from Super Bowl LII that cannot be argued; the Eagles did not fly, they soared.