Spadaro: Underdogs no more, Eagles are your Super Bowl champions

The Lombardi trophy is Philadelphia’s.

By Dave Spadaro

MINNEAPOLIS — Every part of it was perfect. Is perfect. The Philadelphia Eagles, your team, fashioned a win-for-the-ages performance in Super Bowl LII, coming from one point down in the fourth quarter to defeat the New England Patriots 41–33 on Sunday night to capture the first Super Bowl championship in franchise history.

The Lombardi Trophy is coming to Philadelphia.

“It’s surreal and it’s perfect in the same sense,” quarterback Nick Foles said the morning after winning Most Valuable Player honors with three touchdown passes and one reception for a score (the first time a quarterback has both thrown and caught a touchdown in a Super Bowl game) in the victory. “It really hasn’t hit me all the way. I don’t know when it will.”

It’s likely to take days, weeks and months. As the team left Minneapolis, nobody really understood the joy and mayhem happening in Philadelphia. None of the players and coaches had lived through decades of suffering. None of them truly knew, or knows, what it means that the Eagles have won the Super Bowl.

“I imagine,” head coach Doug Pederson said, “that a lot of people are pretty darn happy.”

No question about that. In a game that was one of the very best in the history of the game, the Eagles went toe to toe with the most accomplished head coach (Bill Belichick) and most dominant quarterback (Tom Brady) of the last generation in the NFL. The Eagles did it with Foles, who replaced Carson Wentz at quarterback in December after Wentz suffered a season-ending knee injury, and they did it with Pederson, a head coach mocked upon his hiring.

They won the Super Bowl while some of their key pieces — left tackle Jason Peters, middle linebacker Jordan Hicks, running back Darren Sproles — were watching from the sidelines after losing the season to injuries. They won the Super Bowl despite being deemed underdogs in all three of their postseason victories.

The little guys beat the big guys.

“It’s a win for the city of Philadelphia,” defensive end Chris Long said. “I’m so happy for all of those fans who have waited so long for a championship. It’s been since 1960? That’s a long, long time.”

In the final game of the year, the Eagles played with a lead for most of the game, and then Brady, with 11 playoff fourth-quarter touchdown drives to win games in his storied career, put the Patriots ahead by a point midway through the final period.

Foles then engineered a touchdown drive, converting a huge fourth-down play along the way, and finished it off with a scoring pass to tight end Zach Ertz, and the Eagles led by five points. But Brady had the football and more than two minutes left on the clock to do his magic.

Except he didn’t. Defensive end Brandon Graham got to Brady, forced a fumble that Derek Barnett recovered and the Eagles had the football back. A Jake Elliott field goal later, it was time for one more defensive stand, and the Eagles stood.

And now they are the champions. And you are the champions.

“This is for everyone,” Pederson said. “Everyone shares in this. That’s how we work, and we are so appreciative of this fan base. Words can’t describe what I’m feeling. It’s just amazing in every way.” ••