OPINION: The Best Super Bowl of All Time?

By: Clinton Barney

It happened. It finally happened. The Eagles finally won a Super Bowl!Eagles_SuperBowl

Minneapolis, Minnesota, was the site of the battleground between the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots. The game ended in a shootout, but the Eagles ended up victorious with a final score of 41-33, winning their first ever Lombardi Trophy.

Every Super Bowl in recent memory has been exciting in its own way. In 2000, there was the tackle at the 1-yard line. In 2008, there was David Tyree’s helmet catch. In 2009, there was Santonio Holmes’s last minute touchdown. In 2017, there was the comeback of the century.

Now in 2018, there was everything that makes a great football game: unpredictability, great offense and defense on both sides, and then some. Was Super Bowl LII the best Super Bowl of recent memory? How about of all time? Well as a lifelong Eagles fan, for me it is one of the best, if not the best. But as a football fan in general, it was one of the best football games I’ve ever seen.

A game is made great not just because of the action that happened during those four quarters, but also because of the lead up to it. No duel has been this anticipated since Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr.

The Eagles, all throughout the playoffs, were underdogs. They were the top seed and had the best record in the NFC, but every other team they played were favored over them. This was all because of one man: Nick Foles. The Eagles were forced to put Nick Foles, their backup quarterback, at the front of the offense when first-string QB Carson Wentz tore his ACL in Decemeber and was ruled out for the rest of the season.

When the Eagles played Atlanta, everybody thought that they would lose. The Eagles managed to get through though and scrape away with a 15-10 victory. When the Eagles played the Vikings, everybody thought they would lose, especially after the Vikings’ comeback victory against the Saints the week before. But Philly, still the underdogs, finished the game with a 38-7 victory, winning the NFC Championship and punching their way into the Super Bowl.

Now on the AFC side, the Patriots were the favored team and were nearly certain to be in the Super Bowl again. They marched through the Tennessee Titans 35-14. They entered the AFC Championship game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, and played a very close, but extremely entertaining game. The Patriots showed once again their ability to come back in the fourth quarter and ended up on top 24-20, winning another AFC Championship and on their way to a sixth Super Bowl victory according to Sports Illustrated.

The scene was set: a 2004 rematch between the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots. The Patriots were favored, and the Eagles were once again the underdogs. Red hot (backup) Nick Foles vs. an always dangerous Tom Brady.

Now onto the actual game itself. If I had to summarize this game, I would say it was neck-to-neck the entire way through.

On the first drive of the first quarter, the Eagles marched down the field and scored a field goal. The Patriots responded by marching down the field and scoring a field goal of their own. The entire game was back and forth; Philly scoring on great drives, and New England scoring on the next drive. The Eagles were up by 10 points at halftime and eventually the Patriots were up by 1 late in the fourth quarter, but neither team’s victory was ever guaranteed.

There were amazing plays on both sides of the ball from both teams. Bleacher Report was able to compile the final stats and the numbers are in. Tom Brady threw as great as he always does, completing 28 of his 48 throws, ending up with a whopping 505 yards and three passing touchdowns. Nick Foles showed himself worthy and proved that he was not mediocre, completing 28 of his 43 passes, throwing for 373 yards, three touchdowns (plus a TD reception of his own on a trick play) and one interception.

Both running units were amazing, with each team scoring a touchdown off of the run. Each team’s receiving squad had a field day; the game ended with a record number of 7 TDs thrown.

Many records were either broken or tied during the game, set by both the winning and losing team. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Super Bowl XLII had the most first downs, most total yards, most passes, fewest punts and the most missed field goals in any Super Bowl game in NFL history. Brady had the most passing yards and helped the Patriots achieved the most yards by a team in the big game, as well as the most points by a losing team. The Eagles never gave up a sack nor a fumble, tying records.

The best aspect of this game was definitely its unpredictability. Field goals and extra point kicks that would be considered a flick off of the wrist were missed. There were trick plays all over the place, including an amazing touchdown caught by Nick Foles right before halftime, which he nicknamed the “Philly Special” according to multiple sources.

Also, to many people’s surprise, the refs stayed out of this game and let the players play. I counted four penalties against the Eagles and only one penalty against the Patriots.

Speaking of halftime, Justin Timberlake’s halftime performance was pretty good. Gotta give credit where credit is due.

The game was a nailbiter all the way until the end. The game ended with a last second Hail Mary pass by Tom Brady which hit the ground before any Patriot receiver or Eagles defensive back was able to grab it. The game was truly not over until the clock hit double zeroes.

All in all, Super Bowl XLII was a great game with a great story that will live on in NFL history. The underdogs toppled the dynasty, which was the cherry on top of it all. This Super Bowl felt like a cinematic experience like no other, not just for an Eagles fan, but for football fans everywhere.