FIRST QUARTER: PHI 9-NE 3: Fifteen minutes into Super Bowl LII and unsurprisingly, the Patriots look good—but the Eagles look a little bit better. Philadelphia quarterback Nick Foles threw a 34-yard bomb to Alshon Jeffery that put the Eagles up 9-0 (missed extra point). But, as always, the Patriots are the Patriots—Tom Brady is Tom Brady—and Bill Belichick is Bill Belichick (even though his outfit tonight makes him look like an out-of-work porn star whose career never really got off the ground). As a Jets fan, I’m happy the Birds are up, but nervously awaiting a New England eruption.
SECOND QUARTER: PHI 22-NE 12: (Sort of) similar to last year’s Super Bowl, Philly had a breakout quarter—but unlike last season, New England hung on with a field goal and a James White touchdown to keep the deficit to ten points. Tom Brady proved once again that while he may be the best quarterback in the NFL, he’s definitely the least athletic. Brady missing that wide open pass from Amendola—and then Foles catching one for a touchdown (!)—was like watching Da Vinci paint The Mona Lisa in real time (if The Mona Lisa was a one-yard pass and Da Vinci was also a very good backup quarterback in the 21st century). Again, though, we’ve all seen this show before. The Eagles definitely have the momentum, but New England has the ball to start off the half. If they score, it’s only a three-point game. I have faith in Philly (I love the idea of this being a LeGarrette Blount Revenge Game), but I also have faith in New England’s history of winning what feels like literally every single NFL game. I can only hope Brady plays more snaps at wide receiver than he does QB.
THIRD QUARTER: PHI 29-NE 26: A quarter of back and forth touchdowns between both teams has led to another nail-biter. And by “nail-biter” I mean “The Pats will (most likely) anticlimactically win by four.” The only thing keeping me from losing all hope is that Foles and the Eagles still look good—there’s been no dramatic drop off in play. Of course, Brady’s been doing Brady things (two passing touchdowns this quarter), but Foles’ 22-yard strike to Corey Clement in triple coverage was one of the most impressive throws in recent Super Bowl history. I’m feeling the exact same way I did in this same spot during last year’s SB when Atlanta was up 28-9—nervously excited with a tinge of apocalyptic anxiety. Fifteen more minutes stand between a sixth Pats championship or the Eagles’ first—or, a win for humanity.
FOURTH QUARTER/FINAL: PHI 41-NE 33: It’s not fun rooting against the Patriots—but tonight was pretty damn fun. In what looked like another classic New England championship after they took the lead with around five minutes to go, Nick Foles drove the Birds down the field and threw a dart to tight end Zach Ertz with two and a half minutes left. Even with a five-point lead, I still firmly believed the Pats would come back and win. And then Brady got stripped—and I still firmly believed the Pats would somehow come back and win. And then, after what felt like hours, two minutes had finally run up and the Eagles had won the Super Bowl. Foles played out of his mind, and fully deserved the MVP trophy. He may not be in Philly next year, but there’s no way the word “backup” will ever be attached to his name again. This moment feels like one I’ll savor for a while. The Jets may never win the Super Bowl in my lifetime, so this might be the next best possibility. All in all, it’s always more fun to have a close and competitive game rather than a blowout. And when that game features a backup quarterback beating arguably the greatest quarterback/head coach duo in NFL history, it makes it that much sweeter.