Doug Pederson and Nick Foles go with a bold play call on fourth and goal to defeat the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII.
The Philadelphia Eagles won the Super Bowl. As an Eagles fan, I still can't fully believe that it's real and that they finally did it. After the low years and the high years, the Eagles are finally Super Bowl Champions.
This single play, the Philly Special, was one of my lifetime favorite moments as an Eagles fan. At the time, the play and it's timing seemed like a gutsy call for the head coach to make but we've come to find out it was Nick Foles, our backup quarterback who actually initiated the call. He called his own number in the biggest game of all at a point in the game where most would have taken the points with the lead into halftime and been more than satisfied.
Looking back now, it feels like the epitome of the Eagles as a team this year.
I closely follow the Eagles every season but this year felt different from the beginning. Kicking off the season with the 2017 NFL Draft in Philadelphia was just the beginning. From there, Eagles fans' hype was building for Carson Wentz's second season and that hype only grew throughout with a 9-game win streak the team put together in the heart season. Then week 14 happened. The Eagles beat another one of the best teams in the NFL but Carson Wentz went down with a torn ACL and later revealed to also include a torn LCL. At 11-2, Eagles fans collectively couldn't help but feel like what seemed to be a magical season might be in jeopardy despite locking up a playoff spot that same week.
Immediately, analysts from around the NFL started questioning the remainder of the the Eagles season and more importantly their playoff chances. With three games remaining, the Eagles locked up the number 1 seed in the NFC but the concerns continued to amplify after Foles' performances in the final two games left much to be desired.
After a first round bye week, the Eagles would meet the Atlanta Falcons in their first playoff matchup. As the number 1 seed in the NFC, the Eagles entered the game in Philadelphia as underdogs--something that has never happened in NFL history. With a score of 15-10 in the fourth quarter, the game was as close as they come. The Eagles needed four stops as the Falcons were only nine yards away from taking the lead in the final minute thirty of the game. Four plays later, three of which targeted Pro Bowl received Julio Jones, the Eagles had stopped the Falcons and sealed the game two plays later. We escaped but we escaped as underdogs and after Lane Johnson wore a dog mask after the game, the real underdog frenzy started.
One week later, the Eagles would face the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship game again as underdogs. The number one team in the entire NFL would once again be predicted to lose. At this point the underdog movement was in full effect, embraced not only by the players but by the entire fan base. A fan base that is universally considered to be some of the passionate in all of the NFL for both good and bad. At kickoff, most fans expected a defensive battle but no one expected what actually took place. After giving up a touchdown on an easy first drive by the Vikings, the Eagles defense completely shut down the Vikings offense while our offense scored 38 unanswered points. The underdogs again did what most didn't think they could.
The Eagles were Super Bowl bound again as underdogs. We all know what happened next.