Every year in early February, there is one Sunday that is widely revered as one of the greatest days in all of sports, a day where people actually look forward to watching commercials. A day where there is not only a concert and some of the most powerful National Anthem performances we’ll ever see, but also one of the biggest football games of all time. Ladies and gentleman, Super Bowl Sunday is upon us.
In baseball, hockey, and basketball, the playoffs and championship are decided by a best of seven series. But in football, there is one game. All or nothing. It’s time for the Super Bowl.
Super Bowl LII is going to look a lot like 2005’s Super Bowl XXXIX. That’s right, we have a rematch. The New England Patriots will take on the Philadelphia Eagles in the big game for the second time, with one common denominator: Tom Brady.
Brady will be playing in his eighth Super Bowl, an NFL record. The 40-year-old quarterback will look to take down the Eagles in the Super Bowl for the second time this February. The Eagles, on the other hand, will be playing the game with their backup QB Nick Foles. Foles is the eighth starting quarterback for the Eagles since their last Super Bowl appearance
The first battle between these two teams was a nail biter. Tom Brady threw for 236 yards and two touchdowns and Adam Vinatieri drilled a clutch field goal in the 4th quarter to put the Patriots up by 10. Then, the Donovan McNabb-lead Eagles stormed back with a touchdown in the final two minutes. But the Patriots stood resilient, intercepting McNabb on his final effort, helping them seal their third Super Bowl in four years with 24-21 victory.
On Feb. 4th, the underdog Eagles are coming into Minnesota riding a hot streak. Philadelphia will be aiming to claim revenge on the Patriots and secure their first Super Bowl win in franchise history.
Meanwhile, Tom Brady is as motivated as ever to claim his sixth ring, and extend his personal Super Bowl record to 6-2. The Patriots have already broken the record for most Super Bowl appearances by a franchise (10) but with a win, the Patriots would tie the NFL’s record for most Super Bowl wins by a franchise.
Philadelphia has had two previous Super Bowl appearances, losing to the Raiders in 1981 and the Patriots in 2005. This season, the Eagles finished as NFC East champs and secured the number one seed in the NFC with a 13-3 record. After starting quarterback and league-MVP favorite Carson Wentz went down with a torn ACL in week 14, Nick Foles stepped up in a major way. He’s guided his team through the playoffs, despite the Eagles being labeled as underdogs in every game since losing Wentz. Foles has led Philadelphia to it’s third Super Bowl appearance after torching the Minnesota Vikings 38-7 in the NFC Championship.
New England has continued to do what has become normal for them since Tom Brady took over as their starting quarterback in 2001. The Patriots dynasty has continued their dominance, as Brady and head coach Bill Belichick will be appearing in their eighth Super Bowl together, with five wins already under their belt. This is their second consecutive Super Bowl appearance, and their third in the past four years. This marks the second time the Pats have appeared in three Super Bowls in a four-year span, something no other team has done more than once. Last year, the Patriots pulled off the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history against the Atlanta Falcons. In the only Super Bowl to ever go into overtime, the Pats won 34-28 after being down 28-3.
Tom Brady once again put up MVP numbers this season. He threw for 4,577 yards, 32 touchdowns, and only eight interceptions with a completion percentage of 66.3 percent. There is some concern, however, that his favorite target, Rob Gronkowski, could miss the Super Bowl with a concussion that he suffered in the AFC championship against the Jaguars. But as of now, Gronk is expected play.
Philadelphia’s defense is hoping to silence the Patriot’s juggernaut offense. The Eagles’ rushing defense is ranked number one in the NFL and 17th against the pass. They’ve allowed an avg. of 227 passing yards per game and just 79.2 rushing yards per game. But passing could be the deciding factor in this one. New England currently ranks second in the NFL in passing offense with an avg. of 276 yards per game. The Eagles will once again be the underdogs in this one as the Patriots are favored to win by 4.5 points. It will be on Philadelphia’s pass defense to step up if they want to secure their first Super Bowl win.
Brady and the Pats, on the other hand, will simply have to continue doing what they do best: win. Currently the Pittsburgh Steelers have the most Super Bowl wins (six) as a franchise. A win here and a sixth ring would undoubtedly cement Tom Brady’s legacy as the greatest quarterback of all time.
Justin Timberlake will be performing this year’s halftime show. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. on Sunday Feb. 4th, as the two teams will square off in Minneapolis, Minnesota in the brand new U.S. Bank Stadium.