The euphoric Philadelphia Eagles celebrated with the first Lombardi Trophy in the history of the franchise.
Following a dramatic 41-33 victory over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII, the Eagles became unlikely champions after all the adversity they faced in losing so many key players throughout the season.
Quarterback Carson Wentz, All-Pro left tackle Jason Peters, special teams ace Chris Maragos, linebacker Jordan Hicks, kicker Caleb Sturgis and running back Darren Sproles were all lost for the season at one stage or another. Yet the Eagles kept moving.
Nick Foles stepped in down the stretch, and with Wentz’s guidance, he led the Eagles through the playoffs and earned an MVP award in the Super Bowl. Foles threw for 373 yards, three touchdowns and he even caught a touchdown on a crazy gadget play in which Corey Clement flipped the ball to tight end Trey Burton, who tossed a pass to Foles in the end zone.
That one play summed up the Eagles.
The undrafted rookie free agent from Wisconsin (Clement) pitched the ball to the third string tight end (Burton), who threw a touchdown pass to the backup quarterback (Foles), who nearly retired last year after a litany of injuries and frustration. That play was on fourth down, too. Gutsy.
“We are going to enjoy this one, man,” wide receiver Alshon Jeffery told NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com. “We are going to enjoy this one.”
Guess what? This could just be the beginning.
After waiting since 1960 — when the Eagles won the old NFL championship at Franklin Field on a Monday night when the game wasn’t even televised in the Philadelphia market – the Eagles’ roster is set up to succeed for the next decade.
Executive vice president Howie Roseman and scouting guru Joe Douglas deserve credit for constructing the roster. Devoid of superstars, except for Wentz, the Eagles are in great shape to compete for the Lombardi Trophy for years to come.
Most of the key players are under contract for next season, and Wentz could even be ready in time for the season opener, healthy from a torn ACL. If he needs more time, Foles will be waiting. The Eagles have the best quarterback situation in the entire league.
Think about the coaching job executed by Doug Pederson, who wasn’t the franchise’s first choice two years ago after Chip Kelly was relieved of his duties.
Foles stepped in and assumed Wentz’s role.
“We’ve all waited a long time to be in this position, to be world champions,” Foles told reporters. “The people who bleed green, the people of Philadelphia, the people all across the nation that support the Eagles, they’ve waited a long time. Mr. Lurie (owner Jeffrey Lurie) has waited a long time. Being a part of this, to be a piece of this puzzle, it’s been a long time coming.”
Luck and good fortune are always needed to win a championship.
This group of Eagles proved that hard work and preparation is also crucial. Look at all the injuries they had to overcome: A potential MVP candidate in Wentz, a Pro Bowler in Peters and arguably one of the best special teams players of all time in Sproles.
The Eagles never winced. They just kept pushing forward. The coaching staff believed in the players. The players believed in the coaches.
The roster is in great shape. Are there decisions to be made? Of course. These are good problems to have. If Sproles can’t return, the Eagles are OK. If Peters can’t get healthy, the Eagles are OK.
Roseman and Douglas built a roster to succeed for years.
The result could be multiple Lombardi Trophies.
–By Andy Jasner, Field Level Media