(Left): Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots warms up during the New England Patriots practice, Feb. 1, at Winter Park in Eden Prairie, Minn. (Elsa/Getty Images) (Right): Jay Ajayi #36 of the Philadelphia Eagles runs a drill during Super Bowl LII practice, Feb. 1, at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minn. The Philadelphia Eagles will face the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII, Feb. 4. (Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
The New England Patriots if they can win Super Bowl LII hope to match this magic number of 6 this time. In contrast the NFC Champions this year the Philadelphia Eagles have never won a Super Bowl game but could the saying “Third time is a charm” apply to them this time, wonders Ras H. Siddiqui.
The National Football League (NFL) will be holding its biggest annual event, Super Bowl LII (Fifty Two in Roman Numerals) in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Feb. 4, at 6:30 Eastern Time (3:30 Pacific). It is going to be a good matchup with the almost invincible New England Patriots of the American Football Conference (AFC) going up against the underdog Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football Conference (NFC). The game will be broadcast on NBC. And for those not into football, Leslie Odom Jr. will perform “America the Beautiful” during the pre-game festivities and our national anthem will be performed by Pink. The Halftime entertainment is slated to feature headliner Justin Timberlake (and one wonders if Janet Jackson will also make an appearance?) and possibly some other high-profile entertainers too.
The Super Bowl has been one of the single highest profile and viewed sporting events in America. The first one was played in 1967 in Los Angeles, during which the Green Bay Packers of the NFL (founded in 1920) beat the Kansas City Chiefs of the American Football League or AFL (founded in 1960) by a score of 35-10. The Packers also won the next Super Bowl in Miami, Florida by defeating the Oakland Raiders 33-14. The Green Bay Packers Coach at the time was Vince Lombardi and his contribution to the game of football is remembered today through the Vince Lombardi Trophy which the winning team of the Super Bowl takes home. The NFL-AFL officially merged under the NFL umbrella before the 1970 season with two Conferences (AFC & NFC) created. For our readers, this was just a bit of trivia as we make our way to the present and the game to be played in Minnesota.
The team which has won the most Super Bowls to date, the Pittsburgh Steelers (they have won 6) got close again this year but were stopped by the Jacksonville Jaguars in their quest to reach the AFC championship. The New England Patriots if they can win Super Bowl LII hope to match this magic number of 6 this time. They already have 5 wins from their record 10 appearances in this game. The San Francisco 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys are the only two other teams in NFL history to have won 5 Super Bowl games. In contrast the NFC Champions this year the Philadelphia Eagles have never won a Super Bowl game and they did actually lose to the Patriots in a close one (24-21) in the year 2005. Their only other appearance in this game thus far was their loss to the Oakland Raiders in 1981. But could the saying “Third time is a charm” apply to them this time?
To get some idea on predicting the outcome of this coming Super Bowl game it would be best to look at how the Patriots and the Eagles performed in their AFC and NFC divisional and championship games. So, let us first look at the Eagles and then we will turn to the Patriots and their attempt to tie Pittsburgh as the most winning Super Bowl team of all time. And in the process, we will also briefly touch the phenomenal career of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
In the NFC divisional round held during the January 13-14 weekend the Philadelphia Eagles came out ahead of the Atlanta Falcons 15-10. It was a respectable showing in this low scorer, while the Minnesota Vikings defeated the New Orleans Saints 29-24 setting the stage for the NFC conference championship game, Jan. 21. Some had predicted that with the added incentive for the Vikings (since the Super Bowl was to be held in their home town) that they would overcome the Eagles! That did not become a reality as the Philadelphia Eagles decided to enter the Super Bowl like a whirlwind, convincingly beating Minnesota 38-7 and in the process becoming NFC champions.
The AFC divisional round was somewhat more interesting. While the Jacksonville Jaguars overcame the Pittsburgh Steelers 45-42 in an excitingly close offensive battle, New England eliminated the Tennessee Titans rather easily with a 35-14 victory. It was the Patriots-Jaguars AFC championship that proved to be exciting except for the fact that the Jaguars somehow lost all their momentum in the 4th quarter and were defeated in a close game with a final score of 24-20. The Jacksonville Jaguars are the only NFL team owned by a South Asian (Shahid Khan) and the team’s rapid rise from being amongst the lowest performers in the NFL to being able to play in a championship game has been remarkable. Unfortunately, in this crucial matchup they just could not finish well and Tom Brady and his team did what they have historically done. They came back from a deficit and clinched victory from the jaws of defeat!
These playoff encounters have set the stage for the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles to face each other in Super Bowl LII. But who should we support? If we want the underdogs to win then it will be the Eagles we will be cheering for. Let us hope that they can somehow pull a rabbit out of a hat during this game, because the Patriots will do everything they can to win. New England wants to tie Pittsburgh’s record of 6 wins and also be known as the greatest football team in history, along with Tom Brady’s quest to become the finest quarterback of all time (if he is not already, since this will be his record 8th Super Bowl appearance).
South Asian-American Desi football fans should get their chai and samosa orders placed for Feb. 4, if they are not ordering pizza and other beverages. This Super Bowl is between teams who have entered this game with the exact same record of wins and losses for the season. The Patriots already know how to play in big games and have an edge there, but they have a reputation to maintain and will be under pressure while the Eagles will show up with nothing to lose except for the game itself.