A magnificent performance from the Eagles’ back-up quarterback Nick Foles – who threw three touchdowns and nearly 400 yards – had helped Philadelphia into a 38-33 lead with just over two minutes left in a high-scoring game at Minneapolis’s US Bank Stadium.
The stage was set for Brady, 40, to mount one of his famous comeback drives as the clock ticked down and the Patriots took possession.
But superb pressure from Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham forced Brady to fumble, turning the ball over to Philadelphia deep in New England territory.
Eagles beat the Patriots 41-33 to win Super Bowl LII! pic.twitter.com/R8te2hLiYD
— Sport360° (@Sport360) February 5, 2018
Brady, who had been bidding to become the oldest quarterback to win the Super Bowl and the first man to win six Lombardi Trophies, sat on the turf in disbelief as the Eagles erupted in celebration.
Philadelphia, who had taken the lead on the preceding drive when Foles found Zach Ertz in the end zone, then saw Jake Elliott kick a 46-yard field goal to take an eight-point lead at 41-33.
There was still a minute left for the Patriots to launch one last drive.
But Philadelphia were not going to be denied, and a desperate Brady Hail Mary failed to find a receiver as the clock ran out, and the Eagles celebrated as green and silver confetti exploded across the stadium.
It was a bitter end for Brady, who incredibly threw for more than 500 yards in a game that set a record for combined offensive yardage.
Yet the night belonged to Foles, who had only come into the Eagles’ starting line-up in December after a season-ending injury to star quarterback Carson Wentz.
Foles was named Super Bowl Most Valuable Player after the game – but unusually could find himself without a job next season if he remains at the Eagles as a back-up.
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady became the oldest winner of the National Football League’s Player of the Year award on Saturday, winning the honour for the third time on the eve of his eighth Super Bowl appearance.
The 40-year-old superstar, who will on Sunday attempt to win his sixth Lombardi Trophy against the Philadelphia Eagles, enjoyed another dazzling season as the Patriots talisman.
Brady threw for 4,577 yards this season for 32 touchdowns and only eight interceptions.
Brady could become the oldest quarterback in history to win the Super Bowl if he is able to steer the Patriots past the Eagles at US Bank Stadium on Sunday.
In other awards Saturday, the Los Angeles Rams earned recognition for their stellar turnaround year, picking up three top honours.
Rams head coach Sean McVay – the youngest head coach in NFL history at 31 — was named coach of the year for transforming the California outfit into the league’s most potent offense after a 4-12 season in 2016.
The Rams won the NFC West championship for the first time since 2003 before being eliminated in the playoffs.
Rams running back Todd Gurley picked up the offensive player of the year award following a season which saw him rack up 2,093 running and receiving yards with 19 total touchdowns.
Rams team-mate Aaron Donald was named defensive player of the year.
New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara was named rookie of the year following a dazzling debut season.
Kamara finished the year with 14 touchdowns and 1,554 yards from scrimmage. He was only the second rookie in history to post five rushing touchdowns, five receiving touchdowns and a kick-off return touchdown in the same season.
Saturday also marked the selection of the Hall of Fame’s latest inductees, with former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis and wide receivers Terrell Owens and Randy Moss among the newest entrants.
Even though these moments have become a regular occurrence for him, Tom Brady doesn’t take them for granted.
Sixteen years after playing and winning his first Super Bowl, the New England Patriots quarterback will be on the field for the last game of the NFL season for the eighth time on Sunday when he goes for his sixth title.
Now at the age of 40, there’s always a chance this could be his last appearance on the grand stage. But Brady isn’t fixated on the past or looking ahead to the future as the Patriots prepare to meet the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium.
“I could never imagine being in this position eight times. To be in it one time is a dream come true, and to be here eight times is unbelievable,” Brady said. “I think I just appreciate it as I’ve gotten older.
“Early on, it went so fast. I think I really relish these experiences and opportunities and make the best of them. We lost a couple of them – in ‘07 and 2011 – and we were lucky to get back and win a couple of times, but this is the one that matters the most.”
Brady’s counterpart on Sunday, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, couldn’t be in a more different position.
Foles only became the starter when MVP candidate Carson Wentz suffered a torn ACL in Week 14, severely denting the Eagles’ contention hopes.
But Foles has done more than enough to help get Philadelphia this far, including a 352-yard, three-touchdown explosion to beat Minnesota in the NFC Championship Game.
While he’s not as essential as Brady is to New England, Foles is all of a sudden in position to go down as one of the game’s most unlikely heroes.
“To be in this position is extremely humbling, but at the same time, I know why we’re here,” Foles said. “I’m just a small piece to the puzzle, there’s so many other pieces to the puzzle, and that’s the beautiful thing about this team, is we’ve really had to depend on each other throughout the course of the year because of everything that happened. And to be here makes it even more special.”
Though Foles’ performance will be crucial to knocking off the defending champions, the spotlight will truly be on Philadelphia’s defensive line.
Getting pressure on Brady, especially up the middle on the interior of the line, has been the deciding factor in previous Super Bowl losses for New England.
The Eagles know if they want to win, they won’t be able to “take it easy on the G.O.A.T. (greatest of all-time)”, as Chris Long said of former team-mate Brady.
“You can’t take it easy on him,” Long said. “He knows that. He’s not going to take it easy on us.
“One of the big matchups will be Tom against our defense.”