New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick blamed coaching mistakes for his team’s upset Super Bowl loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.
The most successful coach in Super Bowl history was left shell shocked after the Eagles conjured up one of the great performances to win 41-33.
Belichick, who had been aiming to win his sixth Lombardi Trophy with the Patriots, pinpointed a lacklustre first half when New England had been unable to put more points on the board.
“Obviously we didn’t do a good enough job coaching, missed a lot of opportunities offensively in the first half, didn’t play good enough defense, didn’t play good enough in the kicking game,” Belichick said.
“In the end, we just couldn’t quite make enough plays, and that was all on me. Disappointing, but I’m proud of the way our team competed.”
It was the third time Belichick has tasted defeat in a Super Bowl.
The franchise faces an uncertain future with key members of the coaching staff, Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia, expected to leave for head coaching jobs in the summer.
Belichick however insisted that despite the defeat his team could be proud of their season.
“These guys are champions, champions of the AFC. They earned that. We just came up a little bit short,” he said.
“Tough, tough, way to end. There’s a lot of really good things that happened this season, but that’s what this game’s about.”
Not the outcome we wanted, but proud to play for you #PatriotsNation.
Thanks for your support all season long. pic.twitter.com/7KMBvdhl8A
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) February 5, 2018
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.