Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles savoured a victory which had been a long time coming on Sunday after steering his team to a fairytale first Super Bowl crown.
The 29-year-old Texan’s composure proved crucial as the Eagles stunned Tom Brady and the Patriots to seal a 41-33 win at the US Bank Stadium.
“I’m speechless,” said Foles, a back-up who was thrust into the starting position when Carson Wentz suffered a season-ending injury in December.
“To be a part of this organisation, to be in this moment is something you dream about as a kid. To be right here with the confetti flying with the greatest group of men.
“We have been wanting this for a long time, and I am just blessed to have be a part of it. We have such a great city to play for and I am proud to be a Philadelphia Eagle.”
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) February 5, 2018
Foles said he had been relaxed about the prospect of facing Patriots star Brady, who was chasing a record sixth Super Bowl.
Foles had only just turned 13 when Brady was winning his first Super Bowl with the Patriots in 2002.
“I felt calm,” said Foles. “We have such a great group of guys, such a great coaching staff. We felt confident coming in and we just went out there and played football.
“We’ve played this game since we were little kids. We dreamed about this moment. There’s plenty of kids watching this game right now dreaming about this moment.”
Foles faces an uncertain future. If he remains with the Eagles next season, he will likely revert to being a back-up.
Alternatively, he may now seek a move.
Team-mates however lavished praise on their devoutly religious team-mate who hopes to become a pastor after his NFL career.
“He’s amazing,” said tight end Zach Ertz. “The past three weeks, he’s been playing out of his mind. People panicked when Carson went down.
“Nick, we had all the confidence in the world in him. He’s a fantastic human, fantastic player.”
Defensive end Brandon Graham, who forced the decisive fumble in the fourth quarter, said the Eagles offense had carried the team.
“I will say that our offense carried us today,” Graham said. “But no matter how ugly it was, we came out with the win.
“I’m thankful for the offense. Nick Foles was hot and he deserved everything that came to him.”
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.