Memories from Super Bowl LII on the 5-year anniversary originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
The Eagles beat the Patriots 41-33 in Super Bowl LII on Feb. 4, 2018, to cement their place in Philadelphia sports history.
On the 5-year anniversary of that day, our Eagles reporters Reuben Frank and Dave Zangaro each share three memories of Feb. 4, 2018.
1. It was about 90 minutes before kickoff, and I was doing my final TV hit before kickoff. Derrick Gunn and I were set up outside at the NBC Sports Philly pregame/postgame set, which happened to be near one of the main entrances to the stadium grounds. And, yes, it was 6 degrees. And windy. Gunner and I were bundled up as we stood there, and once we started, we were quickly joined by a few enthusiastic Eagles fans who surrounded us waving and cheering. Then a few more. Then another dozen or so. Thirty seconds in, we were completely engulfed by Dawkins, Westbrook and Foles jerseys, but we were live back in Philly so we kept previewing the game as the cameras rolled. Then the fans went into a spontaneous chorus of "Fly Eagles Fly." Normally, this stuff would bother me. We're out there trying to do our jobs and all that. But there was something about that day and that atmosphere and those fans that was especially joyous. They weren't trying to annoy us, they were trying to express their love for the Eagles, and it was real. Plus, it was warmer with all of them surrounding us. We finished up, exchanged high fives with everyone and then sprinted for the stadium doors and kickoff of Super Bowl LII.
2. It's hard to describe the media crush at a Super Bowl. Usually, there's enough going on that the media is dispersed, with 50 interviews going on at once. But post-game in the MVP interview room, it's insane. I was on Nick Foles duty after the game, and I squeezed into a not-big-enough interview room near the Eagles' locker room to see what Nick had to say after his historic performance. I had a few questions for Nick, but at a Super Bowl, you don't just ask questions, you have to raise your hand and hope an NFL PR person calls on you. Now, there were about 200 media jammed into that room, and they don't take many questions. It might have been seven or eight that night. But I kept raising my hand and trying to make eye contact with the PR person. Finally, the guy says, "OK, last question … Reuben Frank." My lucky day! So I asked Nick something or other, and he looks over at me and says this: "Hey, Roob, thanks for coming." He had just won a Super Bowl. He had been named MVP. He had one of the greatest performances in history and capped one of the most improbable stories ever. And standing there in front of this massive media throng, he just couldn't help being himself.
3. At media day early in the week, I was chatting with Corey Clement about his experience as an undrafted rookie from Glassboro getting to play in a Super Bowl. Corey had a fine rookie season - 321 rushing yards, 123 receiving yards, six touchdowns - but nothing that would hint at what was about to come. After the interview, we were BS'ing a little bit (we are both former Glassboro residents, you know), and I mentioned I was going to be a Super Bowl MVP voter on game day. He joked about how if he had a huge game, he knew he could count on getting at least one MVP vote. This is an unknown rookie who averaged 28 yards per game. So then he goes out there and turns in an astonishing performance. His 55-yard catch and run through traffic remains the Eagles' longest Super Bowl play ever and got the Eagles down to the 8-yard-line just before halftime and made the Philly Special possible. And his 22-yard touchdown in the back of the end zone in triple coverage gave the Eagles a 29-19 lead in the third quarter. Clement finished with 100 receiving yards, making him the only undrafted running back ever and one of only two undrafted rookies all-time with 100 yards in a Super Bowl. I voted for Foles for MVP, but if we voted for a top three, Clement and Zach Ertz probably would have been right there. In the locker room after the game, I spotted Corey at his locker, and he just broke out in the biggest smile I've ever seen and shouted, "I know you voted for me!" It was one of those moments that you never forget.
1. As Roob mentioned, it was cold on Super Bowl Sunday. I rolled out of bed that morning and checked my phone to see -6 on my screen. That was especially troubling for me since I was sick for most of that week. By Friday and Saturday, I was basically living inside my hotel room, just trying to rest up. It's notable, though, because I wasn't the only person who was sick. A huge percentage of the Eagles' roster and the Patriots' roster was going through cold symptoms that entire week. After seven days, the Mall of America basically became a petri dish and everyone was feeling like crap. I know I did on Sunday morning. Remember that old cold medicine commercial where the guy's head turns into a balloon and floats away? That's how I felt that morning standing in single digit temperatures trying to do live hits as my hand literally froze around the microphone I was holding. At least the game happened inside. And the players were able to rest up enough and get enough IVs to play what ended up being a crazy back-and-forth game.
2. One of my responsibilities after the game was to find Alshon Jeffery. A big storyline heading into that Super Bowl was about how Alshon had predicted the Eagles' Super Bowl win … kind of. After his Bears finished with a 3-13 record the year before, Jeffery guaranteed a Super Bowl win but never specified a team. Then he signed with the Eagles. When asked about that guarantee during that stretch run, Jeffery never wavered. He just kept talking about speaking it into existence. So when the Eagles' locker room opened, I made a bee line for Alshon, who very politely said he needed a minute. He was just sitting there at his locker trying to process it all. Finally, he was ready. "Man, what I told y'all?" he said with a grin. "Before the season, I said I guaranteed that we were going to win the Super Bowl. I never said a team." He ended up being right. And then I got to watch as the team celebrated in the locker room. I had seen videos to their celebrations singing "Dreams and Nightmares" but it was pretty surreal to watch it happen right in front of my eyes.
3. During the week of interviews in Minnesota, I had a long chat with defensive line coach Chris Wilson, who kept talking about the importance of being patient. He said the Eagles knew Tom Brady wasn't going to take many sacks but they had to keep trying, they had to keep going after him, they couldn't get discouraged. We all know what happened. The Patriots' offense got the better of the Eagles' defense for most of that game until the very end when Brandon Graham made a play that changed his life and one of the biggest plays in franchise history. The strip-sack will never be forgotten. And he made it because he was patient, because he never gave up. Long after the game, I exited the locker room and saw Wilson taking a phone call in the bowels of U.S. Bank Stadium. I had a ton of work to do but I waited and finally he got off his phone. I wanted to give him credit. "You called it," I said. Wilson flashed a satisfied little grin.
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