How Tom Brady strip sack changed Eagles legend Brandon Graham's life


How the Tom Brady strip sack changed Brandon Graham's life originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Tom Brady played about 27,000 snaps in his career. Nobody knows exactly how many. Brady played so long he was around before snap counts were even tracked.

But it's somewhere around 27,000, and it's quite likely that the one that was most devastating, the one he'd want back more than any other, the one that will haunt him forever, was The Strip Sack.

It was five years ago Saturday.

Patriots ball at the Eagles' 33-yard-line with 2:16 left in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

Eagles up 38-33.

Brady drops back … here comes Brandon Graham … there goes the football … Derek Barnett recovers …

OK, you know all that. You don't need me to tell you everything. You've watched the play a thousand times.

With the news that Brady is retiring - for the second and presumably final time - B.G. reflected Thursday on what may be the biggest defensive play in Eagles history and quite possibly the low point of Brady's career.

"It's definitely a life changer, man," he said. "It changed my life because can't nobody take that one away."

The Eagles will try to win their second Super Bowl a week from Sunday in Arizona against the Chiefs, but the first one was unforgettable for so many reasons.

Brady dropped back to pass 49 times, and the Eagles sacked him once.

"Going against Brady in the Super Bowl, somebody who you know puts daggers in peoples' hearts in those drives, especially that last drive," Graham said. "If anything I'm happy because it was another Michigan guy. Something that I can always go back to Michigan if I see Brady we can always have good conversations about that one."

That 2017 season was a pivotal one for Graham, who had averaged 4.0 sacks in his first seven seasons and was widely seen as a first-round bust. But he broke out with a career-high 9.5 sacks in his eighth season and has been a beast ever since. He's doubled his sack average since 2017, including a career-high 11 this year. Plus a 12th in the postseason.

Graham has played in 187 games in an Eagles uniform - only David Akers and Brian Dawkins have played more - but that one game, that one play, changed everything.

"I'm happy I was able to do that in my career, especially how it went in the beginning, to be able to make a play like that in a town that never had a (Super Bowl) championship and we finally brought us one," he said. "It changed my trajectory of how people view me as a player, and it's just gotten better ever since."

That's the only Super Bowl Brady lost in the last 10 years of his career. And it was his only turnover in the final 7.5 minutes of a Super Bowl. And the only time he fumbled in Patriots territory in any of his 10 Super Bowls.

So when Brady announced his retirement Wednesday, B.G. definitely took a moment to reflect on everything.

"You know what? I felt that one this time," he said. "I really felt that. Because you could see that he was ready to let it go a little bit as far as crying.

"He had a hell of a career, you shouldn't have no regrets, even if this year didn't go as well as you wanted it to go, people are always going to remember all the great things you've done.

"Brady shouldn't hang his head about anything. He's a Michigan man. He's definitely got an opportunity afterwards with that big (FOX TV deal) that he has."

Then B.G. unloaded that huge laugh we all love so much and said, "I don't feel sorry for him!"

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