Tom Brady

Foles lets it fly, leads Eagles to franchise's first Super Bowl win

foles.jpg
USATSI

Foles lets it fly, leads Eagles to franchise's first Super Bowl win

BOX SCORE

MINNEAPOLIS — The Philadelphia Eagles' flight from last to first ended up with a Lombardi Trophy.

In a record-setting shootout between Nick Foles and Tom Brady, the backup quarterback led a pressure-packed 75-yard drive to the winning touchdown, 11 yards to Zach Etrz with 2:21 to go Sunday night. Then a defense that had been shredded throughout the second half made two final stands to win 41-33.

Brandon Graham strip-sacked Brady and Derek Barnett recovered, setting up rookie Jake Elliot's 46-yard field goal for an 8-point lead.

Brady got his team to midfield, but his desperation pass fell to the ground in the end zone.

The underdog Eagles (16-3), even injured starting quarterback Carson Wentz, came bolting off the sideline in ecstasy while Brady sat on the ground, disconsolate.

It was the first Super Bowl title for Philadelphia (16-3), which went from 7-9 last season to the franchise's first NFL title since 1960.

Super Bowl MVP Foles orchestrated it with the kind of drive NFL MVP Brady, a five-time champion, is known for. The Eagles covered 75 yards on 14 plays and had to survive a video replay because Ertz had the ball pop into the air as he crossed the goal line.

The touchdown stood — and so did thousands of green-clad Eagles fans who weren't going to mind the frigid conditions outside US Bank Stadium once they headed out to celebrate.

But not before a rousing rendition of "Fly Eagles Fly" reverberated throughout the stands once the trophy was presented to owner Jeffrey Lurie. Later, fans danced along with the "Gonna Fly Now," the theme from "Rocky," the city's best-known fictional underdog.

The Patriots (15-4) seemed ready to take their sixth championship with Brady and coach Bill Belichick in eight Super Bowls. Brady threw for a game-record 505 yards and three TDs, hitting Rob Gronkowski for 4 yards before Stephen Gostkowski's extra point gave New England its first lead, 33-32.

Then Foles made them forget Wentz — and least for now — with the gutsiest drive of his life, including a fourth-down conversion to Ertz at midfield.

Foles has been something of a journeyman in his six pro seasons, but has been spectacular in four career playoff games. He finished 28 of 43 for 373 yards and three TDs.

The combined 1,151 yards were the most in any modern NFL game, and Brady's 505 were the most in any playoff contest. The 40-year-old master finished 28 of 48 and picked apart the Eagles until the final two series.

It was such a wild game that Foles caught a touchdown pass, and Brady was on the opposite end of a Danny Amendola throw that went off his fingertips.

Eagles coach Doug Pederson brought home the championship in his second year in charge. Belichick is 5-3 in Super Bowls and his teams have only a plus-4 overall margin in those games.

So this one was in keeping with that trend: thrilling and even a bit bizarre.

On eve of eighth Super Bowl, Brady wins third MVP; Rams collect three awards

brady-celebrating-ap.jpg
AP

On eve of eighth Super Bowl, Brady wins third MVP; Rams collect three awards

MINNEAPOLIS -- For the third time, Tom Brady is the NFL's Most Valuable Player.

Now he goes for his sixth Super Bowl title, and perhaps with it a fifth MVP trophy for the NFL championship.

Brady added The Associated Press 2017 NFL MVP award Saturday night at NFL Honors to his wins in 2007 and 2010. The New England Patriots quarterback was joined as an honoree by three Los Angeles Rams: Coach of the Year Sean McVay, Offensive Player of the Year running back Todd Gurley and Defensive Player of the Year tackle Aaron Donald.

Other winners in voting by a nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the league were Los Angeles Chargers receiver Keenan Allen as Comeback Player; New Orleans running back Alvin Kamara and cornerback Marshon Lattimore as top offensive and defensive rookies, respectively; and former Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, now head coach of the New York Giants, as Assistant Coach of the Year.

Brady is the second the player in the four major professional sports to win MVP at age 40; Barry Bonds won baseball's award in 2004.

Wide receiver Julian Edelman, who missed the entire season with a knee injury, accepted for Brady.

"Thanks, thanks. Wait up. I literally just found out I was doing this like 20 minutes ago. So, I've got to read the text," Edelman said.

"No, but I'm joking. But serious, Tom said he wanted to say he's very honored and humbled that he gets this award for MVP. Also, he wanted to thank his teammates, his friends, his family and the Patriots organization for going out and doing what they do."

Brady competed 385 of 581 passes (66.2 percent) for 4,577 yards and 32 touchdowns with eight interceptions as New England went 13-3 for the AFC's best record. At an age when many QBs are deep into retirement, Brady is throwing deep - and short - as well as ever.

Donald was the first pure defensive tackle to win the award since Warren Sapp in 1999. He said it means "everything. That's one of the best to ever do it. So, even for my name to be next to that guy's name is beyond a blessing. This is what you dream about as a kid, dreaming about playing in the NFL to have success like this, to be able to (play good enough) to win this trophy."

Gurley's sensational turnaround season in which he ran for 13 touchdowns and caught six TD passes sparked an equally impressive reversal of fortunes by his team, which won the NFC West at 11-5.

"The Saints got the rookies and we took home the offensive and defensive" player awards," Gurley noted. "It just tells you the type of players we have on the team. We all help each other out, absolutely. We have some talent, but we're nothing without the whole nine yards and everybody together. And we also have a coach who's up for Coach of the Year."

A little while later, McVay was handed the coaching award.

In his first season running a team and as the youngest head coach in NFL history, McVay led the Rams to a seven-game improvement. McVay, who turned 32 on Jan. 24, ran away with the voting with 35 votes to 11 for Minnesota's Mike Zimmer.

The Rams' hat trick of awards was not unprecedented. In 2003, Baltimore's Ray Lewis was top defensive player, Jamal Lewis won best offensive player, and Terrell Suggs was Defensive Rookie of the Year. And in 1999, the St. Louis Rams had three award winners: Kurt Warner (MVP), Marshall Faulk (Offensive Player) and Dick Vermeil (Coach).

New Orleans' sweep of the rookie awards was the first since 1967, when Detroit running back Mel Farr and cornerback Lem Barney were honored. That was the first season for the top defensive rookie award.

"You get caught up in the season, you don't really get time to pat yourself on the back," Kamara said. "But when the season is over you realize what you've done. I've kind of had to time to look back and say, I made some history this season."

Kamara shared duties with veteran Mark Ingram as the Saints won the NFC South. He rushed for 728 yards with a 6.1-yard average, and scored eight times. He also caught 81 passes for 826 yards, with five touchdowns.

The 11th overall draft pick and first from his position selected, Lattimore was a shutdown defender as the Saints went 11-5. He had five interceptions and 18 passes defensed in 13 games, was a sure tackler and, by midseason, was someone opposing quarterbacks tended to avoid. He missed three games, one because of a concussion and two with an ankle injury.

Allen returned from two devastating injuries to win the comeback honor. Allen missed half of the 2015 season with a kidney issue, then was lost in the 2016 season opener with a torn right ACL. There were questions if Allen would ever player at a high level again.

He answered those emphatically this season with the best year of his career. Allen caught 102 passes for 1,393 yards and six touchdowns. He was targeted 159 times, nearly 10 per game.

The award were announced Saturday night at NFL Honors.

Super Bowl Week already has us asking how much too much is too much too much?

patroits-ratto-brady.jpg
USATSI

Super Bowl Week already has us asking how much too much is too much too much?

Super Bowl Week has kicked off, and we already know two things: It’s cold in Minneapolis and becomes colder with every media member who bitches about it, and Tom Brady’s five-year-old daughter is not suitable fare for swinish radio commentary, especially when delivered by someone at the station that pays Brady money to do a show for them.

The football stuff comes way later.

By now, Super Bowl Week has become a predictable hash of early narrative setting (expect a lot of Brady v. Belichick), staged and unfunny silliness (Media Night, which used to be Media Day before the NFL embarked on its wildly successful Programming ‘Til You Puke strategy), old stories retold for minimum effect (Radio Row at any given moment) and staggering pomposity based on over-rehearsed misdirection (the Commissioner’s Friday speech). And it ends with two days of game recap and armies of media saying the NFL will never come back to a place so cold, because this event should always end with media bitching.

It’s all part of the always-leave-them-wanting-less concept that makes you double down on the football-is-dying concept that has helped hasten football’s eventual death – which will come sometime all of us have reached the same frontier.

But the Brady Child narrative is the first real unscheduled moment, because beyond being thoroughly mean-spirited and gratuitous, it brings us to the Super Bowl’s great and rarely examined issue – how much too much is too much too much?

Put simply, the Super Bowl is the worst possible place to extol the virtues of excess, including (now) the character and behavior of preschoolers. It is all about entertainment gluttony no matter what taste level and both ends of the supply line, and the idea of fair comment rarely enters into the heads of anyone on the firing line. The beast must be fed, and if it means describing a five-year-old as “an annoying little pissant” as shown on the Brady family television series, well, that’s the danger of winning the conference championship, I guess.

This story will die, of course, and the perpetrator, WEEI’s Alex Reimer, will likely be underemployed for awhile, but it is one more reminder that the best way to approach Super Bowl Week, as a player, a coach, a fan and yes, even a media member, is to try and keep it as close to arm’s length away as possible. Nothing good ever comes of getting attention, or for that matter, seeing – and yet it is the Bitcoin of Super Bowl Week.

That, and it being cold. Which I thought we already knew.