10 unforgettable moments from Super Bowl LII

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10 unforgettable moments from Super Bowl LII

It's crazy to think a week ago today, we were all preparing for Super Bowl LII. It seems like at least a few months have passed since then. 

But on the morning of Feb. 4, I was still in Minnesota, getting ready for the Super Bowl. Part of the NBC Sports Philadelphia crew left my hotel for the game at 8 a.m. CT and the game didn't start until 5:30. We were worried about traffic and security and it's the Super Bowl, so get there early. And what else is there to do?

It was cold. I'm talking about the kind of cold that hurts when you're outside for more than a couple minutes. Luckily, we didn't have to be outside for too long. Eventually, we found our way into U.S. Bank Stadium and into our trailer outside of the stadium. I left the stadium about 16 hours later. 

Looking back, that day is mostly a blur. A long, long blur. But here — in no particular order — are 10 moments I'll never forget:

1. Brent Celek was so happy; he had no idea what to say. After the game ended, I wanted to see Celek first. He's the longest-tenured athlete in Philadelphia and he's just such a Philly guy. I know he was born in Cincinnati and that's where he went to college, but Philadelphia is his home. This city adopted him and he adopted this city. It's not hard why to see why the fit was so natural. Celek is as tough as they come, completely no-nonsense. He's played in the NFL for 11 seasons and he's missed one game because of a concussion that didn't heal in time for an early game. One of the most amazing things about seeing Celek after the game was how excited he was to get the heck out of Minnesota. Sure, he was thrilled to celebrate with his teammates, but he wanted to get back to Philly and celebrate with his people, Eagles fans. 

"I can't wait to get back to them and party," Celek said.  

2. The Philly Special. I mean, are you kidding me? It would be tough to ever forget that. Hours after the game was over, everyone was still thinking the same thing: Can you believe Doug Pederson called that? The [guts] on that guy. Sure, the video shows that it was Nick Foles' idea to run the play, but Pederson still needed to go with it and he did. Gutsy doesn't even begin to describe it. The man called a trick play on 4th-and-goal against Bill Belichick in the Super Bowl. Insane. 

3. Since I got to the stadium so early, I got a chance to walk around a little well before the game and it's absolutely incredible. I'm not a big fan of AT&T Stadium in North Texas. While it's a spectacle, it kind of feels like someone just dropped a football field in the middle of a shopping mall. U.S. Bank Stadium doesn't feel like that; it's an incredible place for a game. I had a chance to stroll the sideline before the teams even got there on Sunday and just seeing the Eagles' logo on the field made it sink in. I doubted the Eagles at times during the season, but not on Sunday. It just felt like they were going to win that one. 

4. There was a while where there were certainly some doubters back in Philly watching. Tom Brady gets the ball with 2:21 left in the game on his own 25-yard line with a chance to drive down the field and win the game. Gulp. Based on the way the Eagles' defense had played until that point, things really didn't look great. As much as everyone will always remember the Philly Special, Brandon Graham's strip sack was the play of the game. Earlier in the week, DL coach Chris Wilson told me how important it was going to be for his guys to stay patient during the game. And then after not touching Brady all night, Graham gets a strip sack in the biggest possible moment. 

5. The drive before that big play, the drive that gave the Eagles the win, was a monster. Foles led the way on a 14-play, 75-yard drive that lasted 7:01 and was capped by an 11-yard pass to Zach Ertz for a touchdown. Until Sunday, there hadn't been a 14-play drive in a Super Bowl since Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2, 2014. The Eagles had two 14-play drives on Sunday night. 

Before that drive in the fourth quarter, the last 14-play, seven-minute drive in a Super Bowl that ended with a touchdown came from the Bucs in their 48-21 win over the Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII in 2003. 

6. Coming into the game, I really thought if Foles got into a shootout with Brady, there was no way the Eagles would win the game. If the defense didn't take care of business, Foles wasn't going to be able to get it done. Oops. The defense gave up 600 yards and Foles was just incredible. There were about eight to 10 throws that were absolute dimes, that were placed perfectly for his receivers, against the Patriots. 

What that guy did over the three playoff games is ridiculous. He deserved the Super Bowl MVP trophy. 

7. That hit from Malcolm Jenkins on Brandin Cooks early in the second quarter was vicious. Cooks caught a pass and started to run around looking for a lane and Jenkins came from behind and absolutely clobbered him. Jenkins was just trying to make a big hit and probably a statement. He didn't intend to knock Cooks out of the game but that's exactly what he did. It was one of those hits everyone in the building heard. 

8. The Gronk drive. On the first drive after Justin Timberlake's mediocre halftime performance, the Patriots got the ball back and started feeding the monster. The Pats went 75 yards on that drive and Rob Gronkowski accounted for 68 of them, including five on the touchdown from Brady. When he's at his best, Gronk can't be guarded. There had to be some fear that he was just about to absolutely take over the game. He did have one more touchdown after that, but the Eagles and Foles were able to respond on the next drive with a touchdown of their own and were able to more than keep pace with the Pats. 

9. I still can't believe Corey Clement went from an undrafted kid who never caught the ball much in high school or in college to being the leading receiver for the winning team in the Super Bowl. It's incredible. But what I think is more incredible about Clement was that no matter what the Eagles asked of him this year, it was never too much. They want him to carry the ball between the tackles? No problem. They want him to learn how to catch and start running wheel routes? No problem. They want him to pass protect and become the third-down back? No problem. They want him to take a direct snap for a wild-ass trick play in the Super Bowl? No problem. 

Clement might not be super fast and there are probably some reasons every single NFL team, including the Eagles, passed on him last spring, but there's just something amazing about a kid who can do all that in his first year. Based on skills alone, Wendell Smallwood probably would have been a better complement to LeGarrette Blount and Jay Ajayi this season, but Clement earned it. He earned it every week and every snap he took. Good for him. 

10. After the game and the celebration on the field, the Eagles let reporters into the locker room before Pederson gave his speech to the team. So we were actually there for it instead of watching it a few days later on a video tweeted out by the team; so that was pretty weird. After Pederson spoke, it was Jenkins' turn. He joked he didn't have much else to say. From there, the celebration continued. There was a screen in the middle of the locker room set up with an Eagles Super Bowl champions background, so a bunch of the guys were taking turns getting in photos with one another and the Lombardi Trophy. This lasted for a long time. It was pretty cool to see a bunch of grownups basically turn into little kids as they kept finding new teammates to take photos with. Late in the night, the photos were mostly done and the locker room was much quieter. One rookie held the Lombardi Trophy and was trying to find someone to give it to. He looked at me and motioned and I just laughed. I told him I didn't get to hold it; I hadn't earned it. But there were plenty of people in that locker room who did, and he soon found another. 

Brian Dawkins chooses longtime teammate for Hall of Fame intro

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Brian Dawkins chooses longtime teammate for Hall of Fame intro

Brian Dawkins has chosen longtime teammate and close friend Troy Vincent to introduce him this summer at Dawk's Hall of Fame induction.

Dawkins was selected in February for enshrinement in the 2018 Pro Football Hall of Fame induction class.

"The presenter that will actually be on the stage will be Troy Vincent," Dawkins said in a video posted on the Pro Football Hall of Fame's website.

"My teammate in Philadelphia. We came there the same year. Almost from Day 1 he kind of ... not kind of, he took me under his wing on becoming a professional. Not just a football player but a professional. The details. The details that he went through, the particulars of how he played the position of cornerback was the same way he lived his life (and ran) his businesses that he had off the field.

"He's a guy I can call anytime. Any time of night. And tell him 100 percent all what's going on with me, and I know he's not going to judge me, and it's not going to leave his lips (for) anybody else.

"And the most important thing for me, being a man of faith, is that I know he's going to pray with me. So all those things combined are the reasons why Troy was the perfect guy to introduce me to the Hall of Fame."

Vincent, a native of Trenton and graduate of Pennsbury High in Fairless Hills, Bucks County, spent his first four seasons with the Dolphins before signing an offer sheet with the Eagles before the 1996 season that the Dolphins didn't match.

The Eagles drafted Dawkins in the second round a month after signing Vincent, and the two spent eight years together in the secondary, reaching the playoffs five times and the NFC Championship Game three times.

During those eight seasons, Vincent reached Pro Bowls and Dawkins made the first three of his nine Pro Bowls.

Vincent retired after the 2006 season and Dawkins after the 2011 season.

Dawkins, Vincent and Eric Allen are the only Eagles defensive backs picked to five or more Pro Bowls.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame 2018 enshrinement ceremony is scheduled for Aug. 4 in Canton, Ohio.

Dawkins' former Eagles teammate, Terrell Owens, will also be inducted. He hasn't yet announced who will present him.

Dawkins will be the 21st former Eagle inducted into the Hall of Fame but only the ninth who spent the majority of his career with the Eagles.

Was Carson Wentz sending Nick Foles a message with Instagram video?

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Was Carson Wentz sending Nick Foles a message with Instagram video?

Offseason quarterback controversies are a rite of passage in the NFL. A time-honored tradition, really. 

We’ve certainly had our share in Philadelphia over the years. There were calls for Ron Jaworski to sit in favor of a young Randall Cunningham. Then cries for Jim McMahon to take Randall’s place. When Andy Reid drafted Kevin Kolb in 2007, that began a groundswell that he was the better choice than Donovan McNabb. Of course, most recently we had the Michael Vick/Nick Foles back and forth. To look back now, it seems silly these were even debates.

Most of the time, when you have these “controversies,” it generally means you have no quarterback on your roster. Not always. The 49ers in the late-80’s and early-90’s had Joe Montana and Steve Young, both Hall of Famers and all-time great quarterbacks. Both also won Super Bowls for San Francisco. But that is the exception. So is the 2018 Philadelphia Eagles’ situation.

I use the word “situation” and not “controversy.” Because there is no controversy. If Wentz is cleared by the Eagles’ medical staff, he starts Week 1. Period. What Foles did was incredible and will go down as one of the great — if not the greatest — stretch we have seen in Philadelphia sports history. He came up as big as you can. But Wentz he is not. That’s no disrespect to Foles. There are a handful of people on the planet who are in Wentz’s class.

Just a refresher course on what Wentz did in 13 games last season (his second in the NFL, by the way). He threw for 33 touchdowns, seven interceptions, 3,296 passing yards and had a 101.9 passer rating. The 33 TDs were the second-most in the NFL despite his missing the final three games. He also led his team to an 11-2 record before succumbing to that knee injury late into that Rams game that clinched the NFC East. He would have been the league MVP had he not gotten hurt.

There is a great luxury having Foles on this team. Wentz does not have to come back before he is able. If he’s not ready, you have the best backup in the league to start the season. But that’s the only scenario in which Foles plays Week 1. Simply put: Wentz is the better quarterback. And he has earned the right to start the opener if cleared. 

Some people read into Wentz's Instagram video of himself throwing earlier in the week as him somehow sending a message to Foles. I don’t buy it. I think Wentz’s message was to the fans and himself that I’ll be back, better than ever.

Wentz and Foles are both good teammates who put the team above themselves. Sure, Foles is a competitor and would likely prefer to start. But there won’t be any behind-the-scenes maneuvering to undercut Wentz. And Wentz is secure enough to be able to handle a Super Bowl MVP backing him up and all that goes along with that. Not to mention a coaching staff and organization that won’t allow outside noise to become a distraction.

Wentz over Foles. There’s no quarterback controversy.