For family, for Philly — the Eagles are Super Bowl champions

For family, for Philly — the Eagles are Super Bowl champions

MINNEAPOLIS — They worked together, they practiced together, they studied together, they overcame adversity together. They experienced disappointment together and they celebrated victories together.

And Sunday night in Super Bowl LII, won a championship together.

The 2017 Philadelphia Eagles will forever be remembered as a team of 53 guys who played as one, who played without egos, who played not for stats or accolades or awards but to be part of something unforgettable.

It didn't matter how many injuries they suffered or what kind of odds they faced.

They won under Carson Wentz, they won under Nick Foles, and Sunday night they knocked off Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the mighty Patriots, 41-33, to deliver the first NFL championship to Philadelphia in 57 years (see breakdown).

"I'm so happy for our fans," said Jeff Lurie, who bought the Eagles in 1994 (see story).

"It's been something that I live every single day for. When I bought the team, all I wanted was to bring a championship to the most deserving fans in sports."

In one corner of the locker room at U.S. Bank Stadium, running backs Jay Ajayi, LeGarrette Blount and Corey Clement gathered around Ajayi's phone, watching videos from Broad Street (see video).

In another corner, Duce Staley — in his 14th year with the organization — did a little dance to celebrate.

The one common theme talking to players who had just climbed to the very top of the NFL world was they couldn't wait to share this with the fans (see celebration).

"We can't wait to get back," Malcolm Jenkins said. "It's one of those things, where our team embodies our city.

"There is a lot of adversity, a lot of hardship, but when we stepped on the field, that was our time to be together, our time to have fun and enjoy each other.

"We have more fun than any team in this league, and I think that's been a part of our success."

In a game that featured a combined 1,161 yards — most in NFL history in the regular season or playoffs — the Eagles became the first team in NFL history to win a football game despite allowing 600 yards (see Roob's observations).

But that's the thing about the 2017 Eagles. None of that stuff matters.

They just find a way.

"Philly is crazy right now," Fletcher Cox said. "The city probably won't sleep for a week. It's so exciting. I can't wait to get on the bus in the parade, riding down Broad Street to see the passion of these fans."

This is the perfect team for Philly.

The coach is a career backup that was mocked when he was hired. The quarterback thought about retiring two years ago.

Players like Clement, Rodney McLeod, Blount and Trey Burton were undrafted. Others like Jason Kelce, Ajayi, Brent Celek, Halapoulivaati Vaitai and Corey Graham were taken in the fifth round or later.

Others, like Blount, Chris Long, Tim Jernigan and Torrey Smith, were unwanted by their last team. And others, like Brandon Graham and Vinny Curry, had to shed the big-money bust tag (more on Graham here).

"I'm so excited for that locker room," head coach Doug Pederson said. "For Mr. Lurie to give me the opportunity to coach this team and then everything we've been through this season. To get to this point … a lot of people counted us out, but that locker room believed. Believed in each other, believed in me, and we found a way to get it done."

Kelce, a sixth-round pick in 2011, has been here longer than anybody other than Celek and Graham, and he wasn't even trying to hide his emotions.

"The last two weeks, after we beat Atlanta, after we beat [the Vikings], I found myself in the shower, crying, dreaming of this moment," he said.

"I've worked so hard in my life to get here and everything culminates. … I've officially accomplished the best thing in this sport with a group of guys that mean more because really persistence has summed up my whole career, summed up my whole life.

"Just keep going. Keep moving forward, whatever obstacle is in the way. Just keep moving forward. The resilience of this team is incredible."

Blount and Long, who won a Super Bowl with the Patriots last year, became the first players in NFL history to win back-to-back Super Bowls with the second one coming against the first team.

"When you play football for a long time, you watch other people be a part of something amazing," Long said. "I was certainly part of something amazing last year. There's nothing like this. I was sitting on the field with my son, and I've never been so happy in my life, other than the birth of my son and my wedding day.

"It's hard to beat this. We're so lucky. We're so blessed and we have each other, and that's why we won."

Alshon Jeffery had another big game and finished the postseason with 12 catches for 219 yards and three touchdowns.

He's been talking Super Bowl all year.

"I've been saying that since I told (practice squad receiver) Bryce Treggs when he came to South Carolina to work out with me for a week," Jeffery said.

"I told him we're going to win the Super Bowl. I believed that. We were going to win the Super Bowl, and that is what we did.

"Just hard work and dedication, just believing in one another. Brotherhood. This tight unit. Take football out of it, we are a real family. We are a real family."

This is the fourth championship in franchise history.

The Eagles beat the Cards, 7-0, at Shibe Park to win the 1948 title, beat the Rams, 14-0, at L.A. Coliseum (where Wentz got hurt two months ago) to win the 1949 title and beat the Packers at Franklin Field to win the 1960 championship.

"It's an amazing feeling," Blount said. "It's unmatched to anything. The closest comparison is the birth of your kids.

"I love these guys. This is a family. We told everyone we wouldn't be denied all year, and we stuck to that."

Foles was brilliant, as he has been since he replaced Wentz (see story). In 2013, he made the Pro Bowl and had the greatest touchdown-to-interception ratio in NFL history.

This year he was better.

"We've all waited a long time to be in this position, to be world champions," Foles said. "The people who bleed green, the people of Philadelphia, the people all across the nation that support the Eagles, they’ve waited a long time.

"Mr. Lurie has waited a long time. Being a part of this, to be a piece of this puzzle, it's been a long time coming."

Celek, now finishing his 11th year with the Eagles, seemed to be enjoying this most of all.

Like so many of his teammates, he couldn't stop talking about the fans.

"I'm sure they're all going nuts," Celek said. "I wish I was there hanging out with them because I know they're going crazy."

Pederson interviewing 2 for Eagles' OC job

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Pederson interviewing 2 for Eagles' OC job

While many folks are off for Presidents Day, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson is hard at work trying to figure out how to replace Frank Reich. 

Pederson is spending his Monday interviewing running backs coach Duce Staley and wide receivers coach Mike Groh for the Eagles' vacant offensive coordinator position, a league source confirmed to NBC Sports Philadelphia. ESPN's Tim McManus first reported the news Monday. 

It's possible one or both coaches could take over in some sort of offensive coordinator role. 

Reich left his post as offensive coordinator earlier this month when he accepted the head coaching job in Indianapolis. While it might not seem like an OC who doesn't call the plays has a big role, Reich was a good sounding board for Pederson and seemed to be very-well trusted by the head coach. He also helped put the weekly gameplan together. 

It makes sense that the Eagles don't want to go outside the organization to hire an offensive coordinator. Pederson trusts Staley and Groh and the chemistry inside the NovaCare Complex was tremendous during the Eagles' run to Super Bowl LII. 

Either way, Pederson is going to oversee the offense and call plays. Staley or Groh, if one or both are promoted, will handle some extra responsibility, but it'll still all be on Pederson. 

While Staley has been with the Eagles as a coach since 2011, working his way up from a quality control coach to running backs coach in 2013, Groh is a newcomer. He was added to the staff before the 2017 season to take over for Greg Lewis after the Eagles fired him. Groh did an impressive job last season, particularly with helping transform Nelson Agholor from a bust to one of the team's more explosive weapons. 

LeGarrette Blount makes his desire to stay in Philly clear

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LeGarrette Blount makes his desire to stay in Philly clear

LeGarrette Blount is fresh off of his third Super Bowl title and second in two years with two different teams. 

It sounds like he doesn't really want to go to a third team in three years. 

Blount, 31, played on a one-year deal worth around $1.25 million with the Eagles in 2017, but is set to become an unrestricted free agent when the new league year starts on March 14. He made it pretty clear on Sunday that he wouldn't mind coming back to Philly for another run. 

"It's early so we'll see," Blount said on NFL Network. 

"Obviously I like it a lot there. They like me a lot there. It's a mutual respect and a mutual agreement thing about how we feel about each other. Obviously, you guys know how I feel about the team, the guys; I love those guys. 

"I can't say enough about Duce (Staley), just for the simple fact for how well I was coached there and how good he helped me understand things. I feel like Duce is one of the best running back coaches, one of the best coaches I've ever had in my entire life. I obviously want to be a part of that for a while, so we'll see how it goes."

Blount began the year as the Eagles' top running back, but lost some of his role once the team traded for former Pro Bowler Jay Ajayi. But Blount still played a significant role in the Eagles' run to winning Super Bowl LII. 

During the season, he was the team's top rusher with 173 carries for 766 yards and two touchdowns. But then in Super Bowl LII, he had 14 carries for 90 yards and a touchdown, helping the Eagles to a 41-33 win over his former team, the Patriots. 

The Eagles are going to bring back Ajayi and second-year player Corey Clement. After that, things get murky. Blount and Darren Sproles (coming off injury) are both set to become free agents. 

Blount wasn't shy about his love for the Eagles during his interview on Sunday. He cited trust and how they handled the Ajayi trade with him as big reasons why. 

"They talked to me throughout the process of it happening," Blount said. "They were like, 'we're trading for Jay Ajayi, we just want to let you know.' Like I said, that's obviously another big thing for me, the honesty in that building and how open they are and how they don't keep any kind of secrets for you. They just tell you how it is. It's a big respect thing. Duce was the first person to reach out to me and be like, 'hey, we traded for Jay Ajayi. I just want to let you know.' Again, man, that's why it's a place that I love and I hope to stay there." 

Late in the six-and-a-half minute video, the crew brought out Clement while Blount was answering a question about the rookie. Blount laughed during the middle of his answer, but then got back on track and praised Clement. The two became very close during the 2017 season. 

After Blount's answer, Clement got to chat with his teammate and said getting to work with Blount was a "tremendous opportunity" and would clearly like to keep the core group together in the running back room next season. 

Obviously, it's not up to Clement, but Blount will play a big role and we already know what he thinks of the Eagles.