PHOENIX - The Eagles have played three Super Bowls in their history, winning one, losing two.
The first three ranged from disastrous (Super Bowl XV against the Raiders in New Orleans, a 27-10 loss after the 1980 season) to agonizing (Super Bowl XXXIX vs. the Patriots in Jacksonville, a 24-21 loss after the 2004 season) to un-freaking-forgettable (Super Bowl LII against the Patriots in Minneapolis, a 41-33 win after the 2017 season).
With No. 4 coming today against the Chiefs at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, we thought it would be fun to take a look at the top 10 Super Bowl plays in Eagles history.
That said, obviously most of them are from LII. But not all. And next week let’s revisit this list and see how many new plays we’ll need to add. Hard to imagine a new No. 1, but you never know!
So from No. 10 to No. 1, here are the greatest plays in Eagles Super Bowl history.
10. Rodney Stops Gronk: In a game where the Eagles allowed 33 points and 613 yards, it’s easy to forget that the Eagles did make a few big defensive plays. Two of the biggest were Rodney McLeod open-field tackles on Rob Gronkowski. The most impressive was McLeods touchdown-saving shoestring tackle on Gronk when he had a clear path to the end zone on the Patriots’ first drive. The Patriots settle for a field goal. McLeod was the Eagles’ best defensive player in the game, although he didn’t make the biggest defensive play of the day. More on that below!
9. Jaws bombs away: The Eagles didn’t make many big plays in Super Bowl XV at the Superdome after the 1980 season, but one sweet one was Ron Jaworski’s 43-yard bomb down the right sideline to Charlie Smith near the end of the third quarter. The Eagles were backed up on their own 12-yard-line on a 2nd-and-10, and that play got them into Raiders territory and set up their only touchdown of the game, Jaws’ eight-yard TD to tight end Keith Krepfle. Smith’s 43-yarder remains the Eagles’ second-longest Super Bowl play and longest reception by a wide receiver.
8. They couldn’t tackle Corey: If it wasn’t for Corey Clement’s mighty 55-yard run and catch through traffic late in the second quarter of Super Bowl LII, there never would have been a Philly Special. With 1:46 left in the first half, the Eagles faced a 3rd-and-3 on their own 37-yard-line. Clement quickly got two steps on safety Jordan Richards, who was covering him, and Nick Foles lobbed a short pass to Clement in stride along the right sideline. Clement flattened Duron Harmon with a vicious stuff arm at the 30 and then trampled Patrick Chung at the 13, picking up another five yards all the way down to the 8 with the second-longest reception in Super Bowl history by a running back. A few plays later? See No. 1.
7. Alshon’s Miracle Catch: After LeGarrette Blount’s 36-yard run late in the first quarter of Super Bowl LII – a play that just missed this list – the Eagles had a 1st-and-10 on the Patriots’ 34-yard-line. Foles faked the handoff to Blount and then lobbed an absolute perfect pass toward the left rear of the end zone, where Jeffery skied over former Eagles corner Eric Rowe – who had terrific coverage. Jeffery, playing with a damaged shoulder, high-pointed the ball over Rowe and hung on as he tumbled to the ground near the back of the end zone on his bad shoulder. The longest TD pass play in Eagles Super Bowl history.
6. The best pass Donovan ever threw: The Eagles trailed the Patriots 24-14 in the final minutes of Super Bowl XXXIX but drove deep into New England territory and just after the two-minute warning, on a 2nd-and-10 from the Patriots’ 30, Donovan McNabb fired an absolute missile down the middle of the field to Greg Lewis, who had a step on safety Dexter Reid. Lewis caught the ball as he ran into the end zone and became the first Eagles WR to catch a Super Bowl TD. Today, Lewis will be on the opposing sideline as the Chiefs’ running backs coach.
5. Ertz No. 1: Zach Ertz gets two of the top five spots, and both were incredible plays in Super Bowl LII. This one is his 11-yard touchdown catch that gave the Eagles the lead for good. The Patriots led 33-32, and the Eagles faced a 3rd-and-7 on the Pats’ 11-yard-line with 2:21 left. Ertz lined up wide left, covered by Devin McCourty but lost him with a sharp inside cut at the 7. As soon as he lost McCourty, Foles fired and Ertz made the catch and turned for the end zone. McCourty – lying on the turf – dove into Ertz’s legs and tripped him up. Ertz took two steps and dove into the end zone. As he landed, he briefly lost control of the ball and it hit the ground when it wasn’t under his control. It popped into the air and he caught it. It was ruled a touchdown, and the replay official upheld the TD, ruling that because Ertz had become a runner before he crossed the goal-line, the play was over as soon as the ball crossed the plane. Touchdown Eagles. That remains one of only five game-winning TDs in the final 2 ½ minutes of a Super Bowl – and the only one on a third down.
4. Corey Clements’ miracle touchdown: Midway through the third quarter, on a 3rd-and-6 from the Patriots’ 22, Foles made maybe the best throw of his life. Maybe the best throw of anybody’s life. On a 3rd-and-6, he spotted Corey Clement streaking toward the end zone. Foles had tremendous protection on the play and waited until the last possible moment to unload. Clement was blanketed by McCourty and linebacker Marquis Flowers but caught the ball in the back of the end zone just before running out of bounds and barrelling into a row of photographers. Clement didn’t have a terrific grip on the ball as he caught it but quickly shifted it into his left hand against his body and controlled it before going out the back of the end zone. The play was reviewed and the touchdown ruling upheld, and the Eagles had a 29-19 lead.
3. Ertz 4th down: Maybe the most under-rated play from Super Bowl LII. The Eagles trailed the Patriots 33-32 with 5:39 left in the game and had a 4th-and-1 on their own 45-yard-line. There was no question they had to go for it. With one second on the play clock, Foles dropped back and was under almost immediate pressure up the middle from Patriots defensive tackle Malcolm Brown. But he spotted Ertz open right at the sticks outside the left hash marks. Brown was almost on top of Foles, so he had to float the ball over him to Ertz. He caught it right just past the 47 and was immediately driven back toward the line of scrimmage by Harmon, but forward progress gave the Eagles the first down. That remains the only play where a team completed a pass on fourth down in the final six minutes of a Super Bowl on a game-winning drive.
2. The Strip Sack: Along with Chuck Bednarik’s game-ending tackle on Jim Taylor in the 1960 NFL Championship Game at Franklin Field, one of the two most iconic championship defensive plays in Eagles history. The Eagles hadn’t sacked Tom Brady all day, but on a 2nd-and-2 at the Patriots’ 33, the Pats’ second play after the Ertz TD, they finally did. Brandon Graham – lining up inside on the left – faked a bull rush on Pats right guard Shaq Mason and then made an outside move, and as Brady wound up to throw, Graham lunged toward him and stuck his left hand out, smacking Brady’s wrist. For a split second you couldn’t tell where the ball was or what happened, but it took one bounce and Derek Barnett scooped it up and no Eagles fan will ever forget the sight of Brady sitting on the ground by himself staring off into space. That set up rookie Jake Elliott’s 46-yard field goal for an eight-point lead and a few minutes later the celebration was on.
1. Philly Special: When they build a statue honoring a play, it’s pretty much a lock for the No. 1 spot. After Clement’s 55-yard catch and run had given the Eagles 1st-and-goal on the 8 with 53 seconds left, the Eagles ran three plays that gained seven yards, setting up 4th-and-1 on the 1 with 38 seconds left. Doug Pederson called a now-legendary timeout – “You want Philly Philly?” “Yeah, let’s do it” - Foles lined up in the shotgun with Clement behind him and Trey Burton to the left. Before the ball was snapped, Foles reset a few feet to the right, behind Lane Johnson, and Jason Kelce’s direct snap went to Clement. As soon as he got the ball, he and Burton ran toward each other, Clement from right to left, Burton left to right. Meanwhile, Foles stood motionless for about a second before sprinting to the right and angling toward the end zone. Burton ran behind Clement, who was on the 7-yard-line just outside the left hash when he flipped it to Clement on the 8. By now, Foles was wide open. Burton, who had thrown 17 passes at Florida but no touchdowns, rolled to his right and was back on the 11-yard-line when he lobbed his first career pass to Foles. Even before Foles caught the ball, Burton raised his hands triumphantly. Foles caught the ball as he ran into the end zone. There wasn’t a Patriot within five yards of him. The TD gave the Eagles a 22-12 lead at halftime on their way to the Super Bowl championship. That remains the only fourth-down TD pass in the last 30 Super Bowls and the only fourth-down TD pass in a Super Bowl win. Foles is the only quarterback to catch a touchdown pass in a Super Bowl and the only QB with three TD passes and a TD catch in any playoff game. It was the only pass Burton ever threw in his seven-year career.