The New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles are set to square off this Sunday, February 4th, on football’s biggest stage in Minneapolis, Minnesota to determine who will hoist the 52nd Lombardi Trophy. The 1st seeded AFC champion Patriots, led by 40-year-old quarterback Tom Brady, are trying to win their second straight Super Bowl and sixth overall championship in their franchise history. As for their opponents, the 2nd seeded NFC champion Eagles are shooting for their long awaited first Super Bowl, led by backup quarterback Nick Foles. Both teams went 13-3 in the regular season.
Foles replaced an injured Carson Wentz late in the regular season when Wentz went down with an ACL injury. Wentz led the league in passing touchdowns before his injury, and many anticipated him for the MVP of the league through that point, as Wentz gave Brady the most competition for the award. Foles has led the Eagles to an outstanding playoff run thus far, winning games against the Atlanta Falcons and the Minnesota Vikings. Most fans doubted the second-string Foles could lead Philly to a win in the playoffs, so the pair of wins have dubbed the Eagles underdogs, a role which they have fully embraced. Many players and fans have started to wear dog masks as a symbol of the Eagle’s poise in the playoffs.
As for the Patriots, they are no stranger to the big stage. Tom Brady has led New England to 8 Super Bowls since their first, near the turn of the millennium, winning 5 of those contests. As Brady’s Hall-of-Fame career winds down, Brady almost seems to be getting better with age, leading the NFL in passing yards in his 18th season. New England hasn’t missed the playoffs since Brady suffered an ACL injury in 2008, forcing Matt Cassel to start for the Patriots. The Patriots won a dominant game against the Tennessee Titans, and completed a comeback victory against the Jacksonville Jaguars. New England could become the first team to repeat as Super Bowl champions since they themselves did it in 2003-2004. The Patriots pulled off an impressive 25-point comeback last year against the Atlanta Falcons.
Brebeuf students and teachers certainly seem to be hoping the Eagles win the game, but a majority still expect the Patriots to repeat as champions. Out of 108 Brebeuf students and teachers surveyed, 90 (83%) hope the Eagles come away victorious, and only 18 (17%) want the Patriots to win. However, 61 (56%) thought that the Patriots would probably win, and 47 (44%) believed the Eagles will upset the Patriots.
“I want the Eagles to win, obviously, but the Patriots will probably win because they always win,” says Clare Bruen ‘19. The hostility towards New England largely stems from their rivalry with the hometown Indianapolis Colts and the controversy surrounding the Deflategate saga.
The Patriots and Eagles previously met in the Super Bowl in 2005. In the matchup, Donavan McNabb’s Eagles were not able to overcome young Tom Brady’s Patriots, and the Patriots won their second straight Lombardi and their third in the past four seasons. The Patriots would accomplish both those feats again with another win over the Eagles, but they’ll have to face their toughest test all season: the poised underdogs from Philly.