By Kendall Gregory
Assistant Sports Editor
The Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots will face-off in Super Bowl LII on Feb. 4 in Minneapolis, Minn.
The Eagles are the number one seed from National Football Conference (NFC); the Patriots are the number one seed from the American Football Conference (AFC). Both play for their respective East divisions.
“As a New York sports fan I am only watching the Super Bowl for Justin Timberlake’s halftime performance,” senior Alex Eberle said.
Philadelphia started their season going 12-1 behind second-year quarterback Carson Wentz. Through his first 13 games, he passed for 3,296 yards and 33 touchdowns with only seven interceptions. During the third quarter of their match-up versus the Los Angeles Rams, Wentz tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). This injury ended his season.
Nick Foles took over as quarterback for the remainder of the season, ultimately leading the team to the Super Bowl. In the NFC Championship game against the Minnesota Vikings, Foles threw for 352 yards and three touchdowns. The Vikings had the best defense in the National Football League (NFL).
“If Foles plays like he did against the Vikings, the Eagles will be in great shape,” senior Taylor Purpura said.
New England had a 13-3 regular season record, having an eight-game win streak in the middle of their season. Behind Tom Brady, their starting quarterback since 2001, the Patriots are back in the Super Bowl for the third time in four years.
The Patriots won the Super Bowl last year over the Atlanta Falcons. In an overtime thriller, the Patriots were able to comeback from a 28-3 deficit and defeat the Falcons 34-28.
“Although I’ve always rooted against the Patriots in every Super Bowl, you have to respect what they have accomplished, even if you don’t want to,” senior Jim Parker said.
The Eagles haven’t been in a Super Bowl since 2004, where they lost to the Patriots, 24-21. This is only the Eagles’ third Super Bowl appearance in franchise history.
In their second season under head coach Doug Peterson, the Eagles went from last place in the NFC East division last year, to posting a 13-3 regular season record this year. That tied them for the best record in the NFL, along with the Patriots, Vikings and Pittsburgh Steelers.
At the end of the regular season, Philadelphia had the fourth-best ranked defense and the seventh-best ranked offense.
“The Vikings have a better defense than the Patriots,” Purpura said. “I think the Eagles defense is good enough to hold Brady and their offense under 20 points.”
New England has been under the control of head coach Bill Belichick since 2000, which was the only season the Patriots have had a losing record under him. This is also the only season Brady didn’t start for the Patriots while Belichick has been the head coach.
Since the Brady and Belichick era began in 2001, they have made the playoffs in 15 seasons, including nine straight. They have won five Super Bowls together.
“Tom Brady is winning at life,” Eberle said. “He’s probably going to get his 6th Super Bowl ring.”
Kickoff is set for 6:30 PM, Eastern Standard Time (ET), from U.S. Bank Stadium.