The entire 2017-18 NFL season all comes down to one game. On February 4, the Philadelphia Eagles will look to win their first ever Super Bowl. Standing in their way, however, is the reigning champion New England Patriots. The game promises to be a great one and hundreds of millions of people are sure to tune in. While hardcore fans already know the many story lines and interesting facts about the game, the more casually interested may not. In an effort to get everyone up to speed on the Super Bowl, this article will go over 15 things you need to know about Super Bowl LII.
15. The Game is Being Played Inside a Dome in Minnesota
While weather is normally a factor in football games, the teams in the Super Bowl won’t need to worry about it this year. The game is being played in the brand new U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota, which just happens to be a domed stadium. However, even if the game was being played outside, both teams are used to playing in the relatively cold weather of Philly and Boston, respectively. So weather might not have been a problem for the players. The NFL usually stays away from host stadiums where snow storms could be a problem, but this game will be on a completely level playing field under the roof. There will be no wind, weather, or other conditions to blame.
14. Most People Counted the Eagles Out Weeks Ago
Despite being the No. 1 seed in the NFC, the Eagles have been underdog for weeks. Nearing the end of the regular season, the Eagles lost their starting quarterback Carson Wentz to injury, who was well on his way to an MVP-caliber season. When he tore his ACL in Week 14, many people thought the Eagles wouldn’t be able to make any noise in the postseason with backup Nick Foles taking snaps. Not only did they make noise, but they won two straight games against a pair of the scariest teams in the NFC — including an absolutely dominant win against the Minnesota Vikings, a team with arguably the best defense in the NFL.
13. The Defenses in the Game are Underrated
While both of the teams in the Super Bowl are known for their offenses this season, they have been pretty good on the defensive side of the ball. While the Patriots started the season off with some horrendous efforts on defense, they managed to turn it around and do what they needed to do to stop opposing offenses. On the other hand, the Eagle have had a solid defense all year, but their offense has overshadowed the defensive side of the ball. The Eagles, in particular, have a great defensive line and a solid secondary. Their defense could be the reason they win or lose the game, since slowing down Tom Brady will be essential to their chances.
12. How Will Gronk’s Concussion Affect Him?
During the AFC Championship game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Patriots star tight end Rob Gronkowski took a big hit that knocked him out for the rest of the game. He was diagnosed with a concussion and is currently recovering. While he will likely recover in time to play in the Super Bowl (although that hasn’t been confirmed), that isn’t saying he will be at 100 percent for the game. Either way, the lingering effects of concussion could play a part. But the question is, how much? If he is limited in any capacity, it could hurt the Patriots chances to win the game, since Gronk is one of their biggest weapons. If he is completely healthy, he will likely be a game changer for the Patriots.
11. The Super Bowl Could Make Jimmy Garoppolo a Lot of Money
Despite not being a member of the Patriots any longer, a Super Bowl win could put some extra cash in the pockets of 49ers starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. He began the season in New England before an October trade sent him to the West coast. Despite not touching the ball a single time as a member of the Patriots during the 2017 regular season, he is eligible for some large bonuses depending how the Patriots do in the playoffs. He already made $51,000 when the Patriots beat the Titans and depending on the result of the Super Bowl he’ll make even more. He gets another $50,000 if they lose, but over $100,000 if the Patriots win.
10. Doug Pedersen Has Had a Long Coaching Journey
During the 1990s and early 2000s, Doug Pederson was a quarterback in the NFL and actually won a Super Bowl as a player when he was backup to Brett Favre on a Green Bay Packers team that beat the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI. However, his journey as a coach hasn’t been as straight forward as his playing career was. After retiring, he became a high school coach for a few years and his teams did quite well, winning a district championship. He then was signed by the Eagles as a quality control coach, eventually moved himself up to a coordinator role for the Chiefs, before ultimately becoming the head coach of the Eagles in 2016. So far his coaching career sports an impressive 20-12 record and a perfect 2-0 in postseason play.
9. The Eagles Don’t Mind Being Underdogs
As we mentioned earlier in the article, no one thought the Eagles would make it as far as they have. Instead of cowering under the pressure and believing the headlines that they were done, the Eagles have risen to the occasion and have shown everyone that they deserve to be here. Not only that, but they have also embraced their roles as underdogs and have thrived on being the underdog. Heading into the Super Bowl, they are just as hungry as ever. Even though they are the underdogs, don’t count them out. They are used to it at this point.
8. The Eagles Actually Hold an Edge in the Head-to-Head Matchup
Over the last decade and a half, the Patriots have been the best and most successful team in the NFL by a mile. They have won five Super Bowls, and has simply dominated both in the playoffs and the regular season. However, if you look at the head to head matchups between these two teams, you might be surprised. The Eagles actually lead the all-time series 7-to-6 and won the last game between the two teams, which was back in 2015.
7. The Patriots Get to Wear Their White Jerseys
The Patriots will be the home team in this game, as the NFC and AFC switch who gets to be the home team each season. That means that the Patriots get to choose on the coin toss and get to pick the jerseys they want to wear. In an unsurprising choice, the Patriots have chosen to wear their white uniforms. This is significant for two reasons — first, because they have worn blue for every home game so far this year and second, they are 3-0 under Bill Belichick while wearing white in the Super Bowl. Apparently, they are a bit superstitious in New England.
6. Both Kickers Played for the Same College
That’s right, both the Eagles kicker Jake Elliot and the Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski went to the same college. While they weren’t there at the same time, they both were talented players for Memphis University. Elliot was signed off the Bengals practice squad earlier in the season as a rookie, and has gone on to be huge for them in a number of different games. Gostkowski, on the other hand, has been in the NFL for many years and has been one of the best and most consistent kickers in the game. Super Bowls can often come down to a kick or two, and these two kickers could be some of the biggest heroes (or goats) in the entire game.
5. Friends Become Enemies
This game will be an interesting dynamic for both LeGarrette Blount and Chris Long. Last year, they were a part of the Patriots team who went out and made the huge Super Bowl comeback against the Atlanta Falcons. But this year, both are members of the Eagles, with a rare chance to win two straight Super Bowls with different teams. It will be interesting what they might be able to tell the Eagles coaching staff about the Patriots playbooks and/or tactics. They each play on a different side of the ball, so the Eagles might have some inside knowledge on both the offense and defense of the Patriots.
4. Is Nick Foles Up to the Challenge?
When Carson Wentz went down earlier this season, Nick Foles had to step up and prove he could be a suitable fill-in despite never really showing the ability to be a consistent starter so far in his career. He has not only done that, but exceeded the expectations of almost everyone. Fresh off of absolutely filleting the Vikings talented defense, he has his sights set on the Patriots. While he is no Tom Brady (to be fair, no one is), it will be interested to see what kind of performance Foles can muster up on Sunday. The result of the game could very well fall upon Foles’ shoulders, especially if he can put on a performance like he did in the NFC Championship game. Is he up to the challenge? Only time will tell, and the world will be watching to find out.
3. The Tickets Are CRAZY Expensive
Before the NFC Championship, this might have been one of the most expensive Super Bowl games to see live in the history of the game. The hometown Vikings had a chance to be the first team to “host” a Super Bowl, you can bet Vikings fans would be driving prices up like crazy with the demand. However, since the Vikings were eliminated, the prices have dropped — but only slightly. You’ll still be paying an arm and a leg to get in the stadium. You are still looking at spending well over $3,000 for your Super Bowl ticket, and that is to just get in the door. If you want good seats, it could be much MUCH higher.
2. What Will Justin Timberlake Do For the Half Time Show
While many of us sports fans watch the Super Bowl for the game, there are just as many people who check it out for the commercials and the star-studded half time show. The mid-game musical performance is always full of surprises, and this year should be no different. The artist performing the half time show this year is none other than the multi-talented Justin Timberlake, whose last appearance at the Super Bowl didn’t exactly end well. We’re wondering if he has any tricks up his sleeve for Sunday, like being back Janet Jackson or even an *NSync reunion?
1. Tom Brady Could Become the First Player to Win Six Super Bowl Rings
Unless you are a hard-core San Francisco 49ers fan (or a huge Patriots hater), you really can’t argue that Tom Brady isn’t the best of all-time. He has five Super Bowl rings so far, more Super Bowl MVPs than anyone else, and has basically done it all as a quarterback, including putting up record numbers and simply winning a ton. This year, he has the chance to become the only player to ever win six Super Bowls. It would be an outstanding feat. As Brady recently turned 40, there’s always a chance that this will be the last Super Bowl we see him in (although he’s suggested he plans to keep playing). We should enjoy it while we can, because it’s not every day we get to watch the GOAT of his sport play in the big game.