Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Random memories from Super Bowl LII

Eliot Shorr-Parks
October 12, 2019 - 1:57 pm
Categories: 

The Eagles are back in Minnesota. You might remember the last time they were there. 

Everyone has their own memories and experiences from Super Bowl LII, arguably the best and most important day in the history of Philadelphia sports. 

As a media member covering the game, here are some wild, random memories of what was a wild week in Minnesota: 

Nick Foles and Tom Brady banner: One of my first memories of Super Bowl LII week was walking into the Mall of America and seeing a huge banner for the big game, featuring New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady…and Nick Foles. Even knowing now what happened, and how well he would play, it is still pretty absurd to think Foles was on a massive banner for that game next to arguably the greatest quarterback of all time — a quarterback he ultimately out played. 

Seeing Wentz, receivers and army tanks: One of the first events in Minnesota was watching the team get off the buses and check into their hotel — exciting stuff. The players stepped off the bus, videotaping the media watching them from a roped off area about 20 yards away. The Eagles stayed at a hotel attached to the Mall of America, and their busses pulled into what was basically an alley way between a side entrance to the mall and the hotel. After the players checked in, I remember seeing quarterback Carson Wentz, still fresh off of his ACL/LCL tear, limp with his teammates out of the hotel. Because of all the security, Wentz and his teammates had to wait for their ride surrounded by soldiers between two massive army tanks. Imagine being the Uber drive that pulled up to see the NFC Champions waiting between two tanks. 

The Mall: It was a bit of a blessing in disguise that the game was in Minnesota and not a place like Miami or Arizona, considering how much work there was to do. The media center was in literally in the mall, which means the majority of my week was spent at Radio Row in the food court. The stars didn’t exactly flock to Minnesota for the game, so Radio Row wasn’t the usual star-studded event it is at other Super Bowl. 

One moment I remember in the Mall of America is I went into the Nike Store to check out all of the Super Bowl stuff, and there was this huge screen right when you walked in. I assumed it was a way to personalize gear, so I tried to press it to see what was available. Multiple presses later, with nothing happening, a store employee informed me it wasn’t a touch screen. 

The look on Brandon Graham’s face: One of the images from the game I will never forget is the look on Brandon Graham’s face after he stripped the ball away from Brady to essentially seal the win. Graham is one of the happiest players I have ever covered in any sport, and almost always has a smile on his face. I could only imagine the adrenaline going through his body after he made that play, and the look on his face was one I had never seen from him. An iconic moment in Philadelphia sports.  

Shaq playing me: One benefit of being a media member during Super Bowl week is you get to attend different events throughout the week. One event I went to had Shaquille O’Neal as the D.J., which was pretty cool. At one moment during the party he was walking my way, so I decided to take the opportunity to shake his hand. I noticed he had on some extremely fly shoes, so I decided to compliment them as he walked by, with my hand extended. Well, either he was too tall to see me or didn’t hear me, because he walked right by. Not a great look for me. 

Super Bowl 20: One thing that sticks out whenever I look back at photos from that week -- I put on about 20 pounds during that Super Bowl run, and lets just say the week in the food court didn't help. Don't ever say I don't do whatever it takes to be the #BeatWriterYouNeed. 

Eagles intro: I picked the Eagles to win the game going in, mostly because of their defensive line, but also because at that point I realized picking against them was foolish. The moment I realized I would be correct happened before kickoff even happened. I have been to hundreds of football games, multiple Super Bowls, All-Star games, home openers and more — but I have never, ever seen anything like when the Eagles ran out onto the field to “Dreams and Nightmares” for their intro. The Patriots had no chance that day. 

Corey Clement: During the preseason, I remember there being some debate about whether the Eagles should keep Corey Clement, at that time an undrafted free agent running back. The conversation was a good training camp debate, but didn’t seem to matter much in the big picture. Welp, if it wasn’t for Nick Foles’ amazing game, Clement might have been Super Bowl LII MVP. He was that good, and that dominant, against the Patriots. Good call keeping him on the roster. 

Philly Special: It isn't that almost an entire stadium of 70,000-plus are quiet, but that silence as everyone tried to process what just happened after the Philly Special was pretty amazing. Even though everyone's eyes saw Foles catch the ball, it took some time to actually process it. Hearing the silence turn into a deafening roar of celebration was pretty amazing to see. 

The celebration: The weird part about being a media member during the Super Bowl was you were right there for all of the celebrations, but still had a job to do. I remember being in the locker room as the players celebrated, with music blasting and the trophy being passed around. The NFL security let the media in a little too early, so we got to watch Doug Pederson’s post-game speech. Watching the players I had covered and gotten to know — some since their rookie year — was pretty cool.  

Special: The Eagles have played 31 games since they won the Super Bowl, including the preseason. The Super Bowl still feels like it was yesterday, but the reality is it is slowly getting further-and-further in the rearview mirror. Everyone knew that team was special, but as the players on that team still on the roster get smaller, and the games continue to pile up since they won, it becomes more-and-more clear how truly special that team was. The main lesson from the Eagles’ Super Bowl win is that it really doesn’t take the best team to win — it takes an x-factor, confidence and swagger that is hard to create and build. The Eagles have struggled to recreate that same atmosphere since, the result of basically playing .500 football with plenty of losses in big spots. That team’s ability to always rise to the moment, and make the big plays when they needed it, was truly special. 

Never say never, but when you consider how the Eagles won -- with Foles at quarterback, the Philly Special, against Tom Brady, their first Super Bowl ever -- it is hard to see any game or any title in Philadelphia ever topping it. 

Flight home: This is going to sound like a made-up story, but it isn’t. My flight back to Philadelphia was the next morning around 6am, so like most, I didn’t get much sleep before hat trip back. As I was in the airport, working at the gate, a group of fans that definitely didn’t get any sleep since the game arrived to the gate as well. Their level of energy was not matched by many at the gate, much to their frustration. After a few Eagles chants, they calmed down and basically started to pass out. 

One fan, however, kept talking to a stranger at the gate, saying again-and-again he couldn’t believe they won the Super Bowl. He basically passed out saying he couldn’t believe he did it. 

Watching that happen, even at 6am, felt like a fitting end to a wild week in Minnesota. 

You can reach Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks or email him at esp@94wip.com!

Tags: