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The Battle for the 2018 Lombardi Trophy

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New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Photo: AP

This Sunday, Super Bowl LII (52) will pit the Philadelphia Eagles against the New England Patriots. Even though the weather outside will be a bone chilling 11 degrees, the game will be played indoors at the US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn. Dome stadiums like US Bank Stadium have allowed some of the colder weather cities the opportunity to host a Super Bowl. Typically Super Bowls are played in warm weather areas.

The Eagles and the Patriots both have records of 13-3. Most people will probably say the Patriots are going to win the game, but the Eagles will have something to say about that. In most championship games there is always a favorite going in. It is the coaching staff’s responsibility to put together a game plan that will allow their team the best opportunity to win the big game. No one has any idea if turnovers will dictate the outcome of the game. Will special teams for one team make some big plays and cause some chaos?

Most people want to talk about the GOATs (Greatest of All Time): Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. They are looking to secure their third Lombardi Trophy in a four-year span. The Eagles are returning to the big game for the first time since 2005, when they lost to this same New England Patriot organization. Will things be different this time around? If fans and experts base their predictions on experience alone the Patriots should be the favorite. Since Belichick’s arrival in New England 18 years ago, the Patriots have been to the Super Bowl eight times. They had been to the big game once before his arrival.

The Eagles have been to the big game twice and lost on both occasions. Since Carson Wentz went down to injury in week 15, the Eagles have relied on backup quarterback Nick Foles. In the Eagles’ playoff games, Foles has been very good. In the games against Atlanta and Minnesota he completed 49 of 63 pass attempts for 598 yards and three touchdowns. He has yet to throw an interception.

Foles could become the eighth backup quarterback to lead his team to a Super Bowl win. He will only need to look across the field to see one who has done so. Brady did it in Super Bowl XXXVI (36) when he took over for Drew Bledsoe, who went down with a season ending injury in week 2 that season. Many variables come into play when championship games are played: nerves, turnovers, special teams play, coaching moves, injuries, and on and on. The bottom line is the team that takes care of the football and controls the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball will usually come out on top. We will see how it goes down in a few short days.

By Bret Simmermacher, DSM

Dr. Bret Simmermacher is the Chair of Sports Coaching at the United States Sports Academy. 

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