When it comes to professional sports, New Jersey is a state divided. While the majority of the northern half splits their loyalties between the New York Giants and the New York Jets, the southern half of our state predominantly cheers for the Philadelphia Eagles. For long-suffering South Jerseyans, Sunday’s Super Bowl match-up between The Birds and the reigning champion New England Patriots has been a long time coming. Before the big game, brush up on some Iggles factoids.
1. Super Bowl LII is the ultimate rematch. The Eagles squared off against the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX in 2005. The defending Super Bowl Champion Patriots defeated the Eagles by the score of 24-21, becoming the first team to win back-to-back Super Bowls since the Denver Broncos did so in 1998 and 1999. Super Bowl XXXIX was a lucky 13 years ago, and now the Eagles are back to win it all.
2. The last time the teams played against each other, on December 6, 2015, the Eagles won the game, defeating the Patriots 35-28. Najee Goode scored on a blocked punt and Malcolm Jenkins returned an interception 99 yards for another touchdown. The Patriots went on to win Super Bowl XLIX against the Seattle Seahawks.
3. This will be the Philadelphia Eagles’ third appearance in the Super Bowl. (They faced the Oakland Raiders in 1981.) They have never been Super Bowl champions, but have won three NFL Championships in the pre-Super Bowl era, in 1948, 1949 and 1960.
4. Doug Pederson, who replaced Chip Kelly as head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles in 2016, could be named the NFL Coach of the Year at the NFL Honors award ceremony on Saturday night. He also has prior experience beating Patriots coach Bill Belichick. In 2000, when Pederson was a quarterback for the Cleveland Browns and Belichick was in his first season as the Patriots’ coach, Pederson helped lead the team to a 19-11 victory against the New England Patriots. Could he lead the Eagles to another victory?
5. Nick Foles, the Eagles’ backup quarterback, has carried the team since Carson Wentz’s late-season knee injury. In doing so, Foles has improbably compiled the highest passer rating (116.3) of any quarterback in NFL postseason history.
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