Philadelphia Eagles win over Patriots gives hope to the ‘underdog’

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles celebrates after winning Super Bowl LII against the New England Patriots at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. (AFP)
Updated 06 February 2018
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Philadelphia Eagles win over Patriots gives hope to the ‘underdog’

LONDON: The dust will just about be settling in Philadelphia today, but the talk surrounding this year’s Super Bowl will rumble on for years to come.
It will go down as a classic.
The underdog Eagles upsetting the most successful NFL franchise of this century was a fitting finale that actually lived up to the enormous hype for once.
It was an absorbing battle between two teams who knew how the game should be played — there was no attritional, defensive quagmire in the middle of the field, rather it was an end-to-end spectacle of blistering offensive play.
That the Eagles came out on top after a final, desperate Hail Mary attempt from this season’s MVP Tom Brady will have come as a relief for the neutrals.
The Patriots were chasing their sixth title since 2000, having forged one of the strongest dynasties in American sport history.
But after the confetti had fallen and the fanfare was over, there could be no doubt the best team had won.
The Philly team assembled by Doug Pederson this year have been electric all season, mostly powered to their 13-3 regular season record by the right hand of Carson Wentz.
But the romance of their victory was made all the sweeter by the fact back-up quarterback and NFL journeyman Nick Foles was just as sublime in the pocket, coming in for the final five games and being named this year’s Super Bowl MVP.


He had been with the Eagles before, pulling off a remarkable season in 2013 but never fulfilling the potential he briefly showed that winter. Out of favor, his nondescript stints at the Rams and the Chiefs pointed to his suggestions of calling time on his footballing career being well-founded.
And then on a balmy December day in Los Angeles, Wentz tore his ACL and the rest, as they say, is history. Foles had gone from the quarterback wilderness to Super Bowl champion within two months.
Meanwhile, his opposite number last night — the iconic Brady — has dusted himself off and vowed to play on into his 41st year.
It is testament to the determination and commitment of the greatest quarterback of all time that he has the stamina to go again for another season.
Knowing “TB12”, he will probably come back stronger and go one better in next year’s showpiece.
And while much of the talk before Sunday’s game was about a victory heralding the confirmation of a “Patriots legacy”, a “Brady/Bill Belichick dynasty” — that air of invincibility they have built will most certainly have taken a dent. Yet, losing on Sunday will not detract from what Brady and Belichick have achieved — funded by the deep pockets of Patriots owner Robert Kraft — in a league system designed to stop one team dominating. It definitely will not be replicated any time soon.
This New England crop will go down as one of the best rosters assembled, Brady is already assured of a Hall of Fame spot and Belichick’s greatness will never be questioned.


But a first Super Bowl victory for the Eagles is good news for American Football and good for US sport in general. In the American sporting world of ever-increasing wealth, clinical corporatism and brand promotion-over-fan connection, it proves that upsets can still happen and an unfancied, unloved band of underdogs can get one over the big guns — with style and panache too. It’s a result that will live long in the memory.


Green triple-double fuels Warriors’ comeback win

Updated 19 May 2019
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Green triple-double fuels Warriors’ comeback win

  • The Golden State Warriors rallied for a 110-99 victory over the Trail Blazers in Portland
  • The two-time defending champion Warriors trailed by as many as 18 in the second quarter

LOS ANGELES: Draymond Green exploded for a seventh career playoff triple-double Saturday as the Golden State Warriors rallied for a 110-99 victory over the Trail Blazers in Portland and a 3-0 lead in the NBA Western Conference finals.
The two-time defending champion Warriors trailed by as many as 18 in the second quarter, but with Green driving them they produced another dominant third period to seize control of the contest and the series.
No team has come back from an 0-3 deficit to win an NBA playoff series. The Trail Blazers will try to fend off elimination when they host game four on Monday.
Green scored 20 points with 13 rebounds and 12 assists, keeping the Warriors afloat in the first half before superstar Stephen Curry came alive with 21 of his 36 points after the interval.
“There aren’t many guys in the game that can (affect both ends of the floor),” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said of Green beforehand. “Draymond can do both.”
His intensity was on display on both ends of the court, and on the sidelines as he exhorted teammates to keep pushing.
Klay Thompson added 19 points for the Warriors, who were again without injured star Kevin Durant.
“All my teammates, my coaches have been telling me, ‘Draymond, get to the hole, be aggressive,’” Green said of his mindset.
“We’ve got guys out there, Steph, Klay and those guys who draw a lot of attention, so it’s on me to do my job and come through for those guys.”
CJ McCollum led Portland with 23 points. Damian Lillard, relentlessly double-teamed by the Warriors, added 19 points.
Center Meyers Leonard, making just his third start of the season, finished with 16 points.
Leonard made the most of his opportunity early, connecting on five of seven shots from the field in the first half on the way to 13 points.
The Trail Blazers, energized in front of a rowdy home crowd at the Moda Center, quickly built a 10-point lead before the Warriors trimmed it to two — 29-27 — at the end of the first quarter.
But the Blazers kept the pressure on, stretching the lead to 18 in the second quarter.
A steal by Lillard produced a thunderous dunk from Leonard, then Portland’s Seth Curry stole the ball from his superstar brother Stephen and raced for a three-pointer that made it 60-42 with 2:28 remaining in the first half.
Portland took a 66-53 lead into the locker room, but the Warriors responded with a monster third quarter, using a 22-6 scoring run to take their first lead of the game, 77-76 on a layup by Kevin Looney — assisted by Green.
Golden State out-scored Portland 29-13 in the quarter to lead by three heading into the final frame.
The Warriors pushed the lead to 11 with 4:51 remaining and the Trail Blazers wouldn’t get the deficit below eight from there.