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
0

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.


Iran suspended from world judo over Israel boycott policy

Updated 18 September 2019

Iran suspended from world judo over Israel boycott policy

  • Iran’s judo federation is accused of discriminating against Israeli athletes
  • Mollaei has said he was repeatedly ordered by Iranian officials to lose matches or withdraw from competitions

LAUSANNE, Switzerland: Iran has been suspended from international judo competitions because it boycotts bouts with Israeli athletes.
Less than a month after world champion Saeid Mollaei walked off the Iranian team in protest at the boycott policy, the International Judo Federation said Wednesday that Iran is suspended ahead of a full hearing.
Iran’s judo federation is accused of discriminating against Israeli athletes and breaking rules over manipulating competition results.
“The IJF Executive Committee considered that such a conduct is intolerable,” the federation said.
Mollaei has said he was repeatedly ordered by Iranian officials to lose matches or withdraw from competitions, including last month’s world championships, so as not to face Israelis. He is currently in hiding in Germany.
Iran does not recognize Israel as a country, and Iranian sports teams have for several decades had a policy of not competing against Israelis.
It’s not yet clear if the IJF will seek to stop Iran competing in the 2020 Olympic judo events. Meanwhile, the IJF is exploring ways to allow Mollaei to compete on the International Olympic Committee’s team of refugees.
The IOC has signaled a harder line on boycotts in recent years.
In June, IOC president Thomas Bach criticized governments who “clearly abuse sport for their political purposes,” noting a case in May of a Tunisian court blocking four Israelis from competing at the taekwondo junior world championships.