Dear Readers,

The coronavirus pandemic has caused widespread disruption to the lives of everyone in Tampa Bay and to so many businesses in our community. Here at the Tampa Bay Times, we continue to provide free, up-to-date information at as a public service. But we need your help. Please consider supporting us by subscribing or donating, and by sharing our work. Thank you.

  1. Bucs

Fennelly: Super Bowl script is flipped, thank goodness

Nelson Agholor of the Philadelphia Eagles celebrates winning Super Bowl LII against the New England Patriots. [Getty Images]

I got your underdogs right here.


Face it: Their quarterback was just a better receiver than the other quarterback.

It might have been just what the NFL needed after a bad season, from injuries to player troubles, in or out of Ubers, and dwindling TV ratings and bad officiating.

A superb Super Bowl LII to the rescue.

Somewhere, "Concrete Charlie" Bednarik is smiling.

The Philadelphia Eagles stood up and were counted Sunday night. They were the better team, just like the NFC was the better conference. They won their first Super Bowl, and their first championship in 58 years, and they did it by cutting right into the heart of New England Patriots' dynasty with a daring, electrifying 41-33 win.

Nick Foles just became a household name in households that don't have "Foles" on the mailbox. He did it by outplaying the great Tom Brady — by catching one more touchdown than Brady, too.

A wild, wild night.

It was the Eagles who drove down for the winning score late in a game that featured Xbox offense. And just when it was going to be a Patriots night, down 38-33 late but with the ball in Brady's GOAT hands, it was gone — a sack and fumble, and Philadelphia ball.

That isn't supposed to happen.

The world turned upside down, and with it the champs and a dynasty.
If Eagles fans don't put another crack in the Liberty Bell, consider the whole affair a success.

The Eagles didn't play underdog. Sylvester Stallone's services were not required. Philadelphia's favorite adopted native movie star was still shaken by 2003, when he helped christen the new Eagles football stadium, which fueled the Eagles to a 17-0 loss to the defending Super Bowl champion Bucs.
Sly wasn't near this game.

By the way, neither were the Bucs.

This is a very good Super Bowl century. The games have hummed, and Sunday was no different. It was spectacular. It was rousing.

But Foles, the sleepy-looking Philadelphia backup QB, having replaced the injured Carson Wentz, delivered an MVP performance, and in the shadow of Brady, throwing for three scores and hauling in another, which is more than we can say about the GOAT — Brady couldn't haul in a pass a little earlier.

And so, the Eagles are champions and, just as important, the Patriots are not, having been denied a chance to repeat a previous trick of three Lombardi trophies in four seasons.

That doesn't make Brady any less than the greatest quarterback of all (he threw for 505 yards) or Bill Belichick any less of a dour genius. It just wasn't their night, and frankly, the NFL needed that. We all did.

It's not the Patriots' world and we just live in it.

Maybe we should have known it when Eagles defensive back Malcolm Jenkins flattened Patriots receiver Brandin Cooks and knocked him from the game. Maybe we should have known it when Philadelphia kept running over New England and kept getting to Brady.

Or maybe one play defined it, a fearless play when the situation seemed to demand that Philadelphia settle for a field goal just before halftime. The Eagles didn't. Instead, coach Doug Pederson went for it on fourth down and called for third-string Eagles tight end — and Florida Gator — Trey Burton to cap some goal-line razzle-dazzle by tossing a TD to Foles.

It was a fearless moment, right in the face of the Killer Bs — Brady and Belichick. Neither man could stem the Philadelphia whirlwind. Guess it wasn't a coaching mismatch, either.

The only question left is whether greater Philadelphia will be so great after Eagles fans are done with it. Fly, Eagles, fly, but behave yourselves, kids.
You've already beaten the odds.

You knocked off the kings of the world.

Belichick and Brady will be so despondent, they'll only go 12-4 next season.
But we all needed to be reminded that nothing is written. History is to be made, not accepted. The Eagles, all these years after the Bucs shut down them and the Vet, are champions.

More to the point, the Patriots are not.