A superb ol’ Super Bowl blowout preview
A comprehensive guide comparing Philadelphia and New England head to head in 26 key areas before Super Bowl LII
Super Bowl LII is here at last, and it’s a rematch of the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles. The Patriots are the favorites, like usual, with future Hall of Famers Bill Belichick and Tom Brady looking to add to their legacies. The Eagles are the scrappy underdog despite going 15–3 this year, riding a hot backup quarterback in Nick Foles and a great defense and all around roster. It should be a heck of a game.
And the game of the year deserves a comprehensive breakdown. Which coach is better? Which QB is better? What team has the better depth? Which one has better food? Who has better fans, real-life or fictional? Who has the better mascot or the better fight song? Let’s go head-to-head on all things Philly vs. New England and determine a Super Bowl champion …
Philly cheese steak or New England clam chowder?
I mean, come on.
Philadelphia’s official colors are midnight green, silver, black, and white. New England’s colors are navy blue, red, silver, and white.
What is midnight green? When has it ever been green at midnight? What does that even mean? Is there an eclipse?
Navy blue is patriotic … if you’re British. Navy blue got its name from the uniforms the British Royal Navy officers wore in the 1700s. I thought you guys were Patriots?!
“Fly, Eagles, Fly” is a badge of honor for Philadelphia fans. They sing it loudly, brashly. They sang it en masse at the NFL draft. They sing it at Phillies games and Sixers games.
The Patriots don’t have a real fight song. They play that annoying “Shipping Up to Boston” song sometimes. This is what happened the last time the Patriots tried to make a fight song, “The Patriots and We” (what?!):
The Eagles rivalry with the Giants is one of the best and oldest in the NFL, marked by three separate Miracles in the Meadowlands. The Eagles also have a longtime rivalry with the Steelers, a local team they once Voltronned together with to form the Steagles.
New England’s rival is the Jets.
The Eagles have retired nine numbers including names like Donovan McNabb, Brian Dawkins, and Reggie White. You’ll see some 5, 20, and 92 jerseys in the crowd on Sunday.
The Patriots have only retired seven numbers, the most famous of which is John Hannah, the glamorously recognized greatest guard in NFL history. Guess how many John Hannah jerseys you’ll see at the Super Bowl.
Swoop the Eagle is 6'3" and weighs 216 pounds. He wears #00, and his position is listed as “Center of Attention.”
Pat Patriot wears #1. He was born on July 4, 1776. His height is “head and shoulders above the competition” and his weight is “100% muscle.”
Sorry, but this one isn’t close. Swoop the Eagle sounds like the name of a Beanie Baby.
The Patriots have Bill Simmons, Katie Nolan, and Charlotte Wilder. That’s two hilarious, inspiring, challenging, savvy, socially relevant sports media moguls I want to be when I grow up … AND Bill Simmons!! New England also claims Matt Damon, all the Afflecks, and all the Wahlbergs. And Dane Cook. Real-life Patriots fans are absolutely insufferable.
The Eagles have Kobe Bryant and Mike Trout. They have Tina Fey and Will Smith and Bradley Cooper. And think of all the other celebrities that will come out as lifelong Eagles fans if they finally win the Super Bowl!
Philadelphia has the Fresh Prince, Urkel, and Rocky. Heck of a trinity.
Boston has Jesus, who is actually part of the Trinity. They also have Captain America and Jim from The Office.
Here’s the thing, though. Remember Jack from Lost? Remember how he was a Red Sox fan and how it was a major plot point when Jack couldn’t believe the Sox finally won a World Series? Jack isn’t even a Boston fan. Matthew Fox is from Philadelphia. He’s a diehard Eagles fan.
Movies about the team
Invincible was fun and inspiring, and it was a true story. Vince Papale is everyone. He is me. He is you. He is Joe Schmo who tried out for an NFL team and made it. Vince Papale is such an everyman that longtime Pats fan Mark Wahlberg converted to the Eagles to play Papale in the movie.
The Patriots have a Facebook reality web series named Tom vs. Time that follows Tom Brady’s offseason training program.
Fun players of yore
The Eagles have had all sorts of fun players. Randall Cunningham was one of the most fun players ever. Cunningham and Michael Vick are two of the greatest all time video game players. Terrell Owens and DeSean Jackson taunted opponents while they scored. Reggie White dominated. Brian Dawkins lit opponents up. Donovan McNabb dry-heaved.
Chuck Bednarik deserves his own paragraph.
Who are the fun Patriots of yesteryear? Drew Bledsoe? Adam Vinatieri? Kevin Faulk? Troy Brown? Wes Welker? This doesn’t even sound like a fun frat party.
The Eagles had a bunch of fun touchdown celebrations this year. They played baseball together. They did the electric slide. They cracked open a safe and made it rain. They even got the whole team involved in a bowling celebration. The Eagles players like each other and are out there having fun.
The Patriots are so lame and barren of fun the Boston Globe literally wrote an article this year about it. If they win Sunday and someone asks Bill Belichick how it feels, he’ll probably just say they’re “on to Super Bowl LIII.”
The old Patriots logo is a classic, an image of a Revolutionary War minuteman hiking a football. It’s admittedly very cool.
But the old Eagles logo has an American eagle clutching a football in the vices of its talons.
That’s ball security, bro.
If you Google “gates in Philadelphia,” you get a Yelp review for an exotic Russian dance club called Golden Gates with a ton of good reviews.
The only gates New England has are Spygate and Deflategate.
Best name on the team
The Patriots have two dudes named Flowers. The best name on their roster is probably Shaq Mason or LaAdrian Waddle.
The Eagles have Jay Ajayi, which is fun to say, and Halapoulivaati Vaitai, which is not. They have Aziz Shittu, which is how some people now feel about the creator of Master of None.
Players on the team named Brandon
Listen, this matters to me.
The Eagles have two players named Brandon, Pro Bowl guard Brandon Brooks and defensive end Brandon Graham, their sack leader.
The Patriots have three Brandons: running back Brandon Bolden, safety Brandon King, and wide receiver Brandin Cooks.
Three Brandons is better than two. But two Brandons is better than two Brandons and a stupidly misspelled Brandin.
Best use of players I love
Boston stole Kevin Garnett, Randy Moss, and Big Papi away from Minnesota and claimed them as their own.
Philadelphia called up longtime Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks catcher Chris Coste in 2008 and promptly won the World Series. A decade later, they drafted North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz #2 overall and now they’re in the Super Bowl a year later.
Not having a stupid award for Patriot of the Week
This is such a Patriots thing. What is a Patriot of the Week? Did Obama win Patriot of the Week when he killed Osama bin Laden?
You know who’s never won Patriot of the Week? Tom Brady.
I promise you one thing: Carson Wentz would definitely have won Patriot of the Week at least two or three times this season if the Eagles had such a stupid award.
Being a real place
Philadelphia is a real place. It was once our nation’s capital. It was the birthplace of the Declaration of Independence. It is home to the Liberty Bell and the Betsy Ross House and the Benjamin Franklin Museum. Philadelphia is a beacon of American history.
What’s a New England? Where is New England? Which states are part of New England? Why is New England the only region that gets their own sports team?
Being closely associated with *that* guy
Pro Football Reference lists a handful of nicknames for Tom Brady. Tom Terrific you’ve heard of. Touchdown Tom is alliterative, too. Comeback Kid? Sure, I guess. But The Pharaoh? Sir? SIR?!
Do you know what Philadelphia fans call Nick Foles?
Comeback players of the year
Tom Brady won Comeback Player of the Year in 2009. Rob Gronkowski won it in 2014. No current Eagle has ever won Comeback Player of the Year.
Hey, you know what’s even better than winning Comeback Player of the Year?
Never leaving in the first place.
Perfect seasons blown
The Patriots went undefeated in 2007 but choked in the Super Bowl to ruin their perfect season. Now if you Google “Patriots 16–0” all you get is the score of a 2016 preseason game in which New England was shut out by the Bills.
The Eagles have never come close to blowing a perfect season. They’ve never even won ten games in a row. They’re no idiots.
Bill Belichick has won a lot of Super Bowls. But he’s also lost some. Doug Pederson has never lost a Super Bowl.
The Patriots coaches are all getting ready to leave for other jobs. Josh McDaniels is already busy drawing up plays for Andrew Luck’s shoulder surgery. Matt Patricia is wondering if Blake Griffin can play any defense.
The Eagles coaches ain’t going anywhere. Frank Reich and Jim Schwartz are laser-focused on one thing and one thing only: winning this Super Bowl.
One of these starting quarterbacks once averaged more than nine yards an attempt for an entire season with a league-best 27-to-2 TD-INT ratio. The other one is Tom Brady.
Nick Foles was once named Pro Bowl offensive MVP. Tom Brady hasn’t played in a Pro Bowl in 13 years. In the history of the Pro Bowl, Tom Brady is 6/14 for 70 yards with two interceptions. He’s never thrown a touchdown.
Tom Brady did have 32 touchdowns this season. That’s pretty good for a 40-year-old. But you know who had 33 touchdowns? Philadelphia’s BACKUP.
The rest of the roster
The Eagles have better offensive and defensive lines. They have a better secondary. They’re better rushing the passer and stopping the run. They have a better stable of running backs and a better group of receivers.
They’re probably better at special teams, too. Has Stephen Gostkowski ever even made a Super Bowl-winning field goal?
Whose fans deserve this
Boston won a World Series in 2004, 2007, and 2013. They won the Stanley Cup in 2011 and the NBA championship in 2008. They won the Super Bowl in 2002, 2004, 2005, 2015, and 2017.
Boston teenagers have celebrated TEN championships. Sixteen-year-olds have celebrated a Boston championship in more years than they haven’t.
Philadelphia has one championship in 34 years. They’ve seen a team lose in the championship eight different times in that span. Philly fans need this. They deserve this.
That’s it! Tally everything up, and this one’s going to be a blowout. Take the points and the under.
Congratulations Philly fans! Nothing bad will ever happen to you again.