MINNEAPOLIS — So now what, Nick Foles?
The Philadelphia Eagles’ quarterback and Super Bowl MVP isn’t going to Disneyland after conquering Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. He’s going to the bench — that is, unless some NFL-needy team makes a pitch for him.
That’s because these Eagles aren’t his team. They’re Carson Wentz’s. But when Wentz was hurt in Week 14, Foles stepped in to play Jeff Hostetler, and … presto, just like that … the Eagles have their first NFL championship since 1960 and their first Lombardi Trophy ever.
Like Foles, Hostetler, the former Giants’ quarterback, was unbeaten (5-0) in 1990 when he took over for the injured Phil Simms. And, like Foles, he led New York to a Super Bowl victory, its second in five years. But he was the Giants’ starter the following season, too, because he won a quarterback competition with Simms.
That’s not going to happen here. Wentz was the presumptive MVP before he tore knee ligaments and Foles was sent into the huddle, and Wentz is the automatic starter next season … when, that is, he recovers from his injury. Nobody knows when that will be, and it’s possible it may not happen until the season is underway.
And Foles? He enters the second of his two-year contract next season.
“I’m really not worried about the future right now,” he said at Monday’s news conference. “I’m grateful to be part of the Philadelphia Eagles. I’m just living in the moment.”
If you’re in the market for a quarterback, let the bidding begin.
NFL SWALLOWS THE WHISTLE
The NFL determined the Catch Rule wouldn’t decide this game, so it didn’t. But it could have. In fact, if the league office … i.e., Alberto Riveron, the NFL’s vice president of officiating … were consistent, he would’ve overruled that third-quarter Corey Clement touchdown catch. Reason: When Clement gained control of the ball he only had one foot inbounds. I know, former director of officiating Mike Pereira agreed with the call, and I’m almost always with him. But tell me why that stands, and the Kelvin Benjamin overrule vs. New England earlier this year did not? You can’t. The league did what it should have done before this season and told Riveron not to get involved unless there’s a clear and obvious mistake. But Patriots Haters will see it differently. To them, it looks more like payback for all those TD catches vs. New England — Austin Seferien-Jenkins, Jesse James and Benjamin — that were overruled this season.
- I want a do-over for my Coach-of-the-Year vote. If he were eligible, Doug Pederson would be the game MVP … for his gutsy, aggressive play-calling, especially on two fourth-downs … and for schooling Bill Belichick. “I trust my instincts,” Pederson said. “In games like this against a great opponent, you have to make tough decisions that way and keep yourself aggressive.” Smart.
- Nick Foles playoff stats: 77 of 106 for 971 yards, with six touchdowns and one interception. Better yet, he was 26 of 32 on third-down passes.
- What did Rob Gronkowski mean when he said “I’m going definitely look at my future” the next couple of weeks? I thought it was Brady and Bill Belichick that were considering retirement.
- Lane Johnson, the bar is open. Correction, the city is open, with the block party set for Thursday.
- One reason this game was a pleasure to watch: Few whistles and fewer punts, which means fewer stoppages. There were only seven penalties and one punt.
- There should be some talk about that last Hail Mary, and not because it was a close call; but because there was an obvious illegal contact penalty vs. Chris Hogan that officials missed … or just ignored.
- Uh, sorry, but that does not make Alshon Jeffrey the second coming of Joe Namath.
- Jeffrey on his first-quarter touchdown catch:”(Nick Foles) just threw it up and gave me a chance, and I made a hell of a play.” If he does say so himself.
- Defensive coordinator Matt Patricia must be wondering why he didn’t put cornerback Stephon Gilmore on Jeffrey earlier. Once the Pats made the switch, Jeffrey disappeared.
- With its first three draft picks, New England shouldn’t look for its next quarterback. It should look for its next pass rusher. It doesn’t have one.
- Gisele was right. Her husband can’t throw ’em and catch ’em. Not like Nick Foles, he can’t.
- Nevertheless, not sure what more Brady could’ve done. He’s the first quarterback to throw for over 500 yards in a Super Bowl and lose. “We just couldn’t score more points than the other team,” Brady said. Yep, that about sums it up.
- Think it’s safe to say Malcolm Butler just played … or didn’t play … his last game with New England.
- For the record, nobody is sure what happened with Butler … including Butler. “They gave up on me,” he told ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss. “It is what it is … I guess I wasn’t playing good, or they didn’t feel comfortable. I don’t know. But I could’ve changed the game.”
- Does former Eagles’ coach Andy Reid get a playoff share for rekindling Foles’ interest in football?
- The streak remains intact. No regular-season leader in yards passing has ever won a Super Bowl. You can look it up.
- Just asking but … why did it take a half for New England to discover Gronkowski? He had one catch for nine yards. He had eight for 105 yards and two TDs in the second.
- The Eagles’ Zach Ertz said he couldn’t understand why his TD catch took “an eternity” to review. I can. It’s called the Catch Rule.
- Maybe New England should’ve scouted Nick Foles’ high-school team, Westlake High in Travis County, Tex. It ran the same gadget call that had tight end Trey Burton hit Foles with a fourth-down pass. Truth be told, the Eagles found it when reviewing tape of a Bears-Vikings game in 2016. So they added it to the playbook late this season, then practiced it twice a week in the postseason. Foles scored every time.
- That makes five Super Bowl losses for New England, tying the Patriots with Denver for the most ever.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
TOM BRADY ON HIS FUTURE: “I expect to be back. I would like to process this (but) I don’t se why I wouldn’t be back.”
JERRY KRAMER. It took 45 years, but he finally landed where he belongs — Canton.
PHILADELPHIA RB COREY CLEMENT. He’s the only undrafted rookie to have over 100 yards receiving and a TD in a Super Bowl.
BRIAN DAWKINS. One day he’s voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame; the next, his Eagles win their first Super Bowl. It doesn’t get much better than that.
NFC EAST. It’s the only division where each of its four members have won Super Bowls.
PHILADELPHIA OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR FRANK REICH. Now he knows what it’s like to win a Super Bowl. Not many guys with the Buffalo Bills in the 1990s do.
PHILADELPHIA’S LEGARRETTE BLOUNT and CHRIS LONG. They become the third and fourth players in NFL history to win consecutive Super Bowls with different teams. Ken Norton Jr. and Deion Sanders were the two others. Both with the 49ers and Cowboys.
PHILADELPHIA BEER NATION. It’s drinks all around Thursday, compliments of Lane Johnson, and good luck to the Philadelphia Police Dept.
DETROIT LIONS. Your new head coach (Matt Patricia) just got gashed for 538 yards and by an opponent quarterbacked by a backup who considered quitting two years ago. Astounding? You bet. In fact, when the Patriots’ Malcolm Brown was asked what went wrong with the New England defense, he shook his head and said, “I don’t really know how to answer that question right now.” Apparently, nobody else did, either.
NFL VP OF OFFICIATING ALBERTO RIVERON. One of these days I want to see this guy. He’s like the Wizard of Oz. All powerful, but always behind the curtain. Nobody sees him, and nobody can quite figure out why he can’t quite figure out the Catch Rule. Of course, none of us can.
NEW ENGLAND CB MALCOLM BUTLER. He didn’t start, he barely played and nobody knows why. Defensive coordinator Matt Patricia said it was because “we were just trying to run some packages” and because of “some of the matchups,” but who’s kidding whom? The guy was a starter and played just under 98 percent of the defensive snaps this season. There’s more to this story, and, just a hunch, we’ll hear it this week.
PATRIOTS PASS RUSH. Still looking for it.
SMASH-MOUTH FOOTBALL. It took a serious hit. There were a Super Bowl-record 962 yards in offense … through the first three quarters … and 1,151 in all, including 613 by the losing team.
PATRIOTS’ SPECIAL TEAMS. Missed field goal. Missed extra point. Botched return on last kickoff. Atypical mistakes for a team that rarely makes them.
BUD LIGHT. Get ready for the mother of all bar tabs.