The confetti has long been swept away and the planes are departing Minneapolis. What's left the morning (afternoon...) after Super Bowl LII?
MINNEAPOLIS — A few hours removed from the Super Bowl, it’s still unbelievable. The scenes: Philadelphia Eagles passing around a $250 bottle of Johnny Walker Blue, buzzing champagne corks across the room. The Patriots in stunned silence, hugging coaches and close friends, trudging along the walkway behind a black curtain to the bus.
In a parallel world, the city of Philadelphia was (literally) burning. People fell through awnings and jumped off light poles. They are just the third team in NFL history to sweep the playoffs as an underdog in each round, which made the Brandon Graham strip sack of Tom Brady on New England’s final (realistic) chance to save the game so much sweeter.
General manager Howie Roseman and head coach Doug Pederson have now created “the model.” Roseman’s expert handling of a steadily-rising salary cap and Pederson’s pitch-perfect situational aggression were on display in front of the world Sunday. Now, every owner looking for a head coach or personnel executive is going to point to the television and say “get me whatever that is.”
Forgive us for the late send today, but Sunday was absolutely wild. Part of our team caught an Uber at 2:05 a.m. central time from South 4th Street in Minneapolis with the other half not far behind. We’re going to change up the format just a little bit to highlight all the incredible journalism done by the Sports Illustrated team on deadline and throughout the week.
Thanks to everyone who continues to read, interact and send along their thoughts via Talkback and Twitter. Our staff tweet-up at the Fulton Brewery was an energizing moment—hearing from our readers (and meeting some Morning Huddle subscribers!) was undoubtedly the best part.
Now, on to the good stuff.
A brief programming note: With the NFL season in the books, The Morning Huddle will be published three days a week, starting this week. You can still expect the same newsy content delivered to your inbox first thing in the morning.
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SUPER BOWL COVERAGE
1. The Monday Morning Quarterback, by Peter King: The boss gets next to Doug Pederson amid the locker room madness and gets him to explain why he’s the best playcaller in football right now.
2. How benching Malcolm Butler cost the Patriots, by Andy Benoit: Benoit gets to the heart of how the Eagles attacked New England. For those who love X’s and O’s, there’s not going to be a better magnifying glass-look at last night’s game.
3. Foles’ Gold: Jenny Vrentas kills it on deadline with a great game story. Imagine the gargantuan task of bottling everything that happened on Sunday into one piece. She makes it look easy here.
4. Tim Rohan helps the citizens of Philadelphia burn the city down (kidding). But he does float around with the wildest fan base in football, and the results are excellent.
5. Albert Breer wraps up the NFL season. Amid a year where the league struggled with injury woes, the handling of social justice issues and their own infighting, they showed they can still deliver a product that captivates the country like nothing else.
6. Jonathan Jones follows Tom Brady and paints a vivid picture of his quiet moments after the loss.
7. Michael Rosenberg on the fearless Eagles. He boils down their season in a way no one else can: These Eagles are a blend of advanced thinking and basic values. They go for it on fourth down and practice hard, and they show Foles that they trust him by letting him rip the ball against a dynasty. Long dismissed any magic formula, saying “The reason we won is we’ve got good people, unselfish people, and we’ve got really good players.”
8. Conor Orr (Editor’s note: Yes, the author of today’s newsletter!) on the Patriots’ funeral. Two more coordinators gone, and a soon to be 66-year-old Bill Belichick starts over again. If this is it for the Patriot dynasty, the sights, sounds and smells of its final minutes.
TO COME: Greg Bishop and Ben Baskin deliver their Super Bowl magnum opus that will be on The MMQB tomorrow morning, a must-read that took weeks to report.
WHAT YOU MISSED
The MMQB had writers in Minneapolis, Fargo, Browerville, Texas and Mobile. Here’s what they came up with:
Jenny Vrentas from North Dakota, where Fargo is still Wentzland … Robert Klemko from Austin, where a high-school-aged Nick Foles learned to be a leader … Kalyn Kahler from a little town in Minnesota with Tom Brady ties ... Jonathan Jones from Conventry Township, Ohio, where James Harrison’s controversial high school days began … Tim Rohan on Mike Trout, the ultimate Eagles fan … Jones in Charlottesville, where Chris Long worked to help heal the scars of an ugly incident last year … Vrentas at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute to try and pass one of Matt Patricia’s celestial mechanics class … Greg Bishop chats with George R.R. Martin about dynasty building … Andy Benoit is with the legendary Jerry Kramer when he gets the Hall of Fame knock …We take a look at the Craigslist Crazies who would do anything for a Super Bowl ticket … the warring Eagles and Vikings fans at the Mall of America … And what the Patriots looked like before the dynasty, way back in 2000.
But wait: There’s so much more that I’m probably missing. You can throw a dart at SI.com/NFL blindfolded and hit a great story.
ALSO: Robert Klemko is already embedded with the draft’s most interesting prospect, Baker Mayfield. Here’s one chapter in what promises to be a revealing saga.
This football season gave us some incredible moments, but also shined a light on the division that exists within our own country. Something I’ll be working on this spring and summer: Take that little voice in the back of my head – the one that is coming up with what I’m going to say while the other person is still talking—and tell it to shut up. It’s time to just listen.