Super Bowl LII Takeaways: Offensive performance for the ages

Nick Foles was named Super Bowl MVP after he led the Philadelphia Eagles to a 41-33 win over the New England Patriots.

Super Bowl 52 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis was one to remember, given the record-breaking offensive display both teams put on.

The 1,152 total yards was the most in an NFL game ever. It was an exciting game that had more trick plays than it did punts. The Philadelphia Eagles were underdogs in all three post-season games and are now Super Bowl champs. After three attempts in a 52-year span the Eagles finally won the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Here are my takeaways from a memorable Super Bowl.

Hash marks

The officials realized before the game that the hash marks were missing on the field logos, so out came the paint brushes to correct the oversight.

P!nk spits out lozenge

Before she sang a beautiful rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” she first had to remove her throat lozenge, which was caught on camera of course.

Malcolm on the sideline

Super Bowl XLIX hero Malcolm Butler was crying during the pre-game ceremonies. It could have been because he was overcome with emotion. It most likely was related to the fact he knew he wasn’t going to start. Butler didn’t play a defensive snap Sunday, although he did contribute on special teams.

Butler started every game since Week 2 at the left cornerback spot. Eric Rowe took his spot in the lineup and struggled mightily in man coverage. Butler did have an illness earlier in the week and did not play well against Jacksonville in the AFC final but it was still puzzling to watch the New England Patriots get killed putting backup safeties on slot receivers. Butler will be an unrestricted free agent this off-season.

Brady Bobble

Two of the biggest plays in the games were balls slipping through Tom Brady’s hands. Before he fumbled late in the second half, he dropped a pass on a trick play in the first. Not sure if the PSI in the football is why Brady wasn’t able to come down with the catch, but it changed the momentum and gave Twitter a reason to react.

Foles the receiver

The decision of the night came on fourth and goal. With 38 seconds left in the first half and the Eagles up 15-12, head coach Doug Pederson came up with one of the gutsiest calls in Super Bowl history. Foles was the recipient of his first-ever reception for a TD at the end of a halfback direct snap, reverse, pass trick play that extended Eagles’ first-half lead. Pederson put the play called “Philly special” in the books last week for this specific game and it was successful all three times they ran it in preparation. Tight end Trey Burton was a former QB and threw the pass. Amazingly, Foles ran the same play in high school.

The Eagles played to win against the intimidating Patriots, unlike previous opponents, and the points that came from that early aggression were needed. Foles became the first quarterback to ever catch a touchdown in the Super Bowl.

JT at HT

The best part of Justin Timberlake’s halftime performance wasn’t the singing, which was in and out of key, but the set design and choreography. The performance started with Jimmy Fallon introducing Timberlake who started with “Filthy” while performing in a club underneath the stands.

While moving from multiple stages and sets throughout the stadium, Timberlake followed “Filthy” with “Senorita”, “SexyBack”, “Rock Your Body” “My Love” (without TI), “Cry Me A River”, “Suit A Tie”, and “Until The End Of Time” before transitioning to a touching and expected Prince tribute.

The broadcast cut to a wide, aerial shot from outside where they lit up not only U.S. Bank Stadium purple but the surrounding buildings forming Prince’s symbol on the ground. To finish, Justin then performed “Mirrors” and “Can’t Stop The Feeling”.

Timberlake was criticized however for including the 2002 hit single “Rock Your Body” in his set list – the song for the “wardrobe malfunction” that took place at the Super Bowl in 2004. Timberlake was also criticized for having no co-stars or surprise appearances with him during his set.

#SelfieKid

The meme of the night was a kid on his phone trying to get a selfie with Timberlake as he finished his performance embedded in the crowd. The fact that the kid had his phone out and wasn’t just enjoying the concert is a commentary on live-event consumption and made for some extremely funny tweets.

Catch or no catch

Two huge controversial calls went Philadelphia’s way. A pair of great touchdown catches were rightly upheld when it may have looked like the receiver didn’t not survive contact with the ground or remain inbounds without having the ball move. The calls were correct but NFL catches had been reversed on plays that looked similar.

No Tuck Rule

With the game on the line the Eagles did what the New York Giants were so successful doing with their “NASCAR” defensive line front when beating the Patriots in the Super Bowl twice. Defensive co-ordinator Jim Schwartz took an outside pass rusher in Brandon Graham and put him inside on an overmatched guard Shaq Mason. It resulted in a strip sack and Brady couldn’t tuck and get forward fast enough. Derek Barnett recovered the fumble. It was Philadelphia’s first sack of the game and New England’s first turnover of the game. The Eagles had nine QB hits on Brady, the most on the league MVP all year.

Lights out offence

Who said defence wins championships? This game was an offensive clinic. Brady threw for 505 yards, the most ever in a post-season game. The 33 points New England scored is the most ever for a Super Bowl loser. Nick Foles threw for 373 yards and three touchdowns on the way to a Super Bowl MVP. That’s the third-most passing yards of a Super Bowl-winning QB of ever.

Gronk hanging it up?

The most surprising storyline was not Brady or Bill Belichick retirement rumours but Rob Gronkowski possibly calling it quits at the age of 28. The speculation is due to the fact that Gronk has had nine surgeries since 2009 and did suffer a concussion in the AFC championship. But the five-time Pro Bowler, four-time All-Pro and two-time Super Bowl champion is still playing at a high level, grabbing nine catches for 116 yards and two TDs in the Super Bowl. In 2017, Gronk had 69 catches for 1,084 yards and eight touchdowns, cementing his place as the greatest pass-receiving tight end of all time.

Kevin Hart denied

It’s been a tough year for the comedian. The public embarrassment got worse Sunday as the Philadelphia native was shown being denied entrance to the stage to celebrate his beloved Eagles championship. An intoxicated Hart later had to cut an interview on NFL Network short after mistakenly swearing on live TV.

Trust the process

The City of Brotherly Love went crazy as soon as the Eagles won a title for Philadelphia for the first time since the Phillies won the World Series in 2008.

Joel Embiid crashed the party and a live TV hit amongst the pandemonium in the Philly streets as he celebrated the Eagles’ first title.

Free Meek

The Eagles took the field and celebrated to Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill and his song “Dreams And Nightmares” all year. Meek might be locked up in jail right now, but his music still has a presence at the Super Bowl as the Eagles partied hard to him in the locker room.

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.