THE TRANSATLANTIC MAGAZINE
NFL Postseason review and Super Bowl LII preview
Patriots to take on Eagles in Super Bowl shock
By Gary Jordan
Sometimes, not always, each generation puts forward something that you just have to step back and admire. This can come in many forms in life. Some cast a light that changes the course of history. Such is the greatness we've witnessed over the last decade or so that the NFL may have to amend its rules slightly. After all, in an era of so called parity, how is one man able to defy the odds and take his team – a team that has been broken up and reassembled more than a child's Lego set – to the summit?
Tom Brady. The very name will make men and women shout with euphoric praise or turn them green with envy. Once more he has stolen headlines and broken dreams. This time, in the AFC Championship Game, it was the Jacksonville Jaguars that were dealt a late heartbreak after another come-from-behind win for New England. This one was nowhere near close to the card Brady and his Patriots dealt Atlanta in last year's Super Bowl. Nevertheless, its impact was just as profound.
The Jaguars were the team that many thought would be the end of the Patriots. The young, brash team are on the up, and this was to be their time. Indeed, after a thrilling win in Pittsburgh a week previous, it looked like they were this year's team of destiny. Up 10 points heading into the last quarter in Foxboro and playing against the Patriots with a confidence that was on a new level for their franchise, the Jags were making plans for Minnesota, home of this year's Super Bowl.
You don't give #12 of New England that much time. Even if you do have one of the fiercest defences in football. The Jaguars' time will come. Just not this year. Their road has been long and great - from 3-13 in 2016 they topped their division, won London hearts again, and ploughed into the playoffs. Beating Buffalo in the Wild Card, in a game where only 13 points were scored, they ran riot in Pittsburgh and proved they could win a shootout, a game which featured 87 points.
It's been a postseason where teams peaked too early. Tennessee shocked Kansas City, a team that always flatters to deceive come January, by overhauling a 21-3 deficit to win by a point. The Titans went on to face the Patriots, only to get rolled 35-14. In the NFC, New Orleans squeezed past Carolina 31-26, only to lose to the most remarkable play of this postseason so far - the Minnesota Vikings, were down and out until a 61-yard pass play on the final play of the game saw them through to their Conference title game. Atlanta were trying to erase the memory of last year's season closer. They undid the Rams in Los Angeles 26-13, hitting their peak, then tumbled to a Eagles team that despite being seeded one were playing the underdog role. The Eagles won 15-10 to set up a showdown with the Vikings.
Just as the Jaguars were playing their destiny card, after their incredulous finish the Vikings were etching their name on the Lombardi Trophy when Philadelphia suddenly remembered that they were a team that steamrolled through the opening ten weeks of the season and ran away from their opponents 38-7.
So, with 30 teams now sat at home or on vacation, we're down to the final two. Two franchises that outside of their home cities don't have much love, one because of their uncanny knack of winning, the other, well ...they're just not liked.
Super Bowl 52 will make history in one way or another. The Eagles chasing their first Super Bowl win, the Patriots are after number six.
The Eagles have been playing as the underdog the past few weeks, and that won't change now. Can they fly again? Maybe.
Just don't forget there's a certain greatness on the opposite sideline.