Wednesday, January 24, 2018

American Football: Nick Foles is Carson Wentz? Super Bowl here we come.

The NFC Conference Championship was the last playoff game before the Super Bowl.  It was exciting, but it was also strange and totally unexpected.  The underdogs came through in a big way, and the only people who were happy with the result were the bookies and the denizens of Philadelphia - oh and anyone who loves a great game of gridiron.

The Philadelphia Eagles were the best team this season, and the best chance to defeat the New England Patriots at the Super Bowl.  But then star quarterback Carson Wentz was injured for the rest of the season.  Roll on up second stringer Nick Foles, and everyone expected the Wentzless Eagles to die in the dust.  But they didn't.

Instead, the NFC Championship was an exciting game, where Foles - after an indifferent string of games - seemed to channel Carson Wentz.  How could this be?

Credit must be given to the Eagles coach Doug Pederson.  The team he built was strong - as strong as you like - but nothing can help you if you have an average quarterback.  When Foles took over, he seemed pretty average.  But Pederson must have done some serious work on him: in this last playoff game, Foles played like Carson Wentz incarnated.  Seriously.  Earlier this season I remember seeing Wentz lose the pocket, move around and throw the ball as he was being sacked - and still connect with his receiver.  A magnificent effort.  And in the process of winning the Eagles the Championship game and the Super Bowl berth, Foles did exactly the same thing under great pressure.

Of course, the Patriots have been the team to beat for over fifteen years.  Their run must come to an end, but they still have a sterling coach  in Bill Bellichick, an effective and game-changing quarterback in Tom Brady, and an absolutely solid roster throughout their offense, defense and special teams.

Foles, er...

Will Foles pull off the unexpected again, at the Super Bowl?  The odds are against him.  And the pressure, too: the Super Bowl is a whole different level of game, with a supercharged crowd and the eyes of America (and a few other places) watching for another Patriots comeback if the Eagles even pull ahead at all.

Look out for an exciting, explosive Super Bowl.


bazza said...

American football was always a mystery to me but last week a friend was kind enough to explain, in detail, how it all works.
And now it all makes sense. The previous explanation I had didn't help much. My cousin's American husband said to me things like ".....and this guy here tries to put that guy there into hospital"!
CLICK HERE for Bazza’s rhadamanthine Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

S Simmonds said...

American football is mainly about short, explosive plays. (And injuries... most of which you won't see, because they're paid millions to just suck it up.)

Some teams are more exciting to watch, and the Philadelphia Eagles are one of those. Strike me down, but I don't find the Patriots quite as exciting - however, they're very good, very efficient, and these days they've been the benchmark against which all other teams are judged.

It's worth googling examples of the best passing plays of these current quarterbacks:
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons - and some incredible plays to wide receiver Julio Jones
Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers
Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints