The Philadelphia Eagles edged their first-ever Super Bowl title as they overcame the defending champions the New England Patriots 41-33 in a thrilling match at Minnesota’s US Bank Stadium.
An incredible 1000 yards of total offense was surpassed as both teams traded blow after blow, with the final touchdown coming via a dive by Eagles tight end Zach Ertz.
The result means New England quarterback Tom Brady, widely regarded as the greatest in his position of all time, is denied a sixth Super Bowl ring at the age of 40.
London-born Eagles running back Jay Ajayi meanwhile, wins his first Super Bowl after contributing 57 yards along the ground to aid Philadelphia’s remarkable victory.
The NFC Champion Eagles were underdogs heading into Sunday night’s game, which was played at the remarkable US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
But back-up Philadelphia quarterback Nick Foles, only starting since the injury to Carson Wentz towards the end of the season, threw 373 yards and three scores and even had a receiving touchdown in one of the craziest Super Bowls ever.
After both teams traded field goals to start, Foles found wide receiver Alshon Jeffery for a 34-yard hook up to score the first touchdown with an impressive grab at the end zone.
Ex-Patriot LeGarrette Blount’s 21-yard run extended the Eagles’ lead to 15-3 as Doug Pederson’s men took a commanding lead early on in Super Bowl 52.
New England responded with a Stephen Gostkowski field goal and James White’s rushing score, which came after Foles threw his only interception, to reduce the deficit.
But Philadelphia edged 10 points back in front with one of the most memorable plays in Super Bowl history.
On fourth and goal, Pederson called an incredible trick play. The ball was snapped directly to Corey Clement, who flipped over to Trey Burton, who in turn threw to Foles who had sneaked out to the end zone.
Foles hauled in his first career reception and the Eagles went up 22-12 heading in to the half-time break and a performance from Justin Timberlake.
New England had been trailing at half-time of last year’s Super Bowl and would fall 28-3 behind to the Atlanta Falcons then before completing a dramatic comeback in overtime.
There was more emphasis on throwing to Rob Gronkowski in the second half and the tight end, who caught just one pass in the opening two quarters, snagged Brady’s first touchdown toss.
The Eagles fired back midway through the third quarter. If the Foles touchdown was creative, this Clement grab was controversial. Foles dropped another inch-perfect pass into his receiver’s hands but the ball appeared to come loose before his second foot went out of bounds.
A touchdown was awarded on the field and, after consulting video replays, the score stood.
New England would not go away, though. An Eagles pass rush that many thought would cause Brady problems was ineffective and he went over 400 yards passing, in the third quarter, with a 26-yard strike to Chris Hogan.
Jake Elliott’s field goal made it 32-26 at the start of the fourth quarter but Brady looked unstoppable, unflappable and untroubled.
His third touchdown, this one to Gronkowski, was added to by a Gostkowski extra point that gave New England their first lead.
Philly’s failure to slow Brady resulted in them rolling the dice again on fourth down and Foles’ completion to Zach Ertz crucially continued the drive.
Foles continued to lead his team down the field and then into the end zone when he connected again with Ertz, who reached for the goal-line and saw the ball bobble up into the air as he went to ground.
At the end of a week where NFL commissioner Roger Goodell had said their catch-no catch rule needed a rethink, the crowd inside US Bank Stadium waited as a lengthy review process commenced.
Once again, the Philly touchdown stood, with Ertz adjudged to have held possession long enough to be deemed a runner, thus scoring the touchdown when he broke the plane.
A missed two-point conversion meant New England were five points adrift with just over two minutes remaining.
That looked like being plenty of time for Brady to engineer another comeback, only for Brandon Graham to strip-sack the veteran and rookie Derek Barnett to recover the fumble.
Elliott’s field goal meant New England needed to score eight points with just over a minute remaining and a failed Hail Mary to Gronkowski as time expired earned Philadelphia victory, despite 505 passing yards from Brady.