By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Any time the Patriots win the Super Bowl, the NFL Films mic’d up specials that accompany the victory are always celebrated around New England.
When the Patriots lose the Super Bowl? Not so much.
We understand that not everyone is completely jazzed to tune in to an hour-long Sound FX special on a heartbreaking loss, but there are always fascinating nuggets to be found in such features.
–There was not much of anything from Bill Belichick. Nothing about Malcolm Butler, not much about the defensive strategy overall, and not much about any decision-making throughout the game.
At one point, Belichick said to defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, “We’re not getting enough pressure out of a four-man rush. So I think just, let it go, and see if we can get some pressure on and see if few can force a bad play.” That didn’t really work.
During the replay review of Corey Clement’s touchdown, Belichick was shown talking to officials, basically expressing some hope that perhaps both feet didn’t get down after Clement had gained control. But it wasn’t even a halfhearted argument. It was more like a quarterhearted wish.
–The entire hour-long special didn’t mention Malcolm Butler at all, which is strange, considering it was a major storyline from the game. The show included tons of audio clips from both radio broadcasts, and surely it came up on The Sports Hub’s broadcast. Alas, it was not included. Butler’s only appearance came when he was seen trotting off the field past a celebrating Malcolm Jenkins.
–On the replay reviews, Sound FX actually provided some pretty cool footage of referee Gene Steratore communicating with (presumably) Alberto Riveron. On the Clement touchdown, Steratore told (presumably) Riveron via headset communication, “That’s all control. That’s all control, baby. … I agree with you 100 percent. Good job, man.”
After the touchdown was upheld, Steratore explained to another on-field official, “It sticks here and then it goes there, but he never loses control. Is there a little ball movement? Yes. But that does not deem loss of control. You know? It goes from here, sticks on the forearm, right back to the hand, touchdown.”
During the review on Zach Ertz’s touchdown (a patently absurd waste of time), LeGarrette Blount expressed some frustration that the game was being delayed for such an unnecessary review.
“That’s a touchdown,” Blount said. “Come on, man. Y’all ain’t gotta review everything we do.”
–Also of note after the Clement touchdown: Nick Foles got back to the sideline and told Doug Pederson, “Not how we drew it up, but it worked.”
On that play, it might have called for Clement to run an out route from the backfield. But linebacker Marquis Flowers was in position to cover such a route. Instead, Clement put on the afterburners and streaked up the left seam, throwing his hand up. Foles threw an absolutely picture-perfect ball over Flowers and Devin McCourty for the touchdown.
–Eagles safety, captain, and vocal leader Malcolm Jenkins was adamant throughout the game that his team would just need to make one stop. Though his defense was getting shredded by Tom Brady all night, he remained insistent.
After Chris Hogan scored to cut Philly’s lead to 29-26, Jenkins told his teammates: “Hey, we good. We’re just searching for one stop. That’s it. Don’t let it frustrate you. We’re searching for one stop.”
He repeated it again when the Eagles kicked a field goal to go up 32-26. And after Zach Ertz scored a touchdown to give the Eagles a 38-33 lead, Jenkins again reiterated the message.
“Hey. Look where we at, bro. Look where we at. We’re gonna need one stop, man,” he said. “It ain’t gotta be pretty. We searching for one stop. Let’s go. We searching for one stop.”
Jenkins told a teammate before the fateful drive on which Brandon Graham stripped the ball from Brady, “See, the funny thing is, somebody on defense is about to be a superhero. Whoever makes the play. Somebody gonna be a hero.”
Jenkins was ultimately proven correct. It was a grisly performance from the Philly defense. But in the critical moment of the game, it was Philly’s D that secured the win with a high-effort, all-out play.
–Also on the money was Philly defensive line coach Chris Wilson. He told his players on the sideline, “We have to have more physical rushers. We have to have more power rushers. Or this guy is going to have all day to [expletive] throw the ball, and he’s gonna wear our ass out. I’m just telling you.”
Graham ended up forcing the game-changing fumble on a pure power rush, a play where he decided there was nothing Shaq Mason could do to slow him down.
–Jenkins also kept confidence in his team, even when the Patriots were driving for the go-ahead touchdown.
“One play at a time, bro. Just looking for a stop,” Jenkins said. “Can’t get frustrated in the process, bro.”
–The mechanics of how the Eagles decided to go for it on fourth-and-goal and run their trick play to Foles was fascinating.
Dion Lewis, on the Patriots’ sideline, said to James White: “That’s a no-brainer. He ain’t gonna go for it.” —
Scott Zolak, on the Patriots’ radio broadcast, said, “You gotta take three here. … Right?”
Merrill Reese, on the Eagles’ radio broadcast, said, “I would feel better at this point taking the three points. I think that it’s a risk, and if you make it, it’s great. But if you don’t make it, it’s a big momentum swing.”
Everybody had doubts about going for it. Everybody but Pederson.
Immediately after the third-down incompletion, Pederson said, “We’re going for it right here.”
He called timeout. Foles came to the sideline. The two had a meeting. It was very brief.
Foles: “You want Philly Philly?”
Pederson (after a beat): “Yeah, let’s do it.”
Foles trotted to the huddle and told his teammates, “Philly Special. Philly Special. Ready?”
The Eagles ran the play to perfection, with Foles running wide open in the right flat for the touchdown reception.
Foles said on the bench that when he saw the Patriots lined up in a wide-9, his eyes lit up, knowing he’d be open.
The Patriots tipped their caps.
“They hit us with our sh–,” Lewis lamented. “It’s like Madden, for real. Everybody’s breaking hella big plays.”
McCourty said to Patrick Chung, “That was a good play.” On the bench, Chung told Eric Rowe, “It’s a good play. They drew it up good. It’s all right. We’re only down 10 points with another half to go, bro. We’re straight.”
Jenkins, for his part, couldn’t believe the stones of his head coach.
“They brought it out in the Super Bowl!” he shouted.
–The footage showed an aspect of Brady’s dropped pass that might have been overlooked during the game. On the play that knocked Brandin Cooks out of the game, Brady absorbed a huge shot to the ribcage from a blitzing Nigel Bradham. While everyone was focused on Cooks, Brady grabbed at his ribs and then bent over in pain.
It was just three plays later when Brady was unable to snare a high pass above his head, thrown by Danny Amendola. Perhaps the rib pain contributed when he extended those arms above his head.
While the Patriots were disappointed that Brady couldn’t make the catch, so was Malcolm Jenkins.
“Come on, Tom!” Jenkins yelled while smacking Brady’s backside. “Come on, Tom!”
–The timing of certain clips is always unclear on these shows, but prior to the hit on Cooks, Jenkins was shown talking to himself, “Here you go 2-7. Etch your name in stone right now.”
–The pregame pump-up speeches were both delivered by safeties. For the Eagles, it was Jenkins.
“Y’all wanne be world champs? Y’all wanna be world champs?” Jenkins asked his teammates. “Everything you got for 60 minutes. That’s all that’s standing between you and immortality. We’ve been the best team in this league from start to finish. They’re just finding out. So show the whole world today, man.”
For the Patriots, it was McCourty.
“This is the moment,” he said. “Think about everybody who busted their butt for you to get here, who dug into you. Family, mothers, fathers, coaches, teachers — take a moment. Let them live through you tonight! I pray that they see our journey, our brotherhood, our love for one another, fellas. I love y’all!”
–Stephen Gostkowski missed a PAT and a field goal. The missed field goal wasn’t really his fault, as a bad snap disrupted the entire timing of the kick. But early on, Pederson noticed that Gostkowski’s first successful field goal — a short 26-yarder — was not perfect.
“Wow. He barely got that in there,” Pederson remarked while watching a replay on the sideline. (Spygate!)
–Speaking of kickers, rookie Jake Elliott missed a PAT early, too. Foles came over to the 23-year-old on the bench and confidently told him, “We’re fine, bro. We’re going to give you more opportunities, dawg. We’ll get you a bunch of them.”
Elliott ended up being on the money with a 46-yarder in the final minutes to stretch the lead to eight.
–Chris Long has been teammates with Tom Brady and won a Super Bowl with him, but that doesn’t mean he’s bowing at the altar of Brady. After Foles’ touchdown pass to Alshon Jeffery, Long greeted Foles on the sideline thusly: “Hey what’s up GOAT? What’s up GOAT? What’s up GOAT?”
–After LeGarrette Blount’s 21-yard touchdown run gave the Eagles a 15-3 lead, Zolak said on the Patriots’ broadcast, “The Eagles are taking it to you from a game-plan standpoint.”
–The mics and cameras picked up Johnson Bademosi going from person to person in the defensive huddle. He told each of them, “Hey let’s make a play. Let’s make a play.” The footage then showed Bademosi wrapping up and then letting go of Nelson Agholor on a third-and-6, a missed tackle that allowed an Eagles drive to continue. That drive ended with a touchdown.
–After the Patriots took a 33-32 lead, Ertz and Foles talked briefly on the sideline.
Ertz: “They cannot stop us.”
Foles: “No they can’t.”
Foles then connected with Ertz, who was in man coverage against McCourty, for the touchdown which put the game-winning points on the board for Philly.
–On that game-winning drive, Pederson again decided to go for it on a fourth-and-1. This time, his team had the ball at its own 45-yard line. A failure in that spot, while trailing, with under six minutes to play, and the game is essentially lost. But that wasn’t on Pederson’s mind.
“Let’s go for it right here,” he said calmly.
After Foles completed a 2-yard pass to Ertz, Pederson didn’t celebrate, shout, or even react.
“First down,” he said. “All right, here we go.”
We didn’t know how the second-year head coach would react in his Super Bowl moment. Suffice it to say, he was perfect.
–That game-winning drive took 7:01 off the clock, but it could have taken even more. Agholor ran out of bounds with 2:43 left. Foles threw incomplete out of the end zone with 2:30 left. Everyone in the world thought the Eagles were nuts for not draining as much clock as possible and forcing New England to use all of its timeouts. That group included Jenkins.
“We need to eat up this clock,” Jenkins said during the drive.
But Foles and Pederson were confident they could score a touchdown the way they wanted to score a touchdown.
Foles: “What’s your thought process right now?”
Pederson: “All right, we’re gonna run it. We’re scoring a touchdown. We’re going to score a touchdown.”
They did run it once, but then went to the air. Foles told the huddle, “Hey, let’s put this thing in the end zone. Let’s put it in the end zone. Execute.”
He then promptly hit Ertz for the touchdown. The Eagles had no fear whatsoever of the New England defense.
–In a funny pregame clip, Malcolm Jenkins saw Steph Curry wearing a red sweatshirt and standing among Patriots fans. Even though Curry was rooting for the Eagles, he looked like a Patriots fan in that moment.
“I knew I ain’t like Steph Curry,” Jenkins said to teammates. “That’s your boy. Front-runner.”
–Belichick and Pederson had a friendly pregame chat … though Bill looked like he wanted it to end as soon as it began.
–Amendola greeted Pederson before the game, too. Pederson was a quality control coach with the Eagles when Amendola was briefly on the team in 2009.
“You guys got a lot of ballers,” Amendola told the Eagles’ coach.
–A lot was made of some grand officiating conspiracy after the AFC Championship Game because referee Clete Blakeman congratulated Brady. But the footage from the Super Bowl provided a glimpse into the relationship that exists between referees and quarterbacks. It’s something that most football viewers are aware of but can get lost when the internet runs wild with a conspiracy.
Prior to the game, Steratore talked to both Foles and Brady. He promised both of them that he’d protect them all day. He told Foles, “Have the game of your life.” He told Brady, “Have another one of those games.”
–In a clip that showed the brotherhood that does exist within positional groups, a crying LeGarrette Blount shared an embrace with former teammate Brandon Bolden as the green and white confetti rained down upon them.
“You deserve it,” Bolden said.
“Appreciate it, bro,” said Blount, with a tear streaming down his face.