The NFL has long been a copycat league. Teams not taking part in the Super Bowl take time to evaluate the Super Bowl winner’s roster and system to see if they can learn anything that may help them. They do things like assess how the winner got their players, what facet of the game they are best at, and what are the team’s strengths and weaknesses. Then they pick and choose what part of the winner’s formula they want to attempt to incorporate into their system.
If I was involved in these evaluations, here are a few items I took away from the Philadelphia Eagles 41-33 Super Bowl victory over the New England Patriots.
If I honestly thought I had a Super Bowl caliber team, I would invest heavily in a backup quarterback. This investment is basically an insurance policy that you can still compete at a high level in the event your starting quarterback goes down with an injury.
Case in point. Nick Foles of the Eagles. Foles stepped in for the injured Carson Wentz late in the regular season and Philly did not miss a beat while sweeping through the playoffs and Super Bowl. Foles’ stat lines from the NFC Championship Game (26 for 33, 352 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INT, 141.4 passer rating) and Super Bowl (28 for 43, 373 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT, 106.1 passer rating) are historical type numbers.
If you have a few minutes, run down the list of backup quarterbacks within the NFL. Ask yourself if ANY of them could lead any team to a Super Bowl victory. I doubt if you felt good about any of them.
Foles could easily start for close to a dozen NFL teams and be an upgrade. Lesson here, invest in your backup quarterback. Spend the money. The Eagles wisely committed money to sign someone with starter skills to be their backup and it paid off in a Super Bowl.
With the Minnesota Vikings also finding success in a backup quarterback Case Keenum, we could see more teams commit more money and resources to backup quarterback spot.
I am also becoming more and more convinced you are not going to win in the NFL if you do not have solid play on your offensive and defensive fronts. Everyone has skill players who can make plays. But not everyone has an offensive line who can protect their quarterback or a defensive front that disrupts opposing quarterbacks. Philadelphia had both. And they used plenty of high draft picks to make sure they were strong up front.
It came full circle for the Eagles against the Patriots. Foles was provided a clean pocket by his offensive line while picking the New England defense apart and the Philadelphia defense sealed the win with a sack and fumble recovery late by the defensive front.
Wise free agent signings also played a large part in the Eagles title. Philly added several players, and not all were high profile players. WR Alshon Jeffery, RB LeGarrette Blount and safeties Rodney McLeod and Malcolm Jenkins were key additions who all came up big in Super Bowl 52.
Like I said, it is a copycat league. I fully expect to see franchises attempt to emulate Philadelphia. At least until the Super Bowl 53 is over.
Images: Nick Foles; Case Keenum