Bucking Broncho: Graham Cracks the Pats
Philadelphia Eagles’ Brandon Graham, center, strips the ball from New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 52 football game Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018, in Minneapolis. The Eagles recovered the fumble. (AP Photo/Matt York)
With a field that had prior Super Bowl heroes Malcolm Butler, Tom Brady, James White, and James Harrison, Philadelphia Eagles Defensive End Brandon Graham cemented his status as a Super Bowl legend. Graham forced future Hall of Fame Quarterback Tom Brady to fumble the ball, which helped seal the first ever Super Bowl victory for the franchise.
Brandon Graham with the play of his life! pic.twitter.com/o3lAlRKR2L
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) February 5, 2018
“We said we needed a play,” Graham said in his post game interview. “If we got one more opportunity, we’re going to give everything we’ve got and I just so happened to get there.”
Graham’s play is one of the few in Super Bowl history that has stopped the Patriots from winning a super bowl and, most importantly, a Tom Brady led comeback. Prior to the game, the New York Giants were the only team to ever defeat the Brady era Patriots, but they never forced Brady to turn the ball over to lose the game.
The play has more importance in beating New England in a Super Bowl because he stopped Brady from winning the game. In both Giants Super Bowl’s Eli Manning and the offense had the ball at the end of the game and pretty much left Brady with no time to do anything.
In this Super Bowl, Brady had plenty of time, having two minutes and 21 seconds, a timeout and the two-minute warning to his advantage. Everything was looking the Patriots way until the sack.
Graham did the unheard of and stopped the “comeback kid” from doing what he does best.
The stage couldn’t have been bigger for Graham to do it either because Brady looked close to unstoppable in the game with 505 passing yards and three touchdowns. No other play in Super Bowl history has featured someone stopping arguably the greatest to ever play their sport in the final minutes from winning the big game.
Brady now has two historic fumble rulings, which were both caused by fellow Michigan Wolverines. The other is the infamous “Tuck Rule” back in 2001, where Charles Woodson forced Brady to fumble the ball, but it was overturned due to the tuck rule.
Tom Brady’s two most iconic, legacy-changing lost fumbles have both been to fellow Michigan Men. Charles Woodson and now Brandon Graham #SuperBowl pic.twitter.com/Fe5CRvC9Du
— Saucy Buffalo (@Greykwon) February 5, 2018
The Eagles failed to record a sack in the game before Graham’s and prior to the Super Bowl, only recorded four sacks in the postseason. This season Graham recorded over 47 tackles with 9.5 from sacks.
The sack wasn’t the only big play in the game, when Doug Pederson called a trick play on fourth-and-goal that led to Nick Foles catching a touchdown pass. This play has been regarded for changing the momentum of the game, but it did not seal the win for the Eagles. If you took away the touchdown the Eagles still would have won by a one point, but if you took away Graham’s strip sack the Eagles might not be hoisting the Lombardi trophy.
The strip sack should go down as the most historic play in this game, especially over the fourth-and-goal touchdown pass to Nick Foles in the second quarter. Yes that was a cool play, but when we remember this Super Bowl we won’t think of some trick play in the second quarter, we will think about the man who took the ball out of Brady’s hands.