PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — We are just beginning the hype for Super Bowl 52. Of course, on February 4th the Eagles will take on the New England Patriots in Minneapolis.
There are many players that have played a huge role in getting the Eagles to this point and right near the top of that list is veteran defensive end Brandon Graham.
The 29-year-old Michigan product led the Eagles with 9.5 sacks.
“It’s still a little surreal because we’re not in the area yet, as far as Minnesota,” Graham says. “Once we get there I think it will hit me a little bit more.”
The Eagles success this season caught many by surprise, but Graham says he realized very early on that they had the ability to do big things.
“I think in training camp,” he says. “Training camp was very physical and it didn’t take a lot to get guys going for practice. That’s usually a hard thing to find because sometimes you’ve really got to get guys motivated to go to practice. What you usually do in practice shows up in games. I think we’ve got a lot of people with that mentality, knowing that they can’t relax in practice because on gameday, you’re not going to be as prepared as you would like sometimes in those moments where you’ve got to make a play. I think training camp was the deciding factor for me that we have something special.”
As for the match-up with the Patriots, a huge key for the Eagles will be getting pressure on Patriots quarterback Tom Brady with just the defensive line rushing. That’s a challenge that Graham says he relishes.
“I’m just going to go in practice and work a lot harder and make sure that I’m fully prepared,” he says. “If you can get to him with four, you’re on the right track because Tom Brady is the GOAT [Greatest Of All Time]. He’s the man and everybody understand you’ve got play him for 60 minutes, sometimes even longer depending if you go overtime. I feel like Tom Brady, you’ve got to get after him, get him rattled, because he’s the head of that team and everybody knows it.”
Eagles and the Patriots met in Super Bowl 39 back on February 6th, 2005. New England won 24-21.
The two teams last met in the regular season back in December of 2015 up in Foxboro with the Birds, then coached by Chip Kelly, pulling out a 35-28 win. It was a game that featured a Malcolm Jenkins 99-yard interception return for a touchdown, a Darren Sproles 83-yard punt return for a score and a 24-yard return of a blocked punt for a touchdown by Najee Goode.