With the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl for the second consecutive year, the third time in four years and Tom Brady striving for his sixth ring — you can see why some people are sick of seeing them in the biggest game of the year.
A recent Twitter map showed that every state except those in New England and North Dakota are rooting for the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII this Sunday, but ESPN’s Trey Wingo told us why real football devotees shouldn’t be suffering from “Patriots Fatigue.”
“It is fair to say that if you are not a fan of the Patriots, then you are kind of sick of the Patriots — ‘Patriots Fatigue’ is what we are calling it — but I want people to appreciate what they are doing because it will never happen again,” the “NFL Live” and “Golic and Wingo” host told TheWrap.
“We saw the same coach and quarterback [Brady and Bill Belichick] win a Super Bowl after the 2001 season, and now 16 seasons later, we are talking about this happening again,” he marveled. “It is an insane thing. Mike Vrabel was just named the head coach of the Tennessee Titans. The last time that the Patriots played the Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX, Vrabel was a linebacker for the Patriots and caught a touchdown pass from Tom Brady.
“He is now a head coach and Tom Brady is still doing his thing … 13 years later. It is an amazing thing that they’ve managed to have this longevity — and it will never happen again, ever,” he said.
Belichick and Brady are heading to their eighth Super Bowl together (they’ve won five and lost two to the New York Giants), while no other coach-quarterback combo has ever played in more than four together. “That’s what I want people to appreciate,” Wingo added.
Despite coming close on numerous occasions, including a 24-21 defeat in Super Bowl XXXIX, the Eagles haven’t won an NFL championship since 1960 (the first Super Bowl didn’t place until 1967).
“They’re 0-2 and are trying to avoid going 0-3,” Wingo said of the NFC champions. “That place [U.S. Bank Stadium] is going to go nuts if they somehow have the secret sauce to beat the Patriots!
“They have become like their city. Philadelphia always has a chip on its shoulder — it is not New York, Chicago or L.A., so the fans have that resentment and edge. And as soon as Carson Wentz went down [the starting QB tore his ACL Week 14 ], no one gave them a chance so they used it to their advantage,” Wingo continued.
“They have those dog masks they always wear, which the fans love — this Eagles team really embodies the spirit of Philadelphia and I think that is very cool,” he added.
Las Vegas currently has the Patriots winning by at least four points, and while Wingo says there’s a good reason New England is favored, there is a chance that the Eagles can see their drought come to an end.
“The one thing that I can say is that if you are going to beat these Patriots, you have to BEAT them,” Wingo said. “You can’t let them off the hook, 28-3 was real last year, and somehow they found a way to worm back into that one,” he added, referring to the Patriots’ infamous and historic comeback against the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI.
“You can beat them but you have to step on their throats, you have to go for the kill shot,” he went on to say. “If you give them a chance, they will break your heart every time.
“Every single one of these Pats Super Bowl wins has been a one-score game, they haven’t blown anyone out,” he said. For the record, they beat the St. Louis Rams 20-17 in 2001; the Panthers 32-29 in 2003; the Eagles 24-21 in 2005; the Seahawks 28-24 in 2014; and the Falcons 34-28 in 2017.
While Wingo is saving his Super Bowl LII prediction for Friday’s edition of “NFL Live,” he did tell us that if the Eagles are going to win, “one of their key role players is going to have to step up. I can promise you that whoever the Patriots believe are the two best weapons for the Eagles’ offense, they are not going to do it — it’s going to be your third receiver or your second running back who is going to have to have the big game.
“Bill’s [Belichick] favorite line is ‘we can beat you a lot of different ways.’ There was a game last year when Brady was the leading rusher — you never get that!” Wingo marveled. “Bill’s whole thing is that whatever you’re expecting, you’re not going to get.”
As for what you can expect from Wingo in Minneapolis this week? The ESPN veteran will be juggling duties from the “Golic and Wingo” set at Mall of America and the “NFL Live” base near U.S. Bank Stadium.
With temperatures set to drop below zero, Wingo said he’s most excited about the “gerbil tunnels” that connect buildings downtown so you don’t have to go outside. “We will be literally be able to go from the hotel to the ‘NFL Live’ set through the gerbil tunnels,” he explained.
But even if the game-time temperature of 11 degrees doesn’t deter the Connecticut native. “This will be my 18th Super Bowl and it is still fun — it’s America’s national holiday that isn’t a national holiday and is emblematic of the country,” he said. “It is big, it is loud, it is a little over the top but also a helluva lot of fun.”
While NBC is airing the actual Super Bowl this year, “We [ESPN] always feel like we are a mighty invading army, we have a lot of shows and a lot of things that we do. I think we are proud of that and we like to put our stamp on it. Some cable outlets don’t go unless it is their year — but we make it a commitment and understand that this is America’s single biggest sporting event of the year and we want to do it right.”
See details of Wingo’s ESPN Super Bowl LII schedule below.
“NFL Live”: Trey Wingo (Wed, Thu) and Suzy Kolber (Fri) will host the 90-minute show from the IDS Center Crystal Court with a combination of NFL analysts, including: Super Bowl champions Tedy Bruschi and Ryan Clark Super Bowl XL quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, and NFL In Chris Mortensen Louis Riddick Adam Schefter
“Golic and Wingo” (Wed-Fri from 6-10 a.m. ET, ESPN Radio and ESPN2): Mike Golic, Trey Wingo and Mike Golic Jr. – hosts of ESPN Radio’s new national morning show – will be live from the Hard Rock Cafe at Mall of America. Planned guests include current NFL stars Deshaun Watson, Luke Kuechly, Marcus Mariota and Travis Kelce; New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton; and Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith.