Rob Issa, FISM News
“It’s a Philly Thing” vs. “Chiefs Kingdom.”
The Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs arrived in Arizona on Sunday to continue preparations for Super Bowl LVII next Sunday.
The Chiefs landed first and their airplane pilot held a “Chiefs Kingdom” flag out of the window while players, coaches, and staff walked off the plane and headed toward the runway.
When the Eagles arrived about an hour later, their pilot held up an “It’s a Philly Thing” flag while players and coaches walked toward the team buses.
The stage is set. The game is getting closer. First, the gamesmanship and the media circus.
Super Bowl Opening Night kicks off the week of festivities Monday night as both teams are set to meet the media in a circus-like atmosphere. It’ll be the first time the event is held in three years since before the pandemic.
Both teams are scheduled to hit the practices field Monday with the Chiefs going to Arizona State’s football facilities and the Eagles using the NFL Cardinals’ practice facility.
The game will feature Chiefs coach Andy Reid going against the team that gave him his first head coaching job in the NFL. Reid has more wins than any coach in Eagles history.
Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce and Eagles center Jason Kelce will become the first set of brothers to play against each other in the Super Bowl. The Harbaugh brothers, John and Jim, coached against each other previously.
And, it’s a matchup between two QBs — Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes and Philadelphia’s Jalen Hurts — who are both finalists for NFL Most Valuable Player and Offensive Player of the Year.
“Obviously they’ve been really good for a long time, great organization,” Eagles second-year coach Nick Sirianni said. “Coach Reid is a great coach, and Patrick Mahomes is one of the best players in the world, Travis Kelce, Chris Jones. They have good players everywhere and really good coaching.”
While the Super Bowl teams traveled on Sunday, the first-ever Pro Bowl Games flag football matchup featuring the AFC and NFC all-stars took place in Las Vegas.
The league changed the Pro Bowl format this season, eliminating the game and replacing it with a week of skills competitions and a flag football game.
Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins threw three TD passes to lead the NFC to a 35-33 comeback win over the AFC. He completed 15 of 19 passes for 150 yards.
Eli Manning, who coached the NFC while his older brother Peyton coached the AFC, waited until late in the game to use Cousins.
“It’s hard to wait around that long to play, but I appreciate Eli letting me be the third guy and fun to go in there and be the closer,” Cousins said. “You’re kind of drawing stuff up in the dirt. It’s not as defined of a plan, so some of our guys were coming into the huddle saying, ‘Hey, I think if we did this.’ You try to listen to them and incorporate it. So it was fun, but also a little hectic.”
Players enjoyed the new Pro Bowl format.
“I thought it was awesome,” 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey said. “Guys had fun. It got intense there at the end.”
The Manning brothers both won two Super Bowls during their careers, so Eli gained bragging rights with the coaching victory.
“I am the greatest coach of the Mannings,” Eli joked in a message on the NFL’s Twitter account. “I am so much better at coaching than Peyton, it’s unbelievable.”
Dallas Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs intercepted his brother in the game to get some bragging rights of his own. Trevon picked a pass off a trick play from Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs.
The NFL hoped to avoid injuries, but Browns star defensive end Myles Garrett dislocated a toe in a skills challenge. X-rays on Garrett’s toe were negative.