We all know the New England Patriots will play the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII, but how did those two teams get here? Hey, it’s been almost five months, so maybe you don’t remember everything, you were following other teams, or you like to swoop in around Super Bowl time.
In case you haven’t been paying attention or just need a refresher, here’s a look at 15 moments which shaped the respective 2017 seasons of the Eagles and Patriots.
March 9: Eagles sign Alshon Jeffery to a one-year, $14 million contract — As a rookie, quarterback Carson Wentz was sunk, handcuffed by a terrible receiving corps. Jeffery’s addition changed that for his sophomore year.
March 10: Patriots sign Stephon Gilmore to a five-year, $65 million contract — The veteran cornerback had an up-and-down inaugural season with that big new deal, but he made a season-saving play against the Jaguars in the AFC title game.
Stephon Gilmore earns his entire contract in one play pic.twitter.com/WlfS1E3DUI
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) January 21, 2018
March 10: Patriots trade for Brandin Cooks — The flashy young receiver went over 1,000 yards with seven touchdown grabs, coming in handy particularly when the team was dealt a blow in August. More on that in a moment.
March 28: Eagles sign Patrick Robinson to a one-year, $775,000 contract — The veteran was an afterthought signing, but he was one of the top corners in the league in 2017. He also made a game-changing play early in the NFC title game.
Patrick Robinson picks off Case Keenum and takes it to the HOUSE! ?pic.twitter.com/dFG6RxBLto
— LeadingNFL ™ (@LeadingNFL) January 22, 2018
August 11: Eagles trade Jordan Matthews for Ronald Darby — Matthews struggled with injuries with the Bills. Darby had a late start due to his own injury issues, but he was a huge boon to that secondary throughout the second half of the season.
August 25: Julian Edelman goes down — Thank goodness they traded for Cooks, because Edelman was Tom Brady’s top target in 2016.
October 23: Jason Peters goes down — That Monday Night Football home victory over the division rival Redskins was an unofficial coming-out party for Wentz and the Eagles, but it was dampened by the loss of their potential Hall of Fame left tackle.
October 31: Eagles trade for Jay Ajayi — The former Dolphins back soon became the go-to guy in the Philly backfield, averaging 5.8 yards per carry in seven games with the team.
November 7: Dont’a Hightower goes down — The Patriots defense was just getting back on track after a shaky start when Hightower was lost to a torn pectoral muscle in early November. That D now lacks a former Super Bowl hero.
November 26: Eagles win in blowout fashion for the fourth straight week — The 31-3 victory over the Bears was their ninth consecutive win, with the last four coming by a combined margin of 152-45. Dominance.
December 10: Carson Wentz goes down — Most figured that when the MVP candidate suffered a season-ending injury, the Eagles were toast. But backup Nick Foles has shined after a slow start in relief of Wentz, and is now ready to quarterback the team in Super Bowl LII.
December 17: Patriots beat the Steelers in a thriller — Had the Steelers not choked and had this Jesse James catch held up, the Pats might have had to travel to Pittsburgh for the AFC title game, rather than hosting the Jags.
January 13: Falcons botch a last-minute red-zone possession in Philly in the divisional playoffs — Down 15-10, the Falcons failed to score on four consecutive plays inside the Philly 12-yard line. Had they gotten into the end zone, the Eagles wouldn’t be alive right now.
January 21: Jaguars botch the end of the first half in Foxboro in the AFC championship game — This Weekend in NFL Stupid covered the multitude of mistakes the scared Jags made when they had a chance to put New England away.
January 21: Eagles crush the Vikings in the NFC title game — They were once again underdogs and playing a team with a ton of momentum and a home Super Bowl on the line, and with their backup quarterback and no Jason Peters, they won 38-7. Shocking stuff.
And here we are.