Jalen Hurts stands on the field just hours before Super Bowl LVII reflecting on his second year with the Philadelphia Eagles. The turnaround from Year 1 to Year 2 is something special, especially when you go from a barely scraping playoff team to a Super Bowl team.
Going back to Monday night for the Super Bowl Opening Night, the Eagles took to the podium to discuss with the media. Though the answers to their favorite colors or what’s in their playlist were very different, one thing remained the same: the sense of brotherhood. This was a cog in the team’s success machine this year and in 2017.
“There were a lot of veteran guys,” Kelce talked about in his first Eagles Super Bowl, nodding to Chris Long, Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham, among others.
It all began on Draft night. The goal of the offseason was to improve the team’s weaknesses and build around Hurts. With one swift call to the Titans in exchange for the No. 18 and 101 picks in the draft, Hurts’ best friend was flying high in Philly: wide receiver A.J. Brown.
“That FaceTime call (on draft night) kinda spoke for itself. We were just both happy and like I said earlier, I guess you could say it all worked out. We’re all just trying to finish the job.” Brown said. “I feel like we did really well responding having that first adversity,” “I talk to BG, he’s been here he’s done it, he’s helped us out a lot he’s talking to us a lot and just giving us advice about it,”
“Playing with AJ, getting my best friend to come here and build our relationship with everyone that’s been here, I think it’s a special thing.” Hurts said.
These new key players are not only happy to be in Philadelphia, but they bring the heat.
“All the boys are tough to guard in practice, I go against A.J. and Smitty and Dallas, too,” Darius Slay said.
The players, whether first or tenth year, look to each other for inspiration. Haason Reddick talked about the brotherhood he felt the second he walked in the door.
“Which teammate was a big inspiration for me this season? So many of them, honestly. Like to sit here and just say one person, I would be lying. All of my teammates in some way, some form, some fashion have impacted me or have some type of impact on me and my game just because coming here it’s really like a brotherhood.” Reddick said.
“They embraced me, they showed me love as soon as I walked through those doors on day one,”
Running back Miles Sanders gave props to Lane Johnson, who competes in his second Super Bowl with the Birds. He admires Johnson’s work ethic amid his late-season injury.
“What’s impressive about Lane? A lot. The way he approaches the work, the way he comes to work, how focused he is when he’s on the field, as soon as his feet touch the field, he’s focused.” Sanders said. “Honestly, you gotta give a lot of credit to a dude that has a torn abdomen and goes out there and plays at a high level and basically shuts down the AFC Defensive Player of the Year,”
Even Jordan Mailata has love for the Eagles veteran center in a daily reminder.
“Jason Kelce is the epitome of a leader, I have him as my screensaver as Batman that’s how much of a leader he is to me,” Mailata said.
“This is the closest group I’ve been a part of my whole life and I commend Sirianni for that. Coach did a great job of expressing how we need to connect as a brotherhood and it started last year,” he continued.
For a handful of players, this will be their first Super Bowl. Of course, it’s familiar territory for the younger guys coming from Alabama and Georgia. Jalen Hurts being one of those guys, the team isn’t worried about his mindset going into today.
“Well Jalen’s attitude I’m not worried about him at all. I just know everything I’m gonna see is gonna be in practice. I know Jalen is gonna be Jalen on Sunday and gonna give us the best opportunity,” Graham said.
For the rest of the team, the veterans reiterated the importance of drowning out outside noise.
“Focus on what you need to focus, enjoy yourself when you can, and really treat it like a normal week, don’t change your process up,” Johnson said. “And that’s really it, don’t let the external factors control what you’re doing,”
One thing the team can agree on is that this brotherhood is for real. It’s not a team of individuals, it’s individuals on a team.
“We just hold each other accountable, we complement each other,” Cox said. “When you’re doing stuff like that it’s so special,”