Bay Area natives take center stage in Super Bowl 52

JACK KURZENKNABE / PUBLIC DOMAIN

Brady, Ertz make their mark in Big Game

For the first time in franchise history, the Philadelphia Eagles are champions of the NFL after outlasting the New England Patriots 41-33 in an action-packed Super Bowl on Sunday night in Minnesota.

A pair of Bay Area natives were thoroughly in the spotlight, with the entire nation watching, and ended up being directly involved in two of the most critical plays that decided the outcome of the game.

Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady, who was born in San Mateo and attended Serra High School, played in his eighth Super Bowl, the most by any single player in NFL history. With just over two minutes remaining in regulation, Brady was sacked at his own 26-yard line and had the football stripped out of his hands. Rookie defensive end Derek Barnett recovered the fumble for the Eagles, who eventually kicked a field goal on the drive before surviving a last-second “Hail Mary” attempt by Brady on the final play.

Despite the loss, which moved his career record in Super Bowls to 5-3, Brady’s 505 passing yards on Sunday night are the most ever in a single Super Bowl game.

The Eagles’ fifth-year tight end Zach Ertz caught a pass over the middle and dove headfirst towards the end zone for an 11-yard touchdown, giving his team a late lead with 2:21 left to play. It would end up being the game-winning score for Philadelphia.

Ertz is a Danville, Calif. native. There, he played at Monte Vista High School. He also played college ball at Stanford University in Palo Alto before being selected by the Eagles in the second round of the 2013 NFL draft.

During the regular season, Ertz was the team-leader in both catches and yards while also finishing third in the NFL in receiving yards among tight ends. He caught seven balls for a total of 67 yards in the Super Bowl.

Besides Brady and Ertz, a few other players with ties to Northern California were involved in the Big Game on Sunday night.

Philadelphia’s tight end coach Justin Peelle grew up in Dublin, a small town in the East Bay. Peelle has been on the staff since 2013 and has worked with Ertz from the very beginning of his career. Peelle deserves some credit for helping to develop Ertz into one of the most consistent tight ends in the NFL.

New England’s top wide receiver Brandin Cooks, who grew up in Stockton, Calif. and attended Lincoln High School, was forced to leave the game early in the second quarter after taking a huge blow to the head by an Eagles defensive back. Cooks had one catch for 23 yards before exiting.

For the Eagles, a couple of lineman with Bay Area ties are lucky enough to call themselves Super Bowl champions. Elijah Qualls, from Petaluma, is a defensive tackle who was taken in the sixth round of last year’s draft. In addition, Darrell Greene, a guard from Oakley, was on the practice squad for the Eagles this year.

 

Written by: Brendan Ogburn — sports@theaggie.org