Sports | January 30, 2018 11:29 am

This Super Bowl Really Isn’t a Super Bowl XXXIX Rematch

Every player on both rosters except Tom Brady has changed. So has football.

Super Bowl
Corey Dillon #28 of the New England Patriots carries the ball against the Philadelphia Eagles during Super Bowl XXXIX. (Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

The Eagles lost to the Patriots during Super Bowl XXXIX. Many are now saying the Philadelphia has the chance to avenge that loss to New England this weekend during Super Bowl LII. But every player on both rosters, minus Tom Brady of course, is different. Plus, the league itself has changed. In 2005, even the jerseys and pads were different. Bill Belichick even smiled (and went to the wrong bench after coming out of the tunnel before the game, so he had to run back across the field looking confused). Back then, Belichick had two Super Bowl wins under his belt. Brady was also slowly become a legend. At that point, he was a two-time Super Bowl MVP who had gotten off to the best postseason start for any quarterback ever. The Patriots relied heavily on their run game though, and New England was still considered a “defensive team.” The Eagles had finished that year eighth in scoring. During the final quarter, the Eagles were down 10. They got the ball back with 5:40 to go and got a touchdown. But they had wasted four minutes, whether it was because of management by Andy Reid or the result of McNabb being too winded. The Patriots then ran the ball three times, the Eagles used all three timeouts and only had 46 seconds when they got the ball back.

Quarterback efficiency has improved drastically since 2004 and the game is most commonly played from the shotgun now. It is an entirely different era in Philadelphia. The team is different this time around, even though their challenge remains the same: beat Brady and Belichick.