For the better part of the past 10 years, it seems like NFL fans and pundits have said “That was the best Super Bowl in history.”

Many were saying that when David Tyree’s helmet catch propelled the New York Giants to a thrilling Super Bowl 42 victory over the New England Patriots, spoiling their hopes of a perfect 19-0 season.

The next year, Kurt Warner and Ben Roethlisberger traded blow-for-blow, but it was Santonio Holmes’ epic touchdown in the back of the end zone to win the Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowl 43.

Then Malcolm Butler’s interception at the one-yard line made a case for Super Bowl 49 being the greatest ever. But then many folks (including the ones at ESPN.com), ranked last the Patriots’ thrilling 28-3 comeback over the Atlanta Falcons a year ago as the best ever.

Well, two can play that came. I’m putting my foot down and standing firm on this one: Super Bowl 52 was the greatest one ever played. It will be for a long, long time. Tyree, Holmes, Butler, Joe Montana, Terry Bradshaw and every other legend to play in a Super Bowl will have to accept that this year’s was the best of the best. The king of kings.

via Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

It had everything you could ask for in a Super Bowl. The lovable underdogs in the Philadelphia Eagles, who had never won the Super Bowl. Backup quarterback Nick Foles, who went from considering retirement to backup to an NFC Champion.

The game also featured the New England Patriots, who were looking to cement themselves as the greatest dynasty in NFL history. A sixth championship would have closed that debate, and Tom Brady would have cemented himself as the greatest quarterback to ever live.

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Something had to give. The greatest underdog story in recent memory would win the world championship, or the historic Patriots dynasty would add a cherry on top. Throw in the reported rift (by ESPN’s Seth Wickersham), in the team’s organization and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia leaving to coach the Detroit Lions, and you felt like this was the last hurrah in Foxborough.

Once the game started, none of those storylines mattered. It was strictly about the Super Bowl. And boy, did it ever deliver.

Foles and Brady put together masterful opening drives, each ending in a field goal. You then had Alshon Jeffer’s Superman- like touchdown grab to put the Eagles up by six. We had crazy special teams miscues like this one:

Though many folks respect and enjoy a good ol’ defensive slugfest, nobody can ever complain about a game completely dominated by offense. Keep in mind the Eagles (18.4 points allowed per game) and Patriots (18.5 points allowed per contest), finished fourth and fifth in scoring defense, respectively.

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This game had all the jaw-dropping plays you could imagine. It even featured both Brady and Foles trying to catch passes…even though one of them failed miserably at it:

It worked out just fine for Foles, though:

And who doesn’t like a good Super Bowl without controversy? Shortly after Rob Gronkowski’s touchdown cut the Eagles lead to three points, Corey Clement’s supreme catch in the back of the end zone brought the universally hated catching rule back into focus:

Then all we saw after that was a touchdown drive by the Patriots, followed by a Jake Elliott field goal and another epic touchdown by Rob Gronkowski. The pressure was on Nick Foles to deliver, and he put together a beautiful 14-play drive that took 7:01 off the clock.

Zach Ertz kept the drive going with clutch grabs on 3rd down and 4th-and-1. It was only fitting that he played hero. And by the way, everyone’s favorite catching rule came back into focus once again:

Even though the game was all offense for 57 minutes, it all came down to what the Eagles front four could do against the five-time Super Bowl champion Brady. Everyone just assumed that Brady would break the hearts of Philly, the way he did it to the Seattle Seahawks and Atlanta Falcons.

But the Eagles defense finally made the play of the game, strip-sacking Brady which essentially helped put the game away. It was easily the biggest play in the history of Philadelphia sports.

And hey, the Eagles didn’t even get to melt the clock. They had to settle for a 46-yard Elliott field goal, and Brady had a minute to force overtime. His Hail Mary (which wasn’t really that close to being caught), fell short. At least there was some form of a climatic ending, rather than a series of kneel downs by Foles.

via Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

There you have it. That is why Super Bowl 52 is the greatest in history. 1,151 yards of offense, a Super Bowl record. 74 total points, which was second most in the big game’s history. Each team garnered over 100 rushing yards. Foles had 373 yards, Brady 505. Three different Patriots receivers had over 100 receiving yards. That’s kind of ridiculous.

And in the very end, the underdog Eagles and Foles toppled the Patriots dynasty in the most thrilling Super Bowl ever. The records. The crazy plays. The storyline. The finish. There should be no debating that Super Bowl 52 is the greatest of them all, and it’s going to be a long time until another one can equal its all-around greatness.

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