NFL Analysis


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What We Learned: Six Takeaways from Super Bowl LVII Opening Night

Imagine Vince Lombardi and Hank Stram, or Chuck Noll and Tom Landry getting together with each other and players from both teams for a night of fun and laughs during the week of the Super Bowl.

Yeah, we can't either. But that was then, and this is now. Super Bowl LVII week got off to a roaring start Monday with Opening Night in Arizona, and the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs clearly enjoyed themselves.

Here were some of the highlights:

Mama Kelce Brings Snacks

Not that there was much doubt, but the Kelce brothers absolutely packed their senses of humor on their trips to Arizona. Eagles center Jason Kelce and Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce took center stage, but their mother Donna, who Travis quipped was the real star, joined them on the NFL's glow-in-the-dark, boxing ring-like stage and brought them homemade cookies.

When asked what her plan was for Sunday's big game, she replied, "The plan is to scream really loud every time somebody has the ball. … It's just amazing that they've both been able to get to this point in their careers and both enjoy the Super Bowl together." 

Kelce-on-Kelce Competitions Run Deep

It was only a matter of time before the brothers' competitive fires came to the forefront.

"It's an incredible moment for me and our family," Jason said. "Whoever wins this one is going to have the ultimate bragging rights. We're always rooting for each other, I always want him to do well. But I would sure love to get this one over his head and have at least something on top of him."

Travis, too, was willing to enjoy Monday's moment, fully aware that someone's smile will disappear, at least temporarily, on Sunday night.

"It's a dream come true. It's just cool for my family to have this much fun," he said. "It's not going to be fun for one of us at the end of the day, but it's fun right now."

Travis later elaborated on how competing against his older brother taught him some important life lessons.

"What he did do, he gave me a cool perspective on how to beat someone that's better than you," Travis said. "I got to learn the mind game at a different level as a younger kid. He's helped me get to where I'm at, but he got the majority of the wins."

And when Jason didn't win?

"My brother's definitely a worse loser than me," Travis added. "I'll take a few losses on the chin. My brother, if he loses, you better stay out of that big dog's way. He's a fired-up dude. He puts a lot of passion into this thing."

The topic then changed to beards, as in which brother's is better.

"Jason's starting to change color on him. Mine's coming in," Travis noted. "I'm still in my prime. I think his beard has gone out of prime. He's got to go full white to finally be that much better."

Eagles Rely on Super Powers

Jason Kelce has had a profound impact on the Eagles' dominant offensive line. So much so that tackle Jordan Mailata's respect for his center, and the inspiration he's drawn from him, has reached super-hero proportions.

"Jason Kelce is the epitome of a leader," said Mailata, who actually has the All-Pro center pictured as Batman on his phone's screen saver. "It's an honor playing with Jason Kelce, the player and the person he is. You couldn't ask for a better teammate or a better leader. He leads by example. You see it by his play on film, but more importantly we all see the way attacks every week in the classroom."

Receiver A.J. Brown continued the Batman theme when describing himself and fellow wideout DeVonta Smith as Receivers 1A and 1B in the Eagles offense. He warned the Chiefs not to sleep on Smith: "You can't forget about Skinny Batman. As soon as you forget about him, he'll take it over the top."

Quarterbacks Take Historic Matchup Seriously

The Eagles' Jalen Hurts and the Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes will be the first matchup of Black quarterbacks in Super Bowl history. Both spoke about what it means for this point in history, and the far-reaching effect it will have in the future.

"The quarterbacks that came before me — Shaq Harris, Doug Williams, they laid the foundation for me to be in this position," said Mahomes, who at 27 is the youngest quarterback to start three Super Bowls. "It goes across all sports, if you think about Jackie Robinson and people that broke the color barrier in baseball. I wouldn't be standing here if it wasn't for them. I think about them all the time.

"To be lucky enough to be in this position and play against another great guy like Jalen. It's going to be a special moment. I'm glad we're here today, but how can we move forward? How can we motivate kids that are younger to follow their dreams to be a quarterback?"

Hurts, who along with Mahomes is a front-runner for MVP, continued.

"That's uplifting tomorrow's next generation of quarterbacks," he said. "That 4-year-old, 5-year-old kid back in Houston, back in Philly, back in Texas, Louisiana, wherever, across the world. Regardless of what someone may say or have an opinion about you, you can do it, you can do it, too."

Sirianni Puts Hurts in Rare Air

Eagles coach Nick Sirianni has no problem putting Jalen Hurts in the same sentence as Michael Jordan, but he offered some clarification.

"When I became a coach and I'm studying great teams, and great players and great coaches, I'm inspired by somebody like Michael Jordan and his will to win," Sirianni said. "And that's what I'm saying when I compare. It's the will to win in Jalen Hurts. It's the will to win in Michael Jordan. That's what I'm comparing. … It's just this will to win. I don't know what Jalen Hurts' ceiling is because he just keeps setting a new standard to what his ceiling can be."

Reid Has Nothing But Love for Philadelphia

Andy Reid hasn't coached in Philadelphia for a decade, but the City of Brotherly Love remains near and dear to the Chiefs coach's heart. He shared long embraces with players such as Fletcher Cox and Jason Kelce, who are holdovers from his time there, and he shared his feelings in an interview.

"I've got a lot of close friends with the Eagles," Reid said. "Some of the players are guys I had a chance to be in the draft with and bring them in and coach them. I'm proud of those guys for what they've done.

"I'm proud of (GM) Howie Roseman for retooling the organization. Nick's done a nice job coaching them. And Jeff Lurie is a phenomenal owner. So, I've still got fond memories of Philadelphia."

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