"Jade" makes Super Bowl appearance

By Steve Sell
February 05, 2018

They called it “the Philly Special.”

McPherson High fans would have called it “Jade.”

Just before halftime of what would become the greatest Super Bowl in the 52-year history of the game, Philadelphia coach Doug Pederson shocked everyone by eschewing a field goal attempt by going for it on fourth down from the 1-yard line.

Philly quarterback Nick Foles moved out of his position to the right and the ball was snapped directly to running back Corey Clement. Receiver Trey Burton came around to take a pitch and he wound up lofting the ball back to Foles for a touchdown on the greatest gimmick play in Super Bowl history. New England had tried a somewhat modified version earlier, but the pass back to quarterback Tom Brady was just off his fingertips.

McPherson fans, though, had seen it before. This was old news. I immediately thought of “Jade.”

Who’ll ever forget the Buhler playoff game this past fall? MHS had just scored in overtime to pull within a point and Bullpup coach Jace Pavlovich elected to go for the win instead of the tying PAT. 

Quarterback Kyler Hoppes shifted to the right, with the direct snap going to Jace Kinnamon. He handed the ball off to Gabe Hoover, who lofted a pass back to Hoppes for the winning score. It set off arguably the wildest celebration ever witnessed at McPherson Stadium as fans stormed the field.

Maybe Pederson is a fan of the Bullpups as it proved to be the turning point in the Super Bowl.

That play was just one of the highlights of what I’m sure will be called “the greatest game ever played.” A lot of historians go back to 1958 — pre-Super Bowl — when Johnny Unitas led the Colts past the Giants on the famous Alan Ameche 1-yard dive that put the NFL on the map for good.

I have seen all 52 Super Bowls and I can tell you from experience it’s at the top of the charts. There’s others — last year’s New England rally past Atlanta was no slouch — but for pure enjoyment and excitement this one is the best.

NFL fans were treated to an offensive feast. I felt like I was watching a weekly Big 12 game as the teams were rolling up and down the field as though they operating against air.

No game in NFL history — regular season or postseason — had produced 1,151 total yards. Now there have been more points scored, but the offenses were flawless.

What made it stunning is that in terms of points allowed, these defenses had entered the game ranked in the Top 5 during the season.

It was evident early this was going to be no normal Super Bowl. The pass defenses for both teams were awful as receivers were running unbated.

It never had a lull. There was only one punt and it turned into a game of “who can top this.”

Then there was Brady.

Does anybody now question his status as the greatest quarterback of all time, also known as GOAT? Sure, Brady didn’t win and his late fumble basically clinched the outcome, though he had one last heave at the end of the game that caused Philly fans to have their hearts lodged in their throats.

Remember, Brady is 40 in a league where being 30 is like being 50. All he did was throw for 505 yards and pick apart the most physical defense in the league. Any other game we would have been talking about him ad nauseam. Just that he put New England in position on that final series to hoist a Hail Mary was a testament to his greatness.

This game had it all. I can’t recall ever being more engrossed in watching a game as you never knew what would happen next.

I was happy for the Philly fans, who are legendary for being harder on their pro sports teams than any in the country. I always liked the Eagles when Andy Reid was their coach and I’m happy for Pederson, who was a footnote going into the game while all the praise was being heaped on New England’s Bill Belichick, who even with the loss is up there with the Lombardis, Lambeaus, Shulas, Nolls and Walshes.  Pederson was with the Chiefs with Reid and nobody made much of a fuss when he left. But the guy can coach and I loved his river boat gambler instincts.

Next year’s Super Bowl may as well give up. It has no chance to equal what we just watched. This really was the greatest game of all time.