The essential GIFs that helped explain Super Bowl LII

Print

Every game during the NFL season tells a story. GIFs -- pronounced "gifs", "jifs" or "gee-oafs" -- can do the same thing. So let's tell the story of Super Bowl LII through GIFs.


I was on the field as the Eagles celebrated their Super Bowl win -- well, their pre-Meek Mill Super Bowl celebration. I worked myself behind the riser and observed Nick Foles as he prepared to be welcomed onto the stage by NBC's Dan Patrick. In Foles' arms was his daughter, Lily, who was wearing pink headphones and was -- like her Dad -- clearly attempting to process what was happening. In sports, one game can change your life forever. That goes both ways, but Foles is the happy end of the spectrum. Eight quarters of incredible play over two Sundays changed the entire framing of his existence. "Wow" indeed.

I really hope Gronk doesn't retire, because the NFL would be a lot less fun without him in it. But in the off-chance Gronk really is done, we -- as a people -- can take solace knowing the big galoot ended his career with the finest Gronk Spike of his life.

The sinful hip shimmy, the high steps, the, um, whatever he's doing with his arms -- it's all just top shelf, peak Gronkness. And then the spike itself, my goodness, that thunderous spike -- the ball pounds into the turf then darts out of view at about 1,000-mph in the opposite direction. Gronk spiked so hard he made an inanimate object afraid of him.

That's a good spike.

Hey, it's Bill Belichick Super Bowl Disappointment Face! It's been a minute since we've seen that. It makes you wonder if the expectations of the gig -- even more than internal strife behind the scenes at Patriot Way -- could be what eventually takes him off the sidelines for the Pats. The Belichick Doctrine has taken hold in New England -- anything less than a Lombardi Trophy is considered failure.

And how do we know that's true? Just think back to the aftermath of the AFC Championship Game and the presentation of the poor, unloved Lamar Hunt Trophy.

When you put it all together, you understand why someone as driven and successful Belichick showed such disdain for the Hunt trophy. If you don't win the big one, it becomes a symbol of failure and perpetual reminder of second place. It probably takes more than a few days out to sea on VII Rings to wash away that disappointment.

Do you have any idea how mad Tom Brady is about this? Like ... right now. He's sitting somewhere on that palatial estate from Tom vs. Time and he's just staring into the vast expanse wondering how his hand-eye coordination could have failed him in the gauntlet of the Super Bowl. And he seethes with the knowledge that Nick Foles caught his ball -- an easier ball, no doubt -- but a ball that might as well grown human features and mocked Brady as it spiraled into the soft hands of the opposing quarterback for six massive points.

Brady will lay in bed in his sleep recovery pajamas tonight. There will be no sleep. No recovery. Just regret. This is when being a crazy competitor can make you actually crazy.

Check out Danny Amendola. Notice his positioning as the ball caroms off Gronk's head, deflects off an Eagles defender, then begins its final, gravity-driven descent to the turf. Danny Amendola, who was four feet away from fulfilling his destiny as the greatest Super Bowl hero of them all. Danny Amendola, who instead got a front-row seat to the "What if?" Hall of Fame.

Great news, guys. Bradley Cooper's favorite football team finally won the big one! It's good to see a Regular Joe, a real Lunchpail Larry, catch a break from the big man upstairs.

Meanwhile, where was Mark Wahlberg to serve as emotional support for Robert Kraft? Did Wahlberg bail on the Pats again? I care way more about this than why Malcolm Butler was benched.

Matt Patricia got himself a big chair this week when he was announced as the new head coach of the Detroit Lions. Good for him, though I do worry that his move to Motown will mean far less nationally televised games, and therefore, fewer close-up HD shots of Patricia's manic eyes and wondrous beard. One more reason to root for the Lions, I suppose.

Our society has so many worthy things to be outraged about right now, and yet countless Americans made the decision in recent days to focus their fury upon Justin Timberlake because he included a Prince tribute in his halftime show. I mean, how lost up your own butt do you have to be to say something like, "Man, Sinbad had a great take here." Get over yourselves. Prince's own estate endorsed the performance, but go ahead and dig up some interview from 20 years ago to prove His Purple Badness has been besmirched.

Be honest now: If Beyonce did the same thing, she'd be celebrated as a genius for it. Beyonce gets it, they'd say. Puh-leeze. Go read the news.

There are two keys to a strong and effective Gatorade Bath:

1) The element of surprise: All head coaches know it's coming following a Super Bowl conquest, but the key is to catch the sideline boss when his job duties have left him distracted and unable to defend himself. This is essential.

2) Form: We've seen too many reckless Gatorade dunks over the years in which the coach gets bonked on the head by the heavy plastic container or an innocent bystander is doused for being in the wrong place in the wrong time. Ideally, the mechanics of the dunk are handled via a two-man operation. The container -- which should always be at least 75 percent full -- must be lifted above the shoulders so the trajectory of the bath comes from above ... not the side. THE TRAJECTORY CAN NEVER COME FROM THE SIDE.

As you can see, the Eagles players here do wonderful work getting an effective trajectory and a solid dousing directly upon Pederson's cranium. Our only deduction comes from Pederson's last-moment glance before the bath and possible cranium contact.

Final score: 8.5/10

Dan Hanzus runs the End Around section of NFL.com and hosts the award-winning Around The NFL Podcast. Follow him on Twitter if you want.

Print