Pederson said Wednesday that Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre will be in the Twin Cities for some other obligations this week, so Pederson asked Favre to stop by the team hotel and talk to the players for a few minutes in a team meeting Saturday morning.
"He's one of the greatest to ever play the game," Foles said of Favre. "Just his style of play, his toughness -- he is a true gunslinger, a rocket arm, can throw it from any which angle. Off his back foot, he can throw it anywhere he wants. He's been there. He's won the big games. He's played a lot, a lot of football, so anytime you have the opportunity to listen to someone like him speak, it's huge, so I can't wait to listen to what wisdom and knowledge he gives us. I know everyone on our team will be excited to hear him speak."
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QB coach never rests. Philadelphia's quarterback coach, John DeFilippo, is known around the building as a "first in, last out" presence and a demanding leader of the team's signal-callers. After hearing stories of how Adam Gase used to text with Peyton Manning late at night during their days together in Denver, I asked DeFilippo this week how often he peppers Eagles quarterbacks Carson Wentz, Nick Foles and Nate Sudfeld with off-the-clock coaching:
"A lot. A lot. I wouldn't say it's at 2 a.m., because Carson goes to bed a little earlier than most guys, because he's up at 4:30 in the morning every morning," DeFilippo said. "I send a lot of videos. If there's certain techniques that they've used, in terms of their fundamentals, I'll send that at midnight. I'll send all three quarterbacks screenshots and videos on my phone. I'll text those to those guys and say, 'Hey, look at your arms here, look at your feet here, this is why we're doing what we're doing here.' I love sending videos to those guys of individual periods and team periods in terms of their good plays and just reinforce: 'Hey, I really appreciate your effort, and just keep grinding.' "
Sudfeld confirmed that DeFilippo is a constant communicator, saying: "Oh, yeah. We all go to bed early. Put our phones on 'Do Not Disturb Mode' usually, but we'll get texts at 11:30 p.m. from his office of: 'Hey, this is a phenomenal throw, look how your elbow stayed tight, this looks great.' He'll send that, then I'll wake up at 5:30 and text back, 'Thanks,' and he's probably back up in the office by then."
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The Meek Mill connection. The Eagles' unofficial anthem this season has been "Dreams and Nightmares" by rapper and Philly native Meek Mill. It was playing as practically the entire team danced in a meeting room the day before the NFC Championship Game, again on the field pregame and one more time after they beat the Vikings.
Defensive end Brandon Graham said the team has decided that will be the song they'll come out to this Sunday when they're introduced as a team.
"If you're going to go with a Philly song," Graham said, "that's the one you're going with."
Mill is currently serving a sentence of two to four years for a parole violation stemming from two arrests. It was a controversial sentencing, as prosecutors recommended no jail time.
Mill released a statement last week saying it "really lifted my spirit to hear the team rallying around my songs." He'll surely get another lift to find out the team will use "Dreams and Nightmares" on the NFL's biggest stage on Sunday.
"It just gets us going," Barnett said. "It gives us good energy. Just a little extra juice."
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A day after relaying the story of his disastrous first date with chewing tobacco, Brady was spinning more memorable tales on Wednesday.
This iteration came after being asked about being bitten by a dog during a Patriots practice a few years ago. A semi-surprised Brady regaled the audience with his story.
"I was bitten by two dogs. One when I was little in Minnesota, my grandpa's farm here," he said. "I gave the dog a bone and then went down to give the dog a kiss -- I was young -- and he bit right through my lip. So that was pretty rough.
"And then the second dog bite, which you're referring to, we were in the stadium, this was I don't know how many years ago, there was some military training going on in our stadium. [Owner Robert] Kraft had allowed some military members to do some training that they needed to do, and I was able to witness it at night. It was during training camp. And we got a chance to go on the field after and meet a lot of the guys. We were going to take kind of a team picture. Their team and then there was a few of us that went out there. I think it was Vince (Wilfork) and Jerod (Mayo) and Mr. Kraft and Jonathan (Kraft).
"And I was walking out to the middle of the field, and there was helicopters flying, and everyone's lined up. Some guys were kind of excited to see us walk out, so I kind of got close to all the guys and didn't realize there were dogs. Obviously, those weren't like Labradors, you know? Those were tough dogs. I raised my arms up over my head. And right when I raised my arm up, the dog jumped up and I guess was going for my neck. The guy grabbed the dog back down and the dog got my thigh on the way down. So I was standing there with a bunch of tough guys, and they all saw it and they were like, 'Are you OK?' And I'm like, 'Yeah, of course I'm OK!' But I could feel the cut, but obviously I couldn't say anything like, 'Oh man, that hurt,' because I'm with the toughest guys in the world.
"So I just sucked it up for like an hour after we said hi to all the guys and so forth. It was probably 10:30, 10:45 when I went back in to our training room and I called up Jim Whalen, our trainer, and I said, 'Hey Jim, I have a problem.' And he was like, 'What is it?' And I said, 'I just got bit by a dog.' He's like, 'You got bit by a dog? What are you talking about?' I had to come over and get it taken care of. So, I have a nice little scar on my quad thanks to that night. I learned a very valuable lesson."
Stay tuned for Thursday's edition of "Storytime with Tom."
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"I just remember before the game, we were out throwing, and I talked to him for a few minutes, and just kind of talking about our journeys and how crazy it's been, and just talking about how you never know when that opportunity's going to come around," Hoyer said Wednesday. "And sure enough, here he is, starting the Super Bowl."
Foles took over for an injured Carson Wentzon Dec. 10, a little over a month after the 49erstraded for Jimmy Garoppolo and released Hoyer, who re-signed with the New England Patriots, his first NFL team, to back up Tom Brady. Now, it's the unlikely matchup of Foles vs. Brady in Super Bowl LII ... with Hoyer playing the role on the Patriots' scout team of Foles, who backed up Hoyer for one year at Michigan State in 2007 before transferring to Arizona.
"I've known Nick for a long time. He's a great kid -- I guess 'man,' now, at this point. But always very talented at throwing the football," Hoyer said. "I think you can see that this is a system that he's comfortable running. And he's done a great job. You watch him in that NFC Championship Game -- he's got a command of what he's doing.
"Football's all about opportunities arising at moments you aren't always ready for, and he's done a good job of filling in. Especially, Carson Wentz was having such a great year, and for Nick to kind of fill in and get to the point where they're scoring (38) points in the NFC Championship Game is pretty impressive."
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Belichick, German reporter share a moment. You must give the foreign media credit for persistence. Faced with famously stoic Patriots coach Bill Belichick, these reporters display no fear.
It's a logical, well-thought-out football question.
Belichick was having none of it. He stared at the reporter for a few beats, seemingly deciding how to reply.
"I don't think we're going to be giving away our game plans and all that," he quipped. "We'll see how it goes. Next."
A loose Belichick didn't actually go to the next question, instead bantering back at the TV man.
"That's the first time I've been asked a question by a German reporter that wasn't about Sebastian Vollmer," Belichick said to laughter, referring to his former German-born offensive tackle.
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Belichick has both his sons on the coaching staff: Steve is in his sixth season, and second as safeties coach, and younger brother Brian is a coaching assistant after spending last year as a scouting assistant.
Steve -- who calls it "a tremendous honor" to be named after his grandfather, a longtime college coach and scout -- told me Wednesday that he and Bill Belichick have "probably more family conversations than football conversations. There's a lot going on in life."
But when Dad is also the boss, does that alter that communication, especially in a week where there's a championship on the line?
"There's a time and place for everything," said Steve Belichick, 30. "We're not bullsh---ing about family during practice. We're talking about football during football time. When we finally have a break, we talk about life. It is what it is. It's a professional relationship. Like you said, he's my boss, so got to please the boss and keep my job."