Super Bowl 2023: Eagles Super Bowl history has a long-awaited title with unlikely QB

Through the first 51 Super Bowls, all Philadelphia Eagles fans had was pain.

The Eagles had three NFL championships but those came before the Super Bowl era, in 1948, 1949 and 1960. The retelling of NFL history has done a poor job accounting for the pre-Super Bowl years, especially for fans of a certain age who weren't alive for the "ancient" championships. For many Eagles fans, the organization's history consisted of two Super Bowl appearances, both ending with unsatisfying losses.

Then came Nick Foles, "Philly Special" and one of the most celebrated titles by any fanbase in any sport.

Eagles finally get a Super Bowl win

The Eagles were 0-2 in their Super Bowl history when they won the NFC championship at the end of the 2017 season to advance to Super Bowl LII. Late that season, it seemed like another gut punch season for Eagles fans.

Carson Wentz was an MVP candidate when he tore his ACL in a game against the Los Angeles Rams in December. The Eagles went 2-1 in their final three regular-season games with Foles, but it still seemed unlikely he could take the Eagles to a championship.

Then Foles got hot. He led a win over the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC championship game with 352 yards and three touchdowns. In the Super Bowl, he became a Philadelphia legend.

In a thrilling Super Bowl, Foles was fantastic. The New England Patriots and Eagles combined for 1,151 yards, the most in any game in NFL history. Foles threw for 373 and three touchdowns. He caught a touchdown on one of the most famous plays in NFL history. Facing a fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line with just 34 seconds left in the first half, the Eagles went for it. They called "Philly Special," a direct snap to the running back which turned into a handoff to tight end Trey Burton, who threw to Foles in the end zone for a touchdown. There's a statue outside of Lincoln Financial Field of Foles and then-coach Doug Pederson discussing the play call.

The Eagles won 41-33. Foles won Super Bowl MVP. Philadelphia had a parade for the ages. The frustration for Eagles fans was gone.

Philadelphia Eagles' Nick Foles holds up the Vince Lombardi Trophy after Super Bowl LII. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Philadelphia Eagles' Nick Foles holds up the Vince Lombardi Trophy after Super Bowl LII. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Eagles had been 0-2 in Super Bowls

The first two Super Bowl appearances for the Eagles didn't have the same happy ending.

In Super Bowl XV, the Eagles lost to the Oakland Raiders, the first wild-card team to win a Super Bowl. Ron Jaworski threw three interceptions to linebacker Rod Martin. They allowed an 80-yard touchdown on a short pass to running back Kenny King. A good Eagles team simply played a terrible game on the biggest stage.

It took 24 years before the Eagles got another chance. They went against a fantastic Patriots team. The most memorable story from that game for the Eagles was receiver Terrell Owens unexpectedly returning from a broken leg to play and put up 122 yards. An infamously slow drive by the Eagles — which included the claim that Donovan McNabb threw up in the huddle, which McNabb denies — ended in a touchdown that cut the Patriots' lead to 24-21 with 1:48 left. Philadelphia had one more shot at the win, but McNabb threw an interception to Rodney Harrison in the final seconds.

For five decades that's all Eagles fans had for Super Bowl memories. The 1980 team falling behind early and coming up small against the Raiders. The 2004 team getting a memorable performance by Owens but also a frustrating finish.

That changed in Super Bowl LII.