Whether or not the Eagles want to use their loss in Super Bowl LVII as extra motivation for Monday night’s game against the Chiefs in Kansas City is really up to each individual player.
But there’s one thing they can’t avoid.
They gotta watch it.
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“Yeah, it is kind of weird,” left tackle Jordan Mailata said. “But it is a leg up because you can kind of see the similarities from last year to this year on both sides and you can kind of learn from it. Not kind of. You can. It’s pretty evident.”
As the Eagles prepare to face the Chiefs in a Super Bowl LVII rematch, even though the teams have changed significantly in the months since the game, they’d be doing themselves a disservice to not utilize the tape from that game. So from high-angle and end zone cutups, the Eagles have been watching that film this week in preparation, all while attempting to suppress the emotions that come with rewatching the most devastating loss of their careers.
Although, it has been nine months since that crushing defeat at this point. It’s not that the Eagles are over it — they might never be over it — but they’ve already gone through the mourning process.
And, believe it or not, they claim it hasn’t been as hard to remove the emotion from the rewatch as you might expect.
“It was a lot easier than I thought it would be,” Mailata said.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t some moments that sting a little bit.
“We’ve seen a lot of it at this point,” Jason Kelce said. “I think whenever you watch it, there’s plays that you want back and things that were there that weren’t capitalized on, which is frustrating. But all in all, it didn’t work out. No sense in looking back on it any other way. We had an opportunity to win the game and just didn’t get it done. We’re more just focused on this one.”
The Eagles’ coaching staff has watched the Super Bowl back before. But just like Kelce mentioned, there are always going to be moments they wish they could have back.
Head coach Nick Sirianni has felt that this week too.
“You do that with every game, and there's going to be things that you say, ‘Oh, man, that was a really good play.’ Or, ‘Oh, man, I wish we could have that one back.’ Do you find yourself sometimes doing that?” Sirianni said. “Yeah, but you've got to remind yourself that, ‘Hey, our job is to get prepared for this game.’ What happened in the past happened in the past. We'll learn from our mistakes. We'll get better from the things that we did well.
“I’d be lying to say, if I'm like, ‘Oh, if this would have just happened or that would have just happened’ every once in a while, but we're not dwelling on it.”
There are plenty of things that haven’t changed in nine months. The Chiefs still have Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes. The Eagles still have Nick Sirianni and Jalen Hurts. A ton of other players remain too.
But three of the four coordinators from that game less than a year ago are gone. And there have been significant personnel changes on both sides of the rematch and on both sides of the ball.
"Every time you’ve seen that game over and over and over again, you put it into the context of getting ready for this week," Eagles offensive coordinator Brian Johnson said. "But I think everybody carries different scars with them from that game. And I think the reality of it is you’re not going to get that game back. The question is how you respond, how you move forward. But I think everybody kind of internalizes that differently. Some people use it as motivation, some people won’t."
Earlier this week, Mailata made some headlines when he claimed the game against the Chiefs is personal. And that’s understandable. That’s the team that took away a Super Bowl ring.
“I think everybody is internally motivated by different things,” Jalen Hurts said on Thursday. “Some people, external things motivate them as well. I think for us, just focus on the things that we can control. It’s as simple as that.”
While Hurts took an unsurprisingly diplomatic approach to the question about extra motivation in this game, don’t forget that we learned this summer that the background on his phone was a photo of Hurts walking off the field at State Farm Stadium through a shower of red and yellow confetti.
“I don’t need the Super Bowl to motivate me to beat my brother or Andy Reid,” Kelce said. “I’ve never beat them (the Chiefs) in my career. I’m more motivated maybe by that. But I don’t buy into Super Bowl revenge games. Each season is different. This team is not the same, that team is not the same. Nothing that goes out there on Monday night is going to at all change or make anything different about what happened last year.”
The Eagles’ longest-tenured player, Brandon Graham, said this week that the sting of that Super Bowl loss has been dulled a bit by the talent on this year’s team. The Eagles are 8-1 through nine games and are positioning themselves to go on another run in 2023.
There’s no guarantee the Eagles will get back to the Super Bowl but there’s no reason to think they won’t.
“I feel like the way we go about it is we make sure we prepare this week the best way we know how like we always do and be us,” Graham said. “Because at the end of the day, it’s about what we do this year to bounce back from what happened last year. I know it’s a lot of us that do have that sting on the inside but if we take care of business this year, all of that will be over with when we holding that trophy.”
Like every player on the roster, Graham has used last year’s game in preparation for this year’s rematch. There are a few things that stood out to him, but a lot of his takeaways were about things he can learn as a leader.
It probably hasn’t been fun for the Eagles to relive the Super Bowl loss this week. But they have found it productive.
“We've used the tape. We've used the preparation going into it,” Sirianni said. “There are things that I've been watching this week, and I'm like it feels like I just watched this stuff not too long ago, which is because I did. So, there was some deja vu there.
“Obviously, we use everything that can help us prepare for a game, and obviously the preparation that we did going into it and also that game can help us a lot.”