I sat in Lucas Oil Stadium with some media peers to watch the first session of quarterbacks throw Saturday—the Dwayne Haskins/Drew Lock/Daniel Jones/Tyree Jackson/Will Grier/Ryan Finley (among others) group. All this is, an hour watching these guys, is a snapshot. But three guys who stuck out:
• Ohio State’s Haskins, who throws a beautiful ball and can throw it 55 yards near the target effortlessly;
• North Carolina State’s Finley, who was accurate and mechanically sound;
• Penn State’s Trace McSorley. Trace McSorley? The guy who was likely one of the last of the 17 quarterbacks invited to the combine in the eyes of NFL scouts, and who turned down a request to work with the safeties. No, he said; he’s a quarterback. I don’t know if he will be, but he impressed me throwing the ball, particularly on the 25-yard outs that every passer had to throw. He was the fastest (4.57 in the 40) quarterback on site, with Murray not running, and had a little quickness to him too. I thought of him as a backup QB, special-teams weapon, and maybe receiver, a guy who could be your 51st player, active some week and inactive others.
So I asked Sean Payton about McSorley on Sunday night. “When I looked at him, my first thought was, ‘I wonder if he can be [Julian] Edelman?’ I wondered if he could be a versatile kind of guy.”
I’ll be fascinated to see his NFL fate. He might not get drafted, but he’ll be a hard free-agent (if that’s his lot) for a team to cut. “Nobody’s gonna outwork me,” McSorley said. “They’re gonna have to drag me off the field.”
Who is playing in Super Bowl 2023: TV/live stream info, date, start time, super bowl franchise history, and more
After a hard-fought regular season, the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs have punched their tickets to Super Bowl 2023 taking place Sunday, February 12 at 6:30 PM ET at State Farm Stadium–home of the Arizona Cardinals–in Glendale, Arizona. Jalen Hurts and the Eagles dominated the San Francisco 49ers with a 31-7 win in the NFC Championship Game to make their first Super Bowl Appearance since the 2017 season when they last hoisted the Lombardi Trophy.
The Philadelphia Eagles and the Kansas City Chiefs.
Who is the home team in Super Bowl 2023 and how is it determined?
The Philadelphia Eagles are the home team in Super Bowl 2023. The designated home team alternates each year between the NFC and AFC champions. If it is as odd-numbered Super Bowl, the NFC team is the designated home team. If it as even-numbered Super Bowl, the AFC team is the designated home team.
Which teams have been eliminated from the 2023 NFL Playoffs?
The Seattle Seahawks, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, Los Angeles Chargers, Baltimore Ravens, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Giants, Buffalo Bills, Dallas Cowboys, San Francisco 49ers and Cincinnati Bengals have all been eliminated from the 2023 NFL playoffs.
How many Super Bowls have the Eagles won in franchise history?
The Eagles have won just one Super Bowl title in franchise history, however, Super Bowl LVII will be their fourth Super Bowl appearance in franchise history.
Patrick Mahomes, quarterback, Kansas City. Dealing with a high ankle sprain and missing multiple receivers, Mahomes did what he’s done over and over again in his remarkable NFL career: He excelled, innovated and propelled Kansas City to the win. Mahomes went 29 for 43 for 326 yards and two touchdowns and showed poise and mobility despite the injury, as on his perfectly-placed 19-yard touchdown pass to Marquez Valdes-Scantling in the third and his end-of-game scramble for the first down that positioned the Chiefs for the winning field goal (with the help of some unnecessary roughness). In Mahomes’ career as the starter, Kansas City has never exited the playoffs before the Conference Championships, and now they’re headed to their third Super Bowl appearance in the last four seasons.
Defensive players of the week
Haason Reddick, linebacker, Philadelphia. In the first 11 minutes of the NFC game, Reddick wrecked it. Eight minutes in, Reddick steamed in on Brock Purdy and hit his arm just as he began the act of throwing; it was ruled an incomplete pass and changed to a sack, forced fumble and turnover upon review. That play knocked Purdy from the game with what appeared to be an elbow injury. On the second play of the next series, with backup Josh Johnson in the game, an unblocked Reddick smothered Johnson for a nine-yard loss, and the Niners had to punt two plays later. So, early on, Reddick, the Temple product playing on his home college field, spoiled the first two 49er drives and drove the starting quarterback from the game. That’s one heck of an impact game for the first-year Eagle.
Chris Jones, defensive tackle, Kansas City. In his seven-season career, Chris Jones had never tallied a postseason sack entering Sunday night’s game. In the electric atmosphere at Arrowhead Stadium, he took down Burrow not once but twice, including a sack on third and eight in the final minute of the fourth quarter that ended the Bengals’ shot at a go-ahead scoring drive and got the Chiefs the ball back for the game-winning field goal. Jones was a powerhouse all night, a difference-maker in a close game. Not hard to argue that KC isn’t headed to the Super Bowl without him.
Special teams player of the week
Harrison Butker, kicker, Kansas City. His 45-yard field goal, fighting through the Arrowhead Stadium wind, made it by four or five yards and dropped on the ground with three seconds left, giving Kansas City a 23-20 win over the Bengals. Kick of his career.
Coach of the week
Nick Sirianni, head coach, Philadelphia. His decision to go for it twice on fourth down in the first half helped the Eagles score touchdowns on each. On fourth-and-three from the Niners’ 35-yard line, with the Eagles in long field-goal range, Sirianni called a pass play and Jalen Hurts hit DeVonta Smith for 29 yards (although a closer look might have found the pass incomplete); the Eagles scored their first TD two plays later. On fourth-and-one from the Philly 34 with the game tied at 7, Sirianni chose to go for it, and Hurts sneaked for two … and five minutes later, the Eagles scored to go up 14-0. A good day at the controls for the coach in his first conference title game.
Goats of the week
Joseph Ossai, defensive end, Cincinnati. His clear late hit on Patrick Mahomes out of bounds with eight seconds left in a 20-20 tie merited a 15-yard flag and advanced the ball from the Bengals’ 42-yard line to the 27-yard line … and turned a 60-yard field-goal try for Harrison Butker into a 45-yarder. Just a terrible mistake at the worst time for Cincinnati.
Replay assist, Replay official/New York officiating command center, NFC Championship Game. “Replay assist” is in its second season of use in the NFL. The replay official in the stadium—Jamie Nicholson in this case—or NFL senior VP of officiating Walt Anderson, working from New York, can see an error on the field and call down to the ear of ref John Hussey and tell him the call on the field is wrong. Twice in the first quarter, replay assist likely had enough evidence to fix plays without a coach throwing a challenge flag. The first one was huge—a fourth-and-three pass play from Jalen Hurts to DeVonta Smith for 29 yards that, on further review, appeared clearly to be a trapped or compromised catch by Smith. San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan didn’t challenge it; it very likely would have been overturned, and the NFL’s sophisticated Hawkeye replay system would have caught it quickly. Same with the second call, an Eagles-challenged incomplete pass by Brock Purdy that turned into a strip-sack instead. The system installed is only as good as the people using it, and it’s clear that at least the Smith play could have been seen and fixed in real time by the replay assist system.
Hidden person of the week
Isaac Seumalo, right guard, Philadelphia. On the Eagles’ first series of the NFC title game, Seumalo sealed off 319-pound San Francisco tackle Javon Kinlaw (with help from center Jason Kelce), opening a wide hole for Miles Sanders to sprint six yards in the space formerly occupied by Kinlaw. Just another example of why the Eagles’ offensive line is the NFL’s best: On the first drive of the biggest game of the year, the line helped pave the way for an 11-play, 66-yard TD drive, ending in a display of power that bruising games like this one require.
The Jason Jenkins Award
Jeff Kamis, former director of media relations, Tampa Bay. Kamis was one of my favorite PR people in the time I’ve covered the NFL. Thorough, professional, and helpful, he was the PR chief when the Gruden Bucs won their first Super Bowl. But now, tragedy has entered his life. Kamis’ 16-year-old son Jacob, a star student and aspiring pilot, took his own life seven months ago. He suffered from severe depression. In the midst of their grief, Jeff Kamis and Jacob’s mother Katherine turned their attention to helping other young people suffering from the debilitating disease, as described in this piece done by the Tampa ABC affiliate:
Jeff helped organize a three-day event in Tampa last week called “Lifting the Cloud: A focus on teen mental health.” And in the TV story, he talked about his son nobly: “He didn’t let the illness define who he was as a person. He fought it. He did everything he could to do everything he could to find out why it was happening and to figure out how to get better. I mean, he was sick. I’ll always be so proud of him for being a fighter.”
I spoke to Jeff Kamis Sunday morning, sending along my sympathy for this impossible situation. He said, “Every morning when I wake up, I think, ‘What would Jacob tell me to do?’“