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We will remember Nick Foles’ catch not only for its greatness, but for what it symbolized

The play will go down in history because of what it meant in the moment, and what it stood for.

Super Bowl LII - Philadelphia Eagles v New England Patriots Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The best thing about close Super Bowl games is that you get that one play, that defining play that becomes the image of the game. The play that wraps up all the narratives of the season and can be easily packaged as a cliche for the spirit of the NFL. That picture of the triumphant individual. We’ve had the Malcolm Butler interception, the David Tyree and Santonio Holmes catches, the Marcus Allen reverse run, and the Mike Jones tackle. It’s the moment that keeps us watching the games, the moment that every athlete dreams of growing up.

The play that defined this Super Bowl came right before halftime. The Eagles ran a trick play on fourth-and-1 inside the red zone that saw Nick Foles catch a wide-open touchdown that put his team up 22-12.

At the time it was incredible, but in retrospect, that one instance symbolizes so many things. It represents the coaching style of Doug Pederson — that he called plays to win, in contrast to many NFL coaches who are happier to play defensively and would rather take the safe field goal than risk failure. There was another similar courageous fourth-down call in the fourth quarter that moved the Eagles into the position to kick the field goal that would put them up by eight points. It was around midfield and even Cris Collinsworth was unsure of the idea. The Foles catch was not only brilliant, it acts as an entry point to Pederson’s tactics for the game, his philosophy for the whole season, and his unrelenting trust in his players.

That catch is also so iconic because it reminds us of the impossibility of Nick Foles. Thrust into the spotlight after an injury to the Eagles’ franchise quarterback Carson Wentz, and less than a year removed from being cut and contemplating retirement, Foles didn’t just manage the games to get his team to the Super Bowl, he was oftentimes spectacular.

Foles was brilliant under the brightest of lights and against Tom Brady. Brady was having a historic night ... and Foles stayed with him. Not only did he hold his own, but he did what Brady couldn’t. The Patriots had a similar play earlier in the game but when the pass came to a wide-open Brady, the Patriots quarterback dropped his. By being sure-handed when called upon, Foles turned himself into a legend unlike any other. He became the first quarterback in history with a receiving and passing touchdown in the Super Bowl and he beat Brady and the Patriots with their own play.

Beyond the QB and the coach, the catch works as a great way to look at this Philadelphia championship and how it was accomplished. This city had belief that bordered on recklessness. This team and this city had a do-or-die attitude that didn’t know fear because there was essentially nothing to lose. They had trust within the group that allowed for mistakes and thus great ambition. You could set that catch to the “Dreams and Nightmares” song by Meek Mill that the team treasures so much and it would be perfectly fitting. Everything from the play call, the story of Foles, Pederson’s idea on how to approach the game, the entire Eagles team going toe-to-toe with the Patriots, and then winning their first Super Bowl under all of these conditions, can be summed by the first few lyrics of the song:

I used to pray for times like this, to rhyme like this/So I had to grind like that to shine like this.

It’s cliched but that’s what those magical moments are for. In time it will become worn out: The NFL will endlessly replay it while talking about coaching genius, trusting in your guys, being ready when called upon, thinking outside of the box, waiting for your opportunity, and whatever else they can use to sell the league. It will become nothing more than a marketing tool, no different than the repetitive narrative of Brady being a sixth-round pick who did bad at the combine.

Still, right now the catch means something very substantial. It represents all of those ideas and beliefs, still — not the bland, commercial versions of them. After the game, Pederson talked with his team about their disagreements on small things like the dress code and his calls for discipline ... before reminding them that their win is a reward for the understanding of the necessity of those small things. That play even symbolizes that, as the team believed in the leadership of the coach who then trusted and gave his players chances to shine.

Eagles fans celebrate the Super Bowl win