If you were one of the 103 million people to watch Super Bowl LII, you’re probably aware of the Philadelphia Eagles’ upset win over the New England Patriots. The high scoring game matched two gunslingers with record setting performances: Tom Brady – arguably the GOAT of quarterbacks – against the ascendant, back-up quarterback Nick Foles. In the lead-up and aftermath to the big game, Sports Illustrated featured Foles on their Jan 29 and Feb 12 issues. Let’s take a look!
Sports Illustrated predicted that the Patriots would beat the Eagles 27-16, and logically listed Foles as the “Ultimate Underdog.” PhotoShelter The List photographer Rob Tringali got the cover with his tight image of Foles calling out the play before the snap. Great timing on the expression, and the clarity is fantastic. You can even see the outline of Foles’ mouthguard. Nice bokeh!
At the end of the 1st half, the Eagles ran a trick play called “The Philly Special.” Instead of Foles taking the snap, the ball went to running back Cory Clement who lateraled the ball to tight end Trey Burton. In the ensuing confusion, Foles moved to the end zone without coverage and caught an easy pass for the touchdown. It was the first touchdown pass completion to a quarterback in Super Bowl history.
Long time SI photographer David Klutho’s image of Foles stepping further into the endzone made this week’s cover. Obviously without the context of the game, the image is nearly meaningless. Foles’ leg position is good, but his pose is otherwise unremarkable. But a “jube” (aka jubilation) shot only needs to convey emotion to be successful, and wide receiver Torrey Smith’s expression and pose with his arms raised arguably makes the image successful. There’s separation between the two players and Smith is in-focus enough to make the image work.
Verdict: Both images are successful. But context matters, and the context of Philly’s win punctuated by Foles’ touchdown makes Klutho’s image the “winner” in this cover comparison.