The 2022 Philadelphia Eagles were just two sacks shy of tying the NFL single-season record and they registered at least one sack in 18 of their 19 games entering their Super Bowl LVII matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs.
However, despite generating 17 pressures and 12 hurries, the Eagles couldn’t get to Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes once.
Watching the tape from last night. Ive seen more guys slip in this game than in any game i ever watched…And im only in the 2nd quarter. Biggest stage and the NFL missed the mark big time #superbowl
— AQ Shipley (@aqshipley) February 13, 2023
And during a recent appearance on “Sports Take with Derrick Gunn & Rob Ellis,” defensive end Brandon Graham explained that the slippery field at State Farm Stadium was a big reason why. “You need that traction to be able to get off the block and we were slipping a lot,” Graham said.
“I don’t make excuses. I just know that that’s what was being talked about — us trying to get out of our own head a little bit, too. … I’m telling you that O-line, they got blessed; I’ll say that.”
Graham isn’t the first Eagles player to comment on the terrible field conditions in Arizona. Edge rusher Haasan Reddick, who’s 16 regular-season sacks ranked second in the NFL, was also critical of the playing surface in the Arizona Cardinals home venue of which the NFL spent a reported $800K to prep prior to the game.
“I’m not going to lie it was the worst field that I’ve ever played on,” Reddick said, via Zack Berman of The Athletic.
“… It was very disappointing, it’s the NFL. You would think it would be better so we could get some better play, but it is what it is.” Prior to the Super Bowl, Philly had at least one sack in 13 straight games.
Jordan Mailata said the field was “terrible.” He was sure to point out it was terrible for both teams, and Eagles/Chiefs players were talking with each other during TV timeouts about how bad it was. He said, “It was like playing on a water park.”
— Jimmy Kempski (@JimmyKempski) February 13, 2023
To be fair, of the 29 QBs that started 10 or more games last season, Mahomes was sacked the ninth-fewest times (26). The game wasn’t a complete shutout by the Chiefs offensive line; the Eagles had their moments. Graham confirmed that once he watched the game back, he saw several instances where the slickness of the field worked against Philly’s pass rush.
“When we looked at the film, man, it was a couple of times where it was if Sweaty don’t slip, boy, (there would’ve been a) strip sack,” Graham said. “Oh my God, especially that first drive when [Mahomes] threw it across the middle to Kelce. He was right there. He slipped. We could not believe it.”