PHOENIX — Haason Reddick has been a force for the Philadelphia Eagles this season. He had 16 sacks. He added three and a half more in the playoffs.
There were some things missing though. No first-team All-Pro selections. No finalists for NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
And, according to Reddick, maybe some respect among the best defenders in the game.
“I go back and forth on that answer. Every person is entitled to their opinion and ultimately my numbers don’t lie,” Reddick said Wednesday. all the excuses they want, say what they want, in the end my football, my game speaks for itself”.
Reddick seemed a little annoyed that his third straight season of double-digit layoffs hadn’t gotten his due. Making a few plays in Super Bowl LVII could fix that.
Reddick could be one of the stars of Sunday’s Super Bowl. Von Miller is the last defensive player to win Super Bowl MVP. Reddick is capable of being next.
Haason Reddick has a great season
Reddick’s biggest obstacle to being Super Bowl LVII’s breakout star is that there are other Eagles defensive linemen who could beat him against Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
The Eagles have had 70 sacks this season. The 1984 Chicago Bears hold the NFL record with 72 in a season. Four Eagles have had double-digit sacks, which is an NFL record. The Eagles’ pass rush is a huge part of the team’s success and a huge factor in the Super Bowl matchup against the Chiefs.
“You always start up front,” said defensive forward Javon Hargrave, who has suffered 11 sacks this season. “It’s important for us to stop the game and try not to make things easy for them.”
The Eagles realized that you can never have enough pass rushers, which is why they spent big on Reddick when he was a free agent last season.
Reddick was coming off an 11-sack season for the Carolina Panthers, and luckily for the Eagles he wanted to go home. Reddick was born in Camden, NJ and played college at Temple.
“Making a childhood dream come true, man,” Reddick said. “I wanted to have the opportunity to go home. I watched them grow up and had the opportunity to go home and play for my hometown team.”
It was a perfect match.
Reddick returns home
The $45 million the Eagles paid Reddick for a three-year deal helped seal the homecoming as well. That deal now looks like a deal.
The Eagles got an elite pass rusher at a reasonable price, considering the market at the position. Reddick was thrilled with how his first season in Philadelphia turned out.
“Definitely,” said Reddick. “Even more from a team point of view. I always believed in myself and wanted to improve every year, but from a team point of view, I didn’t think we would be like this.”
The offenses will get the most attention in Super Bowl LVII, and for good reason. The Chiefs and Eagles each have a top three offense in the NFL, with star quarterbacks leading them.
Defenses have playmakers too, and Reddick could be the hottest defender on either team.
Reddick was huge in the NFC Championship game, with 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble and 1 fumble recovery. When he hit San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy’s arm on a passing pass in the first quarter, he injured Purdy’s elbow and temporarily knocked him out of the game, also forcing a crucial fumble near midfield. That game transformed the NFC title game.
Reddick also has the ability to make the Super Bowl his stage, and maybe get some of the respect he thinks it deserves.
“We knew a lot about him, but I guess we didn’t know that that was the case,” said Hargrave. “It’s just the engine of him. He might fall, trip, crash, and still get up and play the game. He just won’t stop.”