MARK COLLINS, FORMER TWO TIME SUPER BOWL CHAMPION WITH THE NEW YORK GIANTS TALKS SUPER BOWL LII.
By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
The stage is set. The New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles will square off in Super Bowl LII (52) on Feb. 4 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn. Kick-off is at 6 p.m. (ET/PT) on NBC.
Announcers Al Michaels and Chris Collinsworth will call the action along with sideline reporter Michele Tafoya.
The Patriots, led by the seemingly invincible, 40-year-old Tom Brady will make their 10th Super Bowl appearance. Let that sink in for a minute. No other team has played in the game more than eight times. And if the Patriots winóas of this writing they are favored by five pointsótheyíll tie the Pittsburgh Steelers all-time record.
We know how Brady and the Patriots made it back to the Super Bowl. They rallied from a 10-point, fourth-quarter deficit to beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 24-20 in the AFC championship game.
Can New England find a way to win again on Sunday?
Of course, not many people believe the Philadelphia Eagles have much of a chance without their star quarterback Carson Wentz who injured his knee. Now backup QB Nick Foles is thrust into the starting role.
The Eagles have made three Super Bowl appearances including this one (LII), but have never won. Thatís some pressure for Foles.
But the team has said in several interviews leading up to the game, theyíre embracing their underdog status.
While I donít have a dog in the race, I can sit and enjoy what I hope will be a close, hard-hitting and exciting Super Bowl.
Plus, most everyoneóeven those whose team didnít make it this year-- have an opinion as to who will win Super Bowl LII (52).
N2Entertainment.net had a chance to chat with former New York Giants star and two-time Super Bowl champion Mark Collins to get his thoughts on Super Bowl LII.
Collins, grew up in San Bernardino, California and was a standout cornerback at Pacific High School. In 1986, he was a second-round draft pick out of Cal State-Fullerton and played eight seasons with the Giants. Collins started on both Super Bowl teams (XXI, 21) in 1987 and (XXV, 25) in 1991. He was in the starting lineup for 104 of his 112 games with the Giants.
Throughout his stellar NFL career, which also included stints with the Kansas City Chiefs (1995-1996), the Green Bay Packers (1997) and the Seattle Seahawks (1998), Collins became known as a fearless, Shut Down cornerback thus cementing his legacy as a preeminent star of the NFL.
Speaking by phone from his home in Overland Park, Kan., Collins discussed what it will take for the Philadelphia Eagles to beat the high-flying New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII.
Q. Can anyone stop Tom Brady and The New England Patriots? Do the Philadelphia Eagles really have a chance at winning Super Bowl LII?
A. Well, yeah, Tom Brady is stoppable. Everybody has a chance. The Philadelphia Eagles are really rallying around the whole underdog thing. People hate winners and the Patriots win a lot. Itís the same thing with the New York Yankees. Theyíre hated by a lot of people because they win a lot. No matter how much you might hate the Patriots, you still have to give them credit. They are a very well coached and disciplined team who know how to make big plays and win games.
Q. What are some of the key things that the Philadelphia Eagles need to do to win?
A. They have to keep the clock running, take time off the clock. Control the ball. Iíll tell you, if Tom Brady has 15 seconds or 1:30 seconds on the clock, Philly needs to watch out. Weíve seen what heís capable of doing so many times before.
Q. Who really has the advantage in this game?
A. New England for sure and thatís because of last year and them being in the Super Bowl. Theyíve been there before. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick will get stopped once or twice. They are great at exposing wrinkles in the defense. If theyíre down, you can rest assured theyíre going to make adjustments and figure things out.
Q. As a former two-time Super Bowl champion with the New York Giants, you were praised throughout your career as a being a Shut Down cornerback. The New England Patriots have cornerbacks, Malcolm Butler, Stephon Gilmore, Johnson Badimosi and Cyrus Jones. Do these guys fit that Shut Down description?
A. I did everything pretty good. Malcolm Butler is very good, but they donít have a Shut Down guy. They donít have a lot of stars, but they still know how to find ways to make the smart plays that matter.
Q. What about the Philadelphia Eagles corners, Ronald Darby, Rasul Douglas, Sidney Jones and Jalen Mills?
A. Philly is a physical style team. I like that. Thatís how I played. My style was to be smart and always know what to do. I was never the finesse style Deion Sanders type of player. Here is the thing about the Eagles. They have a weakness up the middle with the safeties and linebackers. If Belichick finds and exposes it. New England will win.
Q. Is this going to be a high scoring game?
A. Iím predicting 27-24 Patriots.
Q. Are you going to the Super Bowl?
A. No, but I will be attending Mike Ditkaís big cigar party in Minneapolis on Feb. 1 with several other NFL players. For the Super Bowl, I will be in Las Vegas Feb. 3-5 enjoying the game with some friends in a hotel suite.
Q. Do you miss playing football and wish you were back on the field?
A. No, I actually donít. I played a total of 13 years in the NFL and 13 years is a lot of football. I was fortunate and blessed to get out of the game without any major injuries. What I do miss is the camaraderie of being in the locker room and hanging out with the guys. That part of it I miss.
Q. How has pro football changed since youíve been out of the game?
A. Well, itís a lot safer now than when I played. Back then you could hit a quarterback, but not now. Terry Bradshaw, Roger Staubach and those guys took a lot of hits. The game now is more of a passing league.
Q. Donít you think now that the quarterback gets too much protection?
A. Yeah, I do. But, I donít mind the rule changes as long as itís for the better of the game. During the 1980s and 1990s, the rules had evolved from the 1950s and 1960s. So, you have to look at it from that perspective.
Q. Since going out on top and retiring from the NFL, you stay pretty busy with your charity 25iveSports. Can you tell me about your organization?
A. It's an online college sports recruiting site that helps student athletes get sports scholarships who otherwise might get overlooked. Every kid deserves an opportunity from the high school quarterback, to the girl on the high school softball team. We have several new opportunities that we are finalizing for students that will be available later this year.
Q. Where can people find out more about 25iveSports?
A. At www.2fivesports.com.
Q. As a movie critic, Iíd be remiss if I didnít ask whatís your favorite football movie?
A. I would say ďRemember the TitansĒ with Denzel Washington. Itís exciting, the acting is good, but most of all, I like it because it was a movie that taught life lessons. Itís my favorite.
Editorís Note: Donít forget to tune in to Super Bowl LII (52) on Feb. 4 at 6 p.m. (ET/PT) on NBC.