Super Bowl LII: Eagles take it!

The Philadelphia Eagles defeat the New England Patriots at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.


  • J. Lo shout-outs A-Rod, covers Prince at pre-Super Bowl show

     
    By MESFIN FEKADU, AP Music Writer
     
    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Jennifer Lopez raised money for Hurricane Maria victims in Puerto Rico, celebrated an anniversary with beau Alex Rodriguez and covered Prince songs at a pre-Super Bowl concert in Minneapolis.

    Lopez headlined the DIRECTV NOW Super Saturday Night concert, working the stage with sizzling and sharp dance moves and singing hits like "I'm Real" and "Love Don't Cost a Thing."
     
    She changed at least seven times during the nearly two-hour concert: She started in a body suit and then switched to a loose jersey that read "J LO" and the No. 13 — one of the many odes to A-Rod.
     
    When she performed her new dance single "Us," released on Friday, she said worked on the song a year ago — around the time she started dating the former New York Yankee player. Lopez also used a baseball bat as a prop during "Jenny from the Block."
     
    Though Super Bowl 52 is happening Sunday, when the New England Patriots take on the Philadelphia Eagles, Lopez said "the big show is tonight."
     
    "You get full time, you get over time ... we can do whatever we want to do. There are no censors, ain't no time delay. We came to play," she said.
     
    She sported a dramatic, long fur-like coat during a dance break for "If You Had My Love," weaving in a bit of Sheila E's "The Glamorous Life."
     
    Appropriately, she sang a medley of Prince songs for the Minneapolis crowd — including "When Doves Cry" and "Darling Nikki" — and even slide across the stage on her knees while a guitarist gave his best impression of The Purple One. It earned roars from the crowd.
     
    Lopez, 48, also covered Aretha Franklin's "Respect"; danced to Cardi B's "Bodak Yellow" and Camila Cabello's "Havana"; was joined by Ne-Yo for a duet of "All I Have"; and let DJ Khaled work the audience up while she changed outfits.
     
    At one point she said, "We need something sexy for the sexy people from Minneapolis," and was joined by shirtless male dancers. In a lingerie ensemble, she danced sensually on a chair as red lights shined onto the stage.
    She closed the set with a festive vibe with "Let's Get Loud," as her dancers played congos and pyrotechnics burst in the air.
     
    Saturday's concert raised awareness for post-Hurricane Maria relief and recovery effort in Puerto Rico. AT&T said it would match charitable contributions up to $200K to the Hispanic Federation, and it would give a $1 donation to the Hispanic Federation for every tweet using the hashtag #JLoNOW.
     
    Lopez said she wanted "to help all of our friends in Puerto Rico who are still trying to rebuild their lives."
    "Together we can do great things," she told the audience.
     
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  • Hey Minnesota, here's our Super Bowl preview. If you want it

    The only two guys at MPR News willing to stick their necks out predicting football stuff give us their takes on what to look for in the Super Bowl, and who'll win. (Yeah, we know.)
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  • Matchups for the Super Bowl between the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots

    Super Bowl 52 Football
     

    FILE - In this Dec. 6, 2015, file photo, the New England Patriots, right, and the Philadelphia Eagle get set for the snap at the line of scrimmage during an NFL football game at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. The two teams are set to meet in Super Bowl 52 on Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018, in Minneapolis. (Winslow Townson/AP Images for Panini via AP, File)

     

    When the Eagles (15-3) have the ball

    The Patriots must be wary of a balanced offense that tore apart Minnesota, which has a better overall defense than does New England. Forget about Nick Foles (9) being a backup quarterback; his postseason performances, particularly in the NFC title game, have been strong.

    Foles will try to get TE Zach Ertz (86) involved early; he was unstoppable against the Vikings. Indeed, the Eagles have three tight ends they are comfortable going to, including Brent Celek (87) and Trey Burton (88). That places an onus on safeties Devin McCourty (32), as reliable as any player at that position in the league, and Patrick Chung (23).

    Philadelphia's wideouts supposedly were a weakness heading into the season. Not quite. Alshon Jeffery (17) is a clear No. 1 target with excellent hands and the ability to get open all over the field. That frees up vastly improved Nelson Agholor (13) and veteran Torrey Smith (82). They will challenge the Patriots' solid cornerbacks, Malcolm Butler (21) and Stephon Gilmore (24).

    New England's defensive backs will need a bolstered pass rush, something the Patriots manufacture with a variety of players, from Trey Flowers (98) to Geneo Grissom (96) to Lawrence Guy (93) to rookie Adam Butler (70) to the rejuvenated LB James Harrison (92). Philly is most staunch at center with Jason Kelce (62) and right tackle with Lane Johnson (65), both All-Pros.

    One thing the Eagles are sure to try to keep New England's offense on the sideline is getting Jay Ajayi (36), former Patriot LeGarrette Blount (29) and rookie Corey Clement (30) some open space for runs. New England LB Kyle Van Noy (53) figures to have a busy day unless Philly falls behind.

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    When the Patriots (15-3) have the ball

    Tom Brady (12) has won five Super Bowls, four times as game MVP. Never mind that he is 40, he's playing as if he's in his prime — hey, he might be — and will test Philadelphia's versatile defense from the outset.

    Oddly, while Brady led the NFL with 4,577 passing yards, no QB who paced the NFL in that category has won the Super Bowl in that season, going 0-5. Brady couldn't do it, and the others were Peyton Manning, Rich Gannon, Kurt Warner and Dan Marino.

    It's essential that the Eagles get in Brady's face throughout. That means DLs Fletcher Cox (91), the best defensive player in this postseason, Brandon Graham (55), rookie Derek Barnett (96) and former Patriot Chris Long (56) must apply pressure. That's doable but not easy against an offensive line without any stars, but with plenty of skill. LT Nate Solder (77) and C David Andrews (60) are the key guys up front.

    Philly must be alert not only for all of Brady's targets — WRs Brandon Cooks (14), Danny Amendola (80), Chris Hogan (15), RBs James White (28) and Dion Lewis (33) — but for Lewis and White in the running game. Both are shifty and flexible and have Brady's trust.

    The Eagles' secondary, often criticized for its inconsistency, has gotten very stingy in the playoffs. Of course, CBs Ronald Darby (41), Jalen Mills (31) and Patrick Robinson (21) haven't faced this kind of offense.

    Perhaps most critical among all matchups is whether All-Pro TE Rob Gronkowski (87) has recovered from a concussion. His confrontations with veteran S Malcolm Jenkins (27) could be telling.

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    Special Teams

    Patriots K Stephen Gostkowski (3) rebounded from a rough 2016 to have a strong season. He made 37 out of 40 field goals in the regular season, going 4 for 4 on kicks of 50 or more yards. He is one of the league's most clutch kickers and is third in career postseason points in NFL history.

    Lewis is the only player in this game to have returned a kickoff for a touchdown this season. He ranked fourth in the NFL with 24.8 yards per return.

    Amendola is also a threat on punt returns. He averaged 8.6 yards per return during the regular season, including a long of 40 yards, and had a big one against Jacksonville in the AFC title game.

    Philadelphia's Jake Elliott (4) set a postseason club record with a 53-yard field goal and has longer range than Gostkowski. But he is less reliable on extra points, having missed four.

    P Donnie Jones (8) ranked 17th in net average and Kenjon Barner (38) filled in nicely after Darren Sproles was injured. Barner's best punt return went for 76 yards.

    Coverage units are solid despite losing special-teams captain Chris Maragos.

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    Coaching

    Philly was in attack mode from the outset against Minnesota, and that's a good reflection on Doug Pederson and his staff. Pederson knows he can't back off against New England, and defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz is known for being aggressive.

    Not much has to be said about a New England staff that is 5-2 in Super Bowls. A twist, not unprecedented but interesting, has both coordinators, Matt Patricia on defense and Josh McDaniels on offense, bound for head coaching spots elsewhere. Don't look for it to have any effect on this game.

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    Intangibles

    The Eagles have never won a Super Bowl; their previous NFL title was in 1960. They have that extra edge that perennial underdogs — even in home playoff games as the No. 1 seed — would carry. Their confidence is soaring after they tore apart the stingiest scoring defense in the league for the conference championship.

    New England probably doesn't need anything in this category. But the Patriots always seem to find some extra motivation, and it usually works.

     

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  •  

    Super Bowl fans, leave your parka behind!

    Hey visitors! If you want to try on a little Minnesota nice, take off your coat and leave it behind when you go.
     
    MINNEAPOLIS - It is not breaking news that Minnesota in February is cold, really, really cold!

    And Nancy Killilea wants to take the clothes right off your back.

    “Yes, yes I will,” she exclaimed while bursting into laughter.

    It’s not as weird as it sounds. Killilea says she was watching local news coverage of the Super Bowl and saw an interview with a man from Texas who said he’d invested in boots rated to -20 degrees, which he’d never wear after he left Minnesota.

    “And I thought, well that seems awful!” She added, “We have a lot of people here who could use it.”

    The next morning, she had an idea.

    “I don’t know anybody, I’m not connected to anybody but I sent emails to everybody I could think of,” Killilea said.

    Her idea – a campaign called #PassYourParka – encouraging Super Bowl fans heading home to warmer climates to leave their winter layers behind.

    “Totally made it up!” said Killilea, “I totally made it up, and luckily people thought it was a good idea.”

    Among those who liked the idea was State Representative Dario Anselmo (R) 49A, who connected her with local business leaders. In a matter of just days, #PassYourParka was up and running with Facebook and Twitter pages.

     

     

    Thirteen hotels in the downtown area have allowed #PassYourParka to set up donation stations in their lobbies where travelers can leave behind their winter gear for donation to St. Stephen’s Human Services and House of Charity.

    “It’s called pass your parka but we’ll take anything,” Killilea said. “Hats and mittens, socks, anything that’s going to keep somebody warm this winter.”

    Participating hotels include Marriott City Center, Hyatt Regency, Loews Hotel, Millennium Hotel, Hilton Minneapolis, AC Hotel Minneapolis and the Crown Plaza North Star in Downtown Minneapolis.

    So, if you want to try on a little Minnesota nice, take off your coat and leave it behind when you go.

    “You know what,” Killilea said, “to be honest with you I thought if I get one jacket it’s good, right, because I wasn’t sure at first if this was a good idea or not. Now I want to see those 13 boxes teeming!”

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  • Cold and calm, for the most part

     
    Minneapolis city officials report no major public safety incidents so far during Super Bowl week. A spokesperson at the city’s Joint Information Center reported 75 arrests between January 26 and this morning. That’s a decrease of 42 arrests over the same period last year.
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  • Super Bowl 2018: Eagles-Patriots kickoff time, where to watch, how to stream and more

    Get everything you need to know before kick-off, including how to stream the game for free.
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  • Super Bowl disruptions more than just annoyance for Mpls. homeless residents

    For Minnesotans with the fewest resources, a Super Bowl in subzero weather can be more than a minor disruption. Some of downtown Minneapolis' homeless residents say the changes there are straining their coping skills.
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  • Metro LRT Vs bus graphic showing the number of people light rail can move as opposed to a Metro bus.

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  • Speaking of transportation, take a look at the Uber surges from yesterday. 
    Sure to be worse today. 
    Officials continue to implore everyone: Leave early and be patience. The lines are already long and growing.
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  • ICYMI:
    For all you cord-cutters out there who want to watch the game 

    Super Bowl 2018: Eagles-Patriots kickoff time, where to watch, how to stream and more

    Get everything you need to know before kick-off, including how to stream the game for free.
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  • Become the master of chip bowl banter by knowing halftime show history


     

    From Grambling State to Lady Gaga: The Super Bowl halftime show’s humble history

    Before Super Bowl halftimes were taken over by production companies and pop stars, they were headlined by a marching band that 'brought soul to the mix.'
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  • Yet another reminder on road closures around U.S. Bank Stadium.
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  • The Durkin family from Rhode Island was standing in line at the Mall of America waiting to go through security and get on the light rail to head to the stadium and they were beyond confident the Patriots were going to take another win home.  Jim Durkin (pictured far left) has been to all the Super Bowl games the Patriots have played in and high praise for his Minnesota experience. "I've loved it. The Mall of America is great,'' said Durkin with his son, Jack (pictured second from left). "Everything is very organized. The airport has been great. The shuttles have been great. The trains have been great. And he added, referring to the volunteers: "All these people in blue jackets are great." They are joined by Tyrone White (pictured on the far right), the father of James White, who is a running back for the Patriots.

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  • Who are you cheering for: Team Ruff or Team Fluff?

    Animal Planet's much anticipated Super Bowl Sunday is kicking off at 2 p.m. CST. So break out the chips and dips for a cuteness overload. 

    It's the 14th Puppy Bowl, with 33 shelters participating to provide animals. Most are adopted by the time the show airs.

    To watch: You have to have a cable log-in and subscription to watch the show on Animal Planet.

    Don't have Animal Planet to watch this year? You can watch last year's highlight reels here:

    Starting lineup for this year: 

    Puppy Bowl XIV Starting Lineup

    Animal Planet They've come from all over the country, aiming for puppy greatness. Now meet the 35 pups taking the game by storm in Puppy Bowl XIV!

     

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  • Super Bowl ticket holders find long wait at the Mall of America to get to game 

    MPR News Staff
    Eagles fan Bryan McKernan of Annapolis, Maryland is originally from Philadelphia.  He and a fellow Marine got tickets to the game four days ago. They flew to Milwaukee Saturday and drove through the snow to get here. McKernan says Eagles fans get a bad rap, but they just want to win the Super Bowl for the first time.
     
    "People are hard working. They're blue collar. Not a lot of people are rich that came here, people have probably sold their whole savings to come to this game because it's that important and they're that passionate. They may come off as really rough people but they're not. They're super kind, they're super loving. They're family people, it's a big family and - just wanna win."
     
    McKernan said when the Eagles lost the Super Bowl to the Patriots in 2005, it was devastating, so they're hoping for a win today.
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  • It’s the tenth anniversary of Prince’s legendary Super Bowl halftime show

    Prince performs at the 2007 Super Bowl (ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)

    On Feb. 4, 2007, Prince took the stage at Dolphin Stadium for what would become remembered as one of the greatest Super Bowl halftime shows ever.

    “There was a feeling that nobody knew what surprise this sexy MF would bust out next,” writes Rolling Stone. “At a high-profile event like the Super Bowl, it was a historic blast of rock & roll arrogance. Total mastery. Total cool.”

    “He went We Will Rock You < Let's Go Crazy < Baby I'm A Star < Proud Mary < All Along the Watchtower < Best of You < Purple Rain for his set," notes Fox Sports. “That’s a Queen cover, Tina Turner cover, Bob Dylan cover, an odd Foo Fighters cover and three songs from his masterwork, Purple Rain. Game, blouses.”

    Keyboardist Morris Hayes recalls that day, in a reminisce published in Billboard. “It was raining when it was time to go on,” Hayes remembers, “but it wasn’t raining hard enough to stop us. The producer asked if we were okay, and Prince was like, ‘Can you make it rain harder?'”

    The most infamous moment in the set was the fabric silhouette, in which Prince held his guitar in a manner that suggested…well, you know.

    “Did he plan the silhouette?” Hayes writes. “Well, this is the kind of thing Prince would do: One time we were talking about [Prince’s show-stealing guitar solo at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony], and he told me, ‘I went easy on ’em in the rehearsal, but I figured when the show came, I was gonna let ’em have it!’ He did that a lot: ‘I’m not gonna let ’em see everything I’ve got.’ And I’m sure he said in his mind, ‘When they put up the silhouette, I’mma have somethin’ for ’em!'”

    After triumphing through the rain, that was it for the band’s instruments. “Oddly enough, everything worked until the show was over — and then, once we turned [the instruments] off, they wouldn’t turn back on again. They were dead. We autographed them and auctioned them off to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.”

    The NFL has now published a video of the halftime show, so you can revisit the performance in all its glory (with some rude interruptions by sources reminiscing about that day). This year’s Super Bowl is in Texas, and a lawmaker has introduced a resolution commemorating the anniversary.

    Next year, of course, hometown fans will be remembering Prince as well. “It’s really too bad he’s not around,” muses Hayes. “In 2018 the Super Bowl is going to be in Minneapolis. It would have been amazing to see him back in his hometown.”

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