Eagles’ legend Brandon Graham spoke to reporters on Thursday, and talked about making his second trip to the Super Bowl, and how this team started building toward this at the end of last season. He also talked about Tom Brady’s retirement and how the strip sack against the QB in the last Super Bowl changed his life and legacy.
Graham was asked about the comments made by Giants safety Julian Love, suggesting that anyone could coach a roster this talented to a Super Bowl.
“People always got something to say when they at home. They got some stuff to think about.
So, I ain’t really going to touch too much on it. I just know that Coach Sirianni — it don’t matter what he did last year, with a team that nobody thought was going to do much, he ended up getting us to the playoffs.”
Graham then pointed out that this year, Sirianni’s second year, he got better and the team did too, as they should. He noted that it’s on a team’s GM and staff to bring in guys that are going to help the team and create a spot that players want to sign.
“A lot of people are just made because of what happened this season, and I understand.” But, it definitely carried no weight, because Coach proves himself each and every day, and if you’re not in here, you wouldn’t really know that. So, it’s all lip service.”
Graham was asked when Sirianni grew on him, but the Eagles veteran said it happened immediately. The head coach had that introductory press conference that was heavily criticized, and was rightfully pissed about it, but that realness about the situation is what won over the DE. Sirianni was just a cool, down to Earth guy.
On making it to his 2nd Super Bowl
“It’s definitely a blessing,” Graham said of going to his second Super Bowl in six years. “It took me eight years to get to the first one.”
The Eagles veteran said that he’s just trying to enjoy these last two weeks of the season, and putting his best foot forward, like he and his teammates have done all year. Graham said he expected to get to one Super Bowl in his career, but two is exciting, and he credits the team’s consistency at working to get better everyday.
“Coach definitely led the way.”
Graham talked about the team starting to get hot when they made the playoffs last season. He said the team was already putting the pieces together, and then their offseason additions, and Jalen Hurts knowing he was the guy heading into his second season with Sirianni, all helped. Plus, BG explained that the defense didn’t have to spend as much time learning new things under Jonathan Gannon, since they already had that first year together. So, there were a lot of factors that built toward the success they’ve had.
As for what’s special about this particular Super Bowl appearance, Graham said:
“In Year 13, finally got double digits this year. I’m contributing to help the team as much as I can. So, this has been the best for me, because it’s just, who woulda thought in Year 13 I would still be here. After we won the Super Bowl that first time, and then how things went last year with me tearing my achilles, and now, coming off the achilles and having one of my best years and I’m not even playing half the snaps I’ve been playing in previous [years].”
Graham said that he’s been telling young players to make sure to enjoy their time during Super Bowl week, but to also make sure to focus when it’s time to work. They didn’t come this far to get embarrassed or to start playing around, they need to keep it consistent.
On Andy Reid
Brandon Graham called his former head coach a “real dude” who always handled his business. He admitted that Reid was old school, and didn’t really talk a lot, noting that their team meetings were about five minutes, with the head coach in and out and on with the day — by comparison, Graham said Sirianni’s team meetings go for about 20-30 minutes.
The DE did say that he was indebted to Reid for being part of drafting Graham to the Eagles back in 2010.
On Tom Brady and the strip sack
Graham talked about Brady finally retiring, with the DE saying he felt like this time was for real. He also was appreciative of his chance to beat Brady in the Super Bowl, and to be able to pull off the strip sack to seal the win.
“It’s definitely a life changer. It changed my life, because can’t nobody take that away. Going against [Tom] Brady in the Super Bowl, somebody who you know, puts daggers in peoples hearts in those drives, especially that last drive.”
Graham also said that he was really happy to be able to do something that big in his career, especially since things got off to a rocky start in his early years in Philly. To be able to do something like that in a Championship game for a town that had never won the Super Bowl, was really special. He said it changed how people looked at him as a player.
The Eagle pointed out that he and Brady are both Michigan alumni and run into each other at events, so he was happy the strip sack was against someone he could remind every so often.
On Jalen Hurts
At the end of the game Graham and Fletcher Cox were seen celebrating with Hurts, and Graham said that he was proud of the QB. There were plenty of doubters out there heading into this season, but Graham saw all the work Hurts did in the offseason, and knew he’d be prepared.
“I was just telling him, more, I appreciate him because all the things he had to overcome this year, and you didn’t see him get rattled, not one time. Man, I’m going to fight for a guy like that every time — somebody that just keep they nose clean, keep they head down and get to work.”