Super Bowl Hero Details Family’s ‘Tough’ Fight with COVID-19

Brandon Graham

Getty Brandon Graham made arguably the biggest play in Eagles history.

Brandon Graham famously made the game-sealing strip-sack on Tom Brady in Super Bowl LII. He knows a thing or two about having an advantage.

While teams around the NFL are scrambling to adjust to the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, Graham thinks his team might have a distinct advantage. Things like bizarre virtual workouts, crash courses in the playbook for rookies, along with no spring OTAs and abbreviated training camps, are the new normal.

Meanwhile, Doug Pederson is the longest-tenured coach in the NFC East and one of only nine coaches in the NFL to win a Super Bowl. If any team is equipped to deal with the novel coronavirus, it’s the Philadelphia Eagles. It’s a bold theory but one that makes a ton of sense.

“We got the same coach, all we got to do is make sure we take this offseason like we supposed to — and work your butt off and when we get back, coach will take us slow through this thing before we really start getting after it,” Graham told reporters on a video conference call. “I’m really excited more so than anything because I feel like when stuff like this happens, it only makes us stronger for the future.”

Of course, the follow-up question for Graham was if he himself was preparing any differently for the great unknown of the 2020 season. Nope. The 11-year veteran is “all-in” because he honestly believes the Eagles have an advantage on everyone else.

“Man, I’m all in because it’s all about having an advantage and I feel like we got an advantage right now,” Graham said. “I’m looking at it the same way because I’m trying to win a ring and when this stuff calms down, that ring still going to mean something.”

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Graham Impacted Tragically by COVID-19 Pandemic

No other player on the Eagles’ roster has been impacted more by the novel coronavirus than Graham. The defensive end has lost two aunts to COVID-19 while watching another aunt fight through the virus and survive. He understands the importance of listening to health-care professionals before lifting social distancing guidelines better than anyone.

Graham lost his grandmother’s sister (on his father’s side) to the virus, then watched his dad’s friend’s wife — a close friend to the family who was considered an aunt — fall victim o the unforgiving disease.

“That was tough because she went from talking to us every day to no response and then one day later, she gone,” Graham said. “It got bad real fast. That’s still tough. We understand that’s part of life but it’s just tough for the family right now.”

His dad’s sister was also in the hospital with COVID-19 but she survived the ordeal. Despite all the heartbreak, Graham made it clear that getting back to normal is paramount. He refuses to live in fear and isn’t afraid to play football in 2020. When the NFL makes the announcement that it’s safe to play, Graham will be ready and willing.

“Number one, I don’t want to live in fear. I’m going to trust the NFL, that when they say it’s time to go, that they really are for our best interests,” Graham said. “Because that’s what we got to do. In order for us to have some type of normal, in this situation.”

Although the Michigan native did admit that he’d probably pull back on the bro-hugs.

“Yeah, there’s going to be a lot of timidness, not a lot of bro hugs,” Graham said. “But, you got to trust that everybody is doing the right things. I think I’m going to try to be as normal as I can. Be safe.”

What Would a Football Game Without Fans Sound Like?

One other question Graham addressed is what would a football game without fans actually sound like? Well, he likened it to a scrimmage or pick-up game.

There will be a lot of colorful terminology that the average fan may not be accustomed to, in the form of trash talking. If the networks plan to televise games without fans, then they better alert the censors.

“It’s going to be a lot of riff-raff and a lot of stuff on the sidelines that you don’t normally hear,” Graham said. “It’s just going to be like a scrimmage where you’re practicing against these boys during the week. That’s what it’s going to sound like that. A lot of trash talking when you score touchdowns and get big hits.”

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