Super Bowl 52 saw the Philadelphia Eagles win their first title against the five-time champions New England Patriots 41-33 at the U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
It was a high scoring offensive game with over 1,000 yards run from both teams in the record-breaking tie.
The Eagles relied on a strong running game, with one of those running backs being London born Jay Ajayi, whose tough style of play contributed to Philadelphia’s stunning victory.
Ajayi, otherwise known as ‘Jay Train’ ran for 57 yards off nine carries, averaging an impressive 6.3 yards per carry.
Ajayi’s aggressive style of play saw him breaking tackles and causing some real issues for New England’s defence. Along with fellow running back LeGarrette Blount, both Ajayi and Blount amounted to 164 yards and a touchdown.
Ajayi was born in London in the Borough of Hackney and moved to Texas at a young age, he attended Boise State college where he later got drafted in the fifth round to the Miami Dolphins.
After a late draft selection Ajayi has proved to become a powerful affective running back who is also capable of making some catch plays. The 2016 season showed how quickly he had developed, gaining an impressive eight touchdowns as well as a spot in the Pro-Bowl team.
Ajayi was proving to be a key member of Miami’s offense but was surprisingly traded to the Eagles halfway through the season. He adjusted well to the Eagles system and seemed to be happy in a more team-oriented style of football. Although the presence of Blount meant Ajayi was not always the focal point of the run game, it certainly allowed him to have more success with the team, which was topped off with the ultimate goal of a Super Bowl ring.
Ajayi is the fifth London-born player to win the Super Bowl since two-time champion Osi Umonyiora. Prior to the game, Osi had told his fellow Brit “You have the entire United Kingdom on your back.” Some words of encouragement to the third year running back who was traded to the Eagles midway through the season.
Ajayi certainly didn’t disappoint his home town fans. Osi’s words of encouragement never seemed to faze the running back who stuck to the gameplay that brought him to the Super Bowl in the first place. “Don’t be tackled by anyone, you can’t be stopped out at there and go make plays.”
There were moments during the game where Ajayi had excited the fans with his big plays which resulted in high yardage completions. Facing the Patriots isn’t an easy thing to do, yet Ajayi made it look so simple.
Fresh from winning the Super Bowl, Ajayi’s homecoming will be even sweeter as the Philadelphia Eagles are set to face the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium later this year.
This will be a great matchup to look forward to as the Jaguars are London’s team. The Jaguars will still be the home team, but there is no doubt that Ajayi will return to a huge ovation and will have the crowd on his side for the whole game.
A proud moment for London fans of the game as Ajayi stood with a union jack flag over his shoulders, he shared how his journey made this win even more memorable. “It’s special. To know where I’ve come from, to know my roots. It’s rare to be in positions like this, coming from London, getting to the States and even being a Super Bowl champion.”
Ajayi also made clear that he wants to see more British players in the NFL after his victory.
London has already seen a boom in the number of people who are either taking part in American football or regularly viewing it and now with Ajayi bringing a Super Bowl championship home to play against an already popular ‘London team’ in Jacksonville, the popularity and amount of London players aiming for NFL stardom is likely to increase further.