• Timmy Jernigan makes a tackle during the NFC championship game. The defensive tackle from Lake City is in his first year with the Eagles (COURTESY).
    Timmy Jernigan makes a tackle during the NFC championship game. The defensive tackle from Lake City is in his first year with the Eagles (COURTESY).

Jernigan will lead the way on Super Sunday

Lake City native set for a big night

The whole world will get to know Timmy Jernigan a little better tonight. A star on Philly’s defensive line, he’s set for the biggest game of his life — and boy, I can’t wait to see him bury pretty boy Tom Brady (a sight that never gets old).

What was Baltimore thinking? The Ravens have looked like airheads since they traded Jernigan for a bag of chips in April. No worries, big boy has made the most of his new start in Philly, causing enough havoc to secure a $48 million payday. He isn’t the Eagles’ strongest defenseman, or the flashiest, but he’s a tireless worker, blue-collar kind of guy — something Lake City folks can appreciate. His hometown will be watching closely tonight, just waiting to get a glimpse of No. 93 on the field.

Today we put our allegiances aside. We’re not Jags fans, or Bucs fans. We’re Timmy fans — which means we’re going green, all in on the Eagles. So sit back, relax and watch the former Columbia High star take Philadelphia to the promise land.

Jernigan won’t just have a good game, but will play a big role tonight, and when it’s all over he’ll be showered in confetti, on stage hoisting the shiny Lombardi trophy, the first from this town to do so. 

I give the nod to the underdog Eagles. Not just because of No. 93, he isn’t the only stud on Philly’s defensive line. Fletcher Cox, Chris Long, Beau Allen — all goons.

“One guy gets a sack, and then the next thing you know it kind of has that ripple effect,” Jernigan told the Boston Globe. “You see guys rushing even harder, playing even harder because we’re so competitive with one another. You’ve got guys in the room like [defensive ends] Brandon Graham, Chris Long … any time, any one of us can make a play … So you’ve got that competition with each other and we go off each other.”

I expect that curtain of a defensive front to make enough plays, one final time to dethrone the Brady Bunch. And if those green monsters get in the backfield early, we might just have another blowout Super Bowl.

I know, I know, but the Patriots won it last year and three more times before that and blah blah blah.

Nobody is giving Philadelphia a chance. The Eagles like it that way.

I know at least one player who isn’t intimidated by the Patriots’ incredible success.

“Not even a little bit, man” Jernigan told NJ Advance Media. “This team out here is full of dogs. This team is full of guys searching for opportunity. Everybody’s hungry, from the players to the coaches to the staff, everybody. I think that’s what makes us different than a lot of teams that have played them.”

It’s the Eagles’ suffocating pass rush that’s going to bring them their first Super Bowl win in franchise history. The pressure, literally and figuratively, will be on Brady and Patriots who are aiming for their sixth title. Veteran experience, I agree, plays a large factor in this contest. But I am also a true believer that defense wins championships. Behind Cox, Long and Lake City product Jernigan, you can pencil in next week’s parade in Philly.

Get ready for the sack party.

New England’s illustrious dynasty ends tonight.

“I just want to come out and pay my respects to not just Brady, but the entire New England Patriots team, by having one of my better games,” Jernigan said. “That’s going to be my way of showing respect. I’m going to give them everything I got. Every single guy on this team is going to do the same thing.”

Eric Jackson is a sports writer for the Lake City Reporter.

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