When Jonathan Gannon experienced the Linc's insanity from the other side

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When Gannon experienced Linc's insanity from the other side originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

If you were in the stands for the 2017 NFC Championship Game, you know how insane the Linc was that day.

When Patrick Robinson had that pick-6 off Case Keenum, it was deafening. When LeGarrette Blount gave the Eagles the lead for good, the stadium literally shook. When Nick Foles and Alshon Jeffery hooked up on that 53-yard touchdown pass to make it 21-7, it felt like we were all in the middle of an earthquake.

The Eagles scored the game’s final 38 points and won 38-7 – the same score as their win Saturday in the conference semifinals (which was also on Jan. 21).

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The crowd was a big part of the Eagles’ success that day as the Eagles earned a spot in the Super Bowl for the first time in 13 years.

Jonathan Gannon was on the visiting sideline that day as the Vikings’ assistant defensive backs coach, and he felt the same thing.

“I thought the energy in the building was just phenomenal,” Gannon said. “Before kickoff, as the game got going. …

“It was electric, the best environment I've ever been at or a part of. In warmups, a guy that I was coaching, he looked at me with a look in his eye like, ‘Whoa.’ It was Harrison Smith. I said ‘whoa’ back. You could feel the energy, and it's awesome.

“This is one of the best atmospheres that you're going to get in the National Football League, and obviously being the championship game, it'll be heightened.”

That's the advantage you get when you earn No. 1 seed.

The Eagles and 49ers are evenly matched teams, but one had to play wild-card weekend, the other got the week off. One has to fly across the country, the other is playing at home. One will have a few hundred fans with Montana and Rice jerseys in the Linc Sunday, the other will have 70,000 screaming maniacs on its side.

“It’s a tough place to play, and it's a big advantage for us,” Gannon said.

That 2017 Vikings team reached the NFC Championship with a 29-24 win over the Saints at U.S. Bank Stadium on Keenum’s miracle 61-yard TD pass to Stefon Diggs with no time remaining.

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“You know, you kind of think that's an external factor that you kind of block out, but in '16 and '17 in Minnesota when that new stadium got built, that was a really good atmosphere, too,” Gannon said.

“That was the Minnesota miracle, that game, to come here to play, and I was like, ‘Wow, I don't know if there will ever be a stadium more electric than that that I've been a part of after Diggs has a walk-off.

“When we were here in warmups that's what it was. When we were here in warmups, it was like, whoa, this is as electric -- it's more electric than that place was.”

That 2017 season was Gannon’s last with the Vikings. After the Super Bowl, the Colts hired Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich as their head coach, and Reich hired Gannon as secondary coach, where he worked alongside Nick Sirianni. When the Eagles hired Sirianni, he brought Gannon back to Philly as defensive coordinator.

“I always joke about it with Mr. Lurie and Howie that I've always wanted to be a part of a Philly team to play in playoff games at that stadium,” said Gannon, who coached the No. 2 defense in the NFL this year.  “Because that's how it stood out in my mind.”