ST. PAUL — Mychal Kendricks still remembers getting into a scrap with younger brother Eric, who caught him with a punch that gave him a bloody lip.
But right before he could retaliate, their mom jumped in and stopped the rough-housing between competitive brothers, just 17 months apart in age.
"Man, I was just about to get him," Mychal Kendricks said. "I had to go to school with a fat lip, but he got to tell everyone that he beat me up. I won't say how, but I got the last laugh."
You might say that once he again, he's gotten the last laugh in a battle with his younger brother. Mychal Kendricks is a starting outside linebacker with the Philadelphia Eagles, who will play New England in the Super Bowl on Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Eagles got to the championship game by defeating the Minnesota Vikings, with Eric Kendricks at inside linebacker, last week.
"It was bittersweet, it really was," Mychal said. "I just told him that he's a young player, and he'll get a chance to get back there. They've got a good team."
The brothers normally talk to each other quite a bit during the season, but they went silent for the week leading up to the NFC Championship. They had played against each other once during college, when Eric's UCLA defeated Mychal's Cal in 2011. Last season, the Eagles defeated the Vikings, but the stakes were much higher this season.
Mychal waited a couple of days to let the situation cool off before he contacted Eric, whose offseason has already begun.
"He's a super talent, a champion. That's what he is," Mychal said. "I told him, it's going to work out for him, but he said, `I want to earn it.' What a great response. That really touched me."
Eric is still in town, and he was able to spend time with his older brother on Monday before the Super Bowl activities and practices really started to get serious. They talked about the game and made some plans for family that will be in town soon. Mychal has six tickets to Sunday's game, which includes one for Eric, but he's still looking for two more.
There was some friendly debate about which brother played on the best defense in the NFL. The Vikings led the NFL during the regular season in total defense, allowing 275.9 yards per game, and scoring defense, averaging 15.8 points allowed. The Eagles ranked fourth in both categories, giving up 306.9 yards and 18.4 points per game.
But in the NFC Championship game, the Eagles held the Vikings to 333 yards of offense, compared to 456 yards by Philadelphia in a 38-7 victory.
However, Mychal is going to wait awhile to resume the debate with his brother about which plays on the better defense.
"He's my brother," Mychal said. "We're going to let it chill for a while."
Chad Courrier is a reporter for the Mankato, Minn., Free Press. Follow on Twitter @ChadCourrier