The "Patriot Way" may have prevented many of New England's Super Bowl LII players from going off script during the circus that is the NFL's Opening Night this week.

But it didn't prevent all of them from doing so.

Matthew Slater, a special teams captain and seven-time Pro Bowler for the defending champions, didn't hesitate to heap praise upon his Super Sunday opponent, the Philadelphia Eagles, for the faith and character found within their locker room.

From quarterback Carson Wentz proclaiming the importance of Christian love through his "Audience of One" ventures and tight end Trey Burton highlighting the role of faith in the team's resiliency to viral baptisms headlining mid-season winning streaks and Wentz's injury replacement, Nick Foles, once crediting prayer for his return to football, the Eagles haven't been shy about sharing their spirituality over the course of a historic 2017 campaign.

And Slater, who will line up against those same Eagles for a repeat Lombardi Trophy on Sunday, said he had added respect for the Birds because of that.

"I really appreciate Carson's boldness for the Gospel, how he represents Christ day in and day out," the 10-year veteran said from his podium at Opening Night. "And it's not only him. You know, Nick does that as well. Chris Maragos. Brother Burton. I mean, there are a lot of brothers over there that stand firm for what they believe in, they represent the Gospel in a tremendous fashion."

Slater admitted that "on Sunday, obviously we'll be competing," but he also acknowledged that his respect for the Eagles will carry beyond the final score of the Super Bowl.

"Ultimately, I know, to them and myself, that's what's going to matter for eternity beyond the game of football," Slater said. "They'll be my brothers in the Lord for a long time to come."