For much of the regular season, the Philadelphia Eagles were far and away the best team in the National Football Conference, and were rallying behind their young quarterback Carson Wentz.
Wentz was poised to carry his team to the Super Bowl during what looked like a potential Most Valuable Player season—or so we thought. In a victory against the Los Angeles Rams, Wentz suffered a torn ACL in his left knee.
To the rest of the league, this looked like the end of the team’s great season. If you asked anyone on the Eagles, however, they’d say they were just getting started. To be a great team in the National Football League, you must adapt a “next man up” mentality. That is exactly the mentality of their backup quarterback turned starter Nick Foles.
It is clear that Foles did not believe their season to be over. After losing the final game of the regular season, Foles and the Eagles were ready to prove themselves on their home field. That is exactly what they have continued to do deep into the postseason.
Going into the divisional round of the playoffs, the Eagles were the first team to be an underdog as a No. 1 seed in the first round. Clearly, this lit a fire under everyone, from the players to the coaching staff, and especially the fans.
After defeating the Atlanta Falcons 15-10, Eagles’ defensive end Chris Long put on a dog mask in front of the cameras in a slight toward the odds makers in Las Vegas. Clearly, the Eagles don’t mind playing the underdog role.
In the conference championship game against their division rival, the Minnesota Vikings, the Eagles showed they were not a team to be doubted. They made the game look easy, leaning on their defense and defeating the Vikings by a lopsided score of 38-7, again, as the underdogs.
Long’s underdog mask has become a huge fad amongst Philadelphia fans, as they could be seen all over the stadium at Lincoln Financial Field.
Next, the Eagles will take on the New England Patriots dynasty and quarterback Tom Brady on football’s biggest stage, the Super Bowl LII. Of course, the Eagles enter the game as a five-point underdog, a place where the Eagles have become comfortable.
Despite Wentz’s injury, it is clear that the Eagles are not a team to be counted out. Story lines like Long’s dog mask make it nearly impossible to completely disregard their chances of victory. While Brady has become synonymous with Super Bowls, it is the majesty of underdogs that makes rooting for the Eagles very easy.