The Underdog Mentality

Michael Steinrock ‘18, Staff Writer

The Eagles are in the Super Bowl. Let that sentence sink in for a minute. If I would have told you at the start of the season that without Carson Wentz, Jason Peters, Jordan Hicks, Chris Maragos, and Darren Sproles, the Eagles are one win away from being world champions you would not have believed me. Vegas gave the Eagles 400 to 1 odds even with those five players. So is this season just a fluke, or is this team built for many years of future success?

It was evident from week 1 that this team was a force to be reckoned with. Carson Wentz proved himself as the franchise Quarterback his rookie season, but needed weapons around him. With newly acquired receivers Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith, the consistency of Zach Ertz, and the rebirth of Nelson Agholor in the slot, the Eagles offense was much improved compared to just one year ago.

The defense shined all year as well. With the addition of Timmy Jernigan and Chris Long, the defensive line became a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks. The Eagles secondary was another strong suit, with the emergence of Jalen Mills and Patrick Robinson as legitimate starting corners.

Through 14 weeks of football the Eagles played fantastic. The defense ranked among the best in the league, and the Wentz-led offense ranked first in time of possession and third down conversions. They had proved everyone wrong, and became true contenders for the Super Bowl. Then, the unforeseen happened, Carson Wentz went down.
It was a sad day in Philadelphia when the news spread that Carson had torn his ACL. Many were in denial for the whole week and refused to believe it. Without the MVP caliber quarterback at the helm, everyone began to write the Eagles off. Yes their record was good enough to earn the top seed in the NFC, and they had a solid backup in Nick Foles, but in the final weeks of the season the whole nation thought they were on their way to an early playoff exit.

What all the critics failed to recognize, however, is the passion of this city, and this team. When the whole world counts out Philadelphia, Philadelphia prospers. Whether its Rocky Balboa or the American Revolution, Philly is built on the mentality of the underdog. I am from Philly, my dad is from Philly, his dad and his dad before him are all from Philly. This city, and team are in my blood, and the blood of every Eagles fan. The game of football means so much to the people of this great city. We work hard all week, and when Sunday rolls around we go all out for our team. That is what makes this team so special. They understand that in Philadelphia, football is so much more than just a game, this is about a city coming together on Sundays. No matter our differences as people, as Philadelphians, we will always come together to cheer on the Eagles.

So when we entered the playoffs this year as big underdogs, it was not a new feeling for this team and fan base. If anything, it made us rally around this team even harder. Against the Falcons, in the divisional round, the defense locked down one of the best offenses in the league. The game climaxed with an iconic goal line stand to seal the win. Against the Vikings, Nick Foles played the game of his life and led to Eagles to their first NFC Championship in 14 years. The team that was expected to be eliminated in the first round is heading to the Super Bowl.

However, we now find ourselves in a similar position, the underdogs to the New England Patriots. Does this story book season end with a loss to Tom Brady and the evil empire? Let me tell you something Eagles fans, IT DOES NOT. We are going to win this game. Our defense will cause Tom Brady to have nightmares for years, and our offense will run all over the 29th ranked defense. As Meek Mill, a philly native, says “I had to grind like that, to shine like this,” and thats exactly what the Eagles are going to do. They will bring a championship home to Philadelphia, and we will parade that trophy down Broad Street. Go Birds.