Underdog – The Only Way We Know
by Dave Gloeckner
First posted on www.4thandgo.com
Definition of underdog
1: a loser or predicted loser in a struggle or contest
2: a victim of injustice or persecution
The truth of the matter is, Philadelphia has always been an underdog. In the shadows of New York and little brother to Boston, we are often looked at oddly like a zebra with no stripes. One championship in 24 years will do that to a city. We had Rocky. Underdog. The Invincible Vince Papale. Underdog. The 2008 Phillies. Underdogs. And now we have the first ever #1 seed as a home underdog in the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs. Welcome the newest dark horse to our beloved city, your 2017 Philadelphia Eagles.
It’s staggering how far the Eagles have proverbially fallen in the National Media’s eyes. It’s almost contagious as the sickness has also plagued some local Eagles fans as well. To hear it over and over again, with no flip side to the story, makes it seem like all hope is lost. CBS Sports has officially ended the Eagles season, with their lead prognosticator Pete Prisco picking the Falcons to win 23-17. Flip the page over to www.sportingnews.com, and their two analysts, Vinnie Iyer and David Steele also both pick the Falcons to win. Over on Yahoo, they use something named Bing, don’t know if it is a person or thing because I wasn’t there long enough, to predict a Falcons victory. And the hits will keep coming as we get closer to Saturday.
Las Vegas chipped in on the fun by piling on with their version of a white wash. Prior to the Falcons win in LA, it was predicted the Eagles vs Falcons would result in a pick ‘em. But Vegas over reacted to Atlanta’s big win in Tinsel Town by upping the ante and posting the road birds as a 2.5 point favorite. Marking the first time ever, since the playoffs expanded to 12 teams, that the #1 seed would open as an underdog in the Divisional Round. And since then, the line has moved to -3 and held strong. An indication that the betting public is also buying the Falcons.
All of the negative attention has slammed hard into the doors and hallways of the NovaCare Complex. In it’s path of destruction, it has left a chip on the players and coaches shoulders. To a point, it’s made them much more edgy and perturbed to answer any questions pertaining to their underdog status. Fletcher Cox recently snipped at reporters by saying “We’ve been disrespected all year” and “It just puts a bigger chip on our shoulder and just adds fuel to the fire”. That attitude has spread like wildfire throughout the building as many other players alike are steaming and eliquating loudly the same rhetoric. Eagles LB Nigel Bradham says there are posts up all around the workplace just to remind each and everyone of them who has given up and counted them out. Even today, OT Lane Johnson quipped the Eagles were being treated “like we were the Browns”.
Based on what Nick Foles has showed us the last 2 weeks, it’s understandable as to why the Eagles have been written off for dead. After all, the final impression is often the most lasting one. But we as fans have been here since training camp and rode the roller coaster as hard as it could go. We know this team isn’t built around one singular player. The fuel is here for us too, and it will continue to burn brighter each day leading up to kickoff. The Linc is going to be alive and rocking louder than it has in years. You don’t disrespect us without hearing it. You thought we were unbearable as the favorite, wait until you see our vigor and anger being a home underdog.
It’s been since 2008 that the Eagles played on a Divisional weekend. It’s been since the 2004 season that they’ve played that same game at home. Chances like this aren’t given, they’re earned. And based on performance this team has attained more than the disrespect being thrown at them. But we’ve been down this road and read this script so many times before. The underdog label has been branded to our skin like it’s our fraternity letters. So together we’ll stand on Saturday, in unison, and take the backs of our loveable team. It’s been two weeks of reporting nonsense and we’re feverishly waiting to show what a 13-3 underdog is.