Don’t expect a ton of great quotes to come out of the NovaCare Complex this week. The Eagles are gonna “go about their business” and treat the NFC Championship like “any other game” while not worrying about “the doubters.”
Doug Pederson was asked today if he found any personal gratification in taking his team to the brink of the Super Bowl.
“Listen, I don’t pay really any attention to that, quite honestly,” the head ball coach said. “I drive home at night knowing I put in a full day’s work. I get up in the morning to come in here, and however I can serve this organization and serve these players [that’s what I do]. That’s all I know. I love football. I love coaching football. I love teaching it. I love being around these guys, and I’m going to pour my life into these players. If it’s good enough, great, because that’s all I know I can do and I’ve given it my best effort. So I don’t care about what’s written. It’s kind of like the underdog thing. Our players don’t pay much attention to that. And I’m kind of the same way.”
They say they don’t pay attention to it, but they do. Lane Johnson couldn’t wait to put on his Amazon.com underdog mask after the Eagles’ 15-10 divisional round win. Chris Long joined him on the field. Jalen Mills wouldn’t tolerate the disrespect. Brandom Graham chided Derrick Gunn after the game.
And Fletcher Cox is still hearing the music:
When will it stop tho ??? 🤣🤣🤣… all music to my ears I done had enough!!!!
— fletcher cox (@fcoxx_91) January 17, 2018
He spoke about the “continuing disrespect” on Wednesday:
Fletcher Cox on underdogs again
“The disrespect just continues. For us to be the #1 seed, to have this championship run thru the Linc, I mean, what more disrespect do you want”
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) January 17, 2018
I mean, really, these guys are feeling it. Disrespect is the number one motivator in all of sports, from the national NFL media, to the youth baseball coach that benches your ass, to the guy who tries to embarrass you on the playground. You’re always trying to prove people wrong, while proving yourself right in the process. Anybody who played sports and disagrees with that is bullshitting you.
You might say it’s corny, that the Philadelphia “underdog” thing is a cliche sports talk radio topic, but it’s not really. Just because some people beat it to death doesn’t make it untrue. How rare is it to be the #1 seed in the NFC with home field advantage and still be a dog for the second straight week? It really is a perfect storm of circumstances for Philadelphia, where our sports teams arguably perform better when less is expected of them. I don’t think many people pegged the Phils to win it all in 2008, yea?
Fans should embrace it, and they have, buying every latex dog mask on the internet. And the players have embraced it, too:
Chris Long: If people want to show up in dog masks and it's like The Purge out here minus the violence on Sunday, that would be awesome. Just that creepy vibe at the Linc. #Eagles
— TURRON DAVENPORT (@TDavenport_NFL) January 17, 2018
So go ahead and be a creep, not the Harvey Weinstein variety, but the dog mask type, while appreciating the rare opportunity to be a home underdog in a winnable game with the Super Bowl on the line.