Monday morning, Reuben Frank at NBC Sports Philadelphia asked A.J. Brown about fans choosing sides between he and DeVonta Smith. Brown gave a diplomatic answer:

The broaching of the subject was criticized by Darius Slay and Eagles fans at large, who accused the beats of manufacturing some fake news story pitting Brown and Smith against each other. Sure, there’s been some friendly camp competition between two guys who are bona fide NFL studs, but nothing that really segued into fan divisiveness or the taking of sides.

One day later, we’re on Twitter and see this SI story from Ed Kracz following on the topic:

PHILADELPHIA – Two of the Philadelphia Eagles Batmen put on quite a show last year, a get-your-popcorn showstopper, you might say.

The Swole Batman, A.J. Brown, set a franchise record for most yards in a season with 1,496 while the Skinny Batman, DeVonta Smith, set a franchise record for most receptions in a season with 95.

It seems like an agenda, perhaps media-driven, is emerging from the success of the two receivers, with questions about which one is better and if there is a competition between the two. Even fans are taking sides, it would seem.

Are they? Are fans taking sides? My eyes and ears are open. I want to give Ed and Roob the benefit of the doubt here, but I just have not seen or heard any kind of significant fan conversation on the topic. Nothing beyond the “friendly competition” storyline, since both guys are WR1 material who went for more than 1,000 yards last season. There’s the lingering question of whether or not Smitty, who is two years younger, can reach Brown’s level, and there have been training camp questions and quotes about his football ceiling, but it’s nothing that amounts to any sort of “team Smith” or “team Brown” kind of thing. There’s nothing combative or negative. Speaking strictly for myself, I have not met or talked to a single person who has picked a side here. It seems like the overwhelming sentiment is that Eagles fans are absolutely thrilled to have two wonderful receivers on the roster. The same fans who, not long ago, watched tight end Zach Ertz lead the Eagles in receiving yards while the WR corps couldn’t catch a cold in a child daycare center.

I don’t understand any of this. This seems to be 100% a media creation.

The regular season needs to begin ASAP, so we can argue about real topics, like why the fuck Sean Desai has the corners playing 10 yards deep (just safely assuming that will be a complaint at some point).