Despite an NFL regular season best record of 13-3, the Philadelphia Eagles were written off completely as a threat in the playoffs following the loss of superstar quarterback Carson Wentz to a torn ACL in week 14 that left fans questioning what they did to deserve such a tragedy. Following a first round bye, the Eagles welcomed the defending NFC champion Atlanta Falcons to Lincoln Financial Field for an NFC Divisional Round playoff game this past Saturday. A majority of NFL analysts gave the Birds no shot under the helm of backup QB Nick Foles. The team was labeled "underdogs," and they definitely showed haters they heard their criticisms following the 15-10 nail-biter win.
After the game, multiple Eagles players, including offensive lineman Lane Johnson and defensive end Chris Long, were seen rocking German Shepherd masks on the field in a move that should be inducted immediately into the shade hall of fame. It was as hilarious as it was alarming to see these guys fully embracing the "underdog" title bestowed on them. Johnson even took questions in the locker room while still rocking the terrifying mask.
"Me and Chris Long were talking [at lunch], and everybody's calling us underdogs, so hey, let's go get us a dog mask," Johnson told ESPN's Tim McManus. "That's what we did."
The Eagles' stellar regular season play has given them home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Next week, they will host either the New Orleans Saints or Minnesota Vikings for the NFC Championship Game and will likely be labeled underdogs again. Hopefully, the positive reception the masks received makes the team keep them around for future playoff wins. They are one win away from their first Super Bowl appearance since 2004, and the possibility of seeing a player hoist the franchise's first Lombardi Trophy in a rubber dog mask is an iconic photo waiting to happen. Don't be surprised if more than a few dozen people look like canines in the stands at the Linc next week either.