The fact the Eagles are the first No. 1 seed to open the playoffs as an underdog is certainly startling.
But according to Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, it’s just the latest in a series of slights they’ve endured this year.
“We’ve been disrespected all year,” Cox said, via Tim McManus of ESPN.com. “Our record can speak for itself. We’re a team that’s been disrespected week in and week out, and we just come out and ring the bell every week.”
Of course, every time an Eagle tries to play that card, they should be reminded that they were getting plenty of respect, right up until the point quarterback Carson Wentz tore his ACL in December, and any devaluing of a good team is solely based on Nick Foles and how bad they looked the last two games of the season.
But in a sport where anything can be bulletin board material, the Eagles are all over this one.
“It just puts a bigger chip on our shoulder and just adds fuel to the fire, and that’s what this team, obviously, has been going off of all year,” Cox said, “people doubting us every week. So we just want to go out and shut those doubters up.”
Of course, then there are coaches, who will file such talk under the #distraction banner.
“The game’s going to be about preparing well, the game’s going to be about executing on Saturday,” defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said, “and the teams that do that the best are going to win, not the team that got picked by the most number of analysts or experts or what the simulation games say or any of that stuff. That has zero bearing on the game for us.”
That sounds like something a head coach would say. Or an assistant who has job interviews in hopes of becoming one.