The Philadelphia Eagles have broken the drought. As the first number one seed to be underdogs throughout the playoffs, the Eagles used the disrespect to their advantage and culminated the 2017 season with a shootout victory over Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII.
While the team has been an underdog since MVP-hopeful Carson Wentz went down with an ACL tear in December, there are plenty of individual underdogs that make up the Eagles’ roster and it starts at the top.
Here are the Eagles underdogs that made up one of the greatest underdog stories in history. These will be the names that Eagles fans will remember forever.
Lane Johnson, Right Tackle
Lane Johnson found himself in the doghouse, so to speak, of many Eagles fans in 2016. After a 2014 positive PED test, Johnson tested positive again and left the Eagles without their future All-Pro for ten games of Carson Wentz’ rookie season. All of this came after Johnson signed a six-year contract extension that averaged $10.5 million per season.
Johnson fought the suspension to no avail and served his suspension from week six to week fifteen. The team was 5-1 when Johnson played and just 2-8 during his suspension.
When Johnson returned in 2017, he told the media that he had a lot to make up to Eagles fans. He said in July, should the Eagles win the Super Bowl over the next few years, he would buy beer for everyone. Little did he know then that his promise would come to fruition just six months later. Luckily for Johnson, the promise didn’t hit his pockets as Bud Light promised to pick up the tab should the Eagles win the big game.
Johnson went on to be named First-Team All-Pro and be named to his first Pro Bowl. He was one of the best offensive linemen in the league, definitely making his previous wrongdoings up to any fans who still held it against him.
Along with Chris Long, Johnson was instrumental in bringing the underdog moniker to the Eagles. The duo bought dog masks prior to the divisional playoff game against the Falcons, had Jason Peters hold them in his jacket for the game, and dawned them as they walked off the field in victory. The masks and the team heading to the Conference Championship led to Amazon selling out of and restocking the masks multiple times over the next week from thousands of fan purchases.
After being the fourth overall pick in 2013, Johnson has faced some lows with a pair of positive PED tests. He promised to make it up to fans and did just that as quickly as he possibly could.
Jason Kelce, Center
Kelce has had quite a ride with the Philadelphia Eagles. Coming in as a sixth-round pick in 2011, Kelce battled Jamaal Jackson and won the starting center position heading into the season. He started all 16 games in his rookie year.
In 2012, Kelce tore his ACL and MCL and missed 12 games. When he returned in 2013, he was a perfect fit for Chip Kelly’s fast-paced, high-speed offense. He helped pave the way for LeSean McCoy’s 1600-yard season and finished the year as PFF’s top-rated center.
Kelce’s next few seasons were filled with trade rumors each offseason despite continuing to play at a high level. Those rumors became loudest before the 2017 season despite Kelce being named to his second Pro Bowl in 2016. Kelce seemed to use that as motivation, coming in and being dominant once again, earning his first All-Pro honors.
Of course, Kelce’s 2017 season will forever be remembered for his passionate speech on the Art Museum steps following the Eagles Championship Parade. Kelce had some choice words for national media “experts” who counted the Eagles and their players out, naming 24 of his teammates and what media members negatively said about them.
Kelce could have been the first player to win Super Bowl MVP four days after the Super Bowl.
Jason Peters, Left Tackle
If you had to choose one current Philadelphia Eagle who will be enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame at the conclusion of their career, Jason “The Bodyguard” Peters is the only choice. Peters’ patch to excellence is amazing.
Peters entered the NFL as an undrafted rookie free agent tight end signed by the Buffalo Bills in 2004. He didn’t make it to the Bills active roster until November, living on the practice squad until then. It wasn’t until 2006 that Peters secured the starting right tackle spot for the Bills. In 2007, he was moved to left tackle which proved to be his true calling.
After two Pro Bowl seasons on the left side, the Eagles made a blockbuster deal that brought Peters to Philadelphia in exchange for a first, fourth and sixth round pick. The rest was history.
Peters has been a Pro Bowler in each season with the exception of 2012, when he missed the entire season, and 2017 when he missed nine games. He has blocked for twelve Philadelphia Eagles quarterbacks in his nine seasons with the team. He has been the heart and soul of the Eagles since joining the team and has been an unwavering presence both on the field and in the locker room.
When Peters went down with his injury against the Redskins, the entire Eagles team surrounded the cart he was exiting on. Peters, as the cart pulled away, was coaching his replacement, Haalapoulivaati Vaitai. He is the true definition of the Eagles 2017 motto of “team before self.” He is THE most deserving member of this Eagles team.
The Eagles Super Bowl roster will be remembered forever by Eagles fans. While each member of that roster surely has their own underdog story, these are the biggest underdogs that helped one of the biggest underdog teams in NFL history overcome all adversity to bring home the sport’s biggest prize.
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports