Philadelphia Dog Masks
The No 1. seed Philadelphia Eagles were the underdogs last weekend when they handily overcame Atlanta, the sixth-seeded “favorites” in the divisional round of the NFL Playoffs. They’re the ‘dogs again this weekend against Minnesota in the NFC Championship game.
That’s all just a preface for the really big news going into the Eagles’ next game: outspoken tight end Zach Ertz has gone on the record as speculating that some 30,000 of the 69,000 Philadelphia fans expected to be in attendance Sunday night will be donning plastic German shepherd masks in support of their hometown team.
Writing in The Player’s Tribune, the new media platform launched by New York Yankee’s legend Derek Jeter a few years back with the aim of publishing first-person content created by professional athletes, Ertz said the plan to have fans wear dog masks is odd, to be sure, but it makes perfect sense in context. As many analysts, sports writers and even some astute Eagles fans may be aware, the 2017-2018 Philadelphia team was the first No. 1 Playoffs seed since 1970 to be the underdogs at the divisional round.
Everything kind of clicks when you realize that the Eagles, who suffered the loss of several key players like Carson Wentz, Jordan Hicks, Chris Maragos, Jason Peters, Darren Sproles to injury along the way this season, demolished Atlanta by keeping the Falcons scoreless in the second half of last weekend’s heavily defensive meeting. Philly fans are really playing up the come-from-behind angle to get hyped for their team’s biggest game yet, and part of embracing the city’s collective underdog status this year just so happens to be wearing eerily lifelike German shepherd masks. Though it makes more sense when viewed from this perspective, Ertz nevertheless acknowledges that folks may simply not get it if they aren’t locals.
“If you’re from Philly, and if you’ve been following this team all year, then you know,” Ertz wrote in his Player’s Tribune editorial published Friday. “We could probably field an All-Pro team of injured guys, but instead of crumbling under all the adversity, it only made us stronger.”
The trend got started by right tackle Lane Johnson and defensive end Chris Long, who first wore the matches following the Eagles win against Atlanta, sparking a furor of fan interest immediately following. Many of the team’s devoted followers took to the internet, proclaiming the dog masks to be “must-have” items going into the NFC Championship game, scheduled for Sunday night at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. The Eagles upper management hit social media hard last week, launching a special pre-Championship game Twitter campaign in order to announce that fans would be allowed to wear their dog masks to the stadium for the game.
According to the news release issued by the Philadelphia Eagles official Twitter account, fans interested in wearing their German shepherd masks in solidarity with the team will need to take off the masks when they go through security.
As for the actual game itself, the odds available through leading legal offshore sports betting site Bovda.lv indicate that this will likely be the more tightly played matchup of the weekend as the New England Patriots are overwhelming favored against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC Championship game. Bovada’s bookies are listing moneyline odds of +135 on the underdog Philadelphia team, as compared to -155 odds for the visiting Minnesota Vikings, who have the disruptive defensive prowess to give the Eagles a fair share of trouble. However, the Eagles have odds of -120 to cover an incredibly narrow spread of just 3 ½ points, with Minnesota’s odds to do the same from the top end coming in as even on the digital betting board.
No matter what, don’t look for this to be a terribly high scoring game. If past performances are any indication, the whole dog mask routine won’t be necessary as far as hiding anyone’s faces is concerned: the Eagles always show up to play. sports betting for Pennsylvania thinks that if they do and somehow manage to take down Minnesota Sunday night, the Eagles will probably need to bust out their underdog masks again next week, as there is almost no chance their opponent won’t be Tom Brady and Company.
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