Ask any person with even a basic awareness of this year's Super Bowl, and they'll be able to tell you that Philadelphia's team name is the Eagles. That's just common knowledge. So, you might be wondering then, why are Eagles fans wearing dog masks?
The reason isn't all that complicated, actually.
The trend of Eagles fans, and players, wearing dog masks is only a recent one and it started during the playoffs. Philadelphia has been an underdog — the team less favored to win according to betting odds — in each of its postseason games, despite the fact that the team tied four others for the best record in the NFL during the regular season.
The reason the Eagles have been cast as underdogs is pretty much down to one factor: late in the regular season, they lost their star quarterback, 25-year-old MVP candidate Carson Wentz.
Wentz suffered a season-ending knee injury, which meant the Eagles would be trying to make it to the Super Bowl with a back-up at the game's most important decision. Wentz or no Wentz, though, Eagles players and fans very clearly scoff at the idea that their team is an underdog after a full season of dominance.
So, what's one way to show that don't take your status as an underdog seriously? Wear a very unserious dog mask.
After the Eagles first win of the playoffs — a 15-10 victory over last season's runner-up, the Atlanta Falcons — Chris Long explained his decision to wear the mask on the field during post game interview. "I don’t know if you heard: There was a little narrative this week that the media was pushing that evidently we were, like, not favored? So I [got] this mask," Long told reporters. "Somebody was like, ‘What’s up with the wolf mask?’ First of all, it’s a German shepherd. And it’s the underdog mask and I wasn’t going to field any questions, but I decided I would field them in the dog mask."
Of course, wearing the mask to emphasize how wrong certain betting odds are would only work if the Eagles kept winning, a fact which Eagles offensive lineman Lane Johnson
“Just having some fun," Johnson told reporters after Philadelphia's win over the Falcons. "We were called underdogs all week so I figured we needed a good dog mask. I had it hidden in [Eagles offensive lineman Jason Peters'] coat. If we hadn’t won the game that mask would have never been seen."
If you watch any NFL coverage in the days leading up to the Super Bowl, you're likely to see more dog masks, too. That's because the Eagles are a 5.5-point underdog in their matchup against the New England Patriots, which will be a rematch of Super Bowl XXXIX (which took place in 2005).
So, queue all the nobody-believes-in-us, cliche rants that come from pretty much every underdog in sports history.
"It puts a big chip on your shoulder," Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox is quoted as saying by Pro Football Talk. "I think the main thing is when people doubt you in anything in life, it makes you want it more. Every time we go out and get doubted, it brings this team closer and makes us want that much more, man. We’ve been through so much, losing players to injuries and things happening. I think things like this just drives us to put this huge chip on our shoulder."
And cue social media posts like this from any Eagles fan on your timeline.
And cue all the fans of a team called Eagles wearing dog masks. It all makes sense in sports.