They have been doubted. And they have fed off of that doubt.
Now, the Philadelphia Eagles find themselves facing the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.
‘We don’t have to turn on the TV and see people picking against us’
For Eagles defensive end Chris Long, it is a symbol of the grit that exists within his team, but it is not about making any sort of statement to the outside world.
“We know what we are,” Long told Kirk Morrison on NFL Rewind. “We don’t need any confirmation outside to play like us and we were just motivated as always. Nobody believed in us. We have plenty of motivation. We don’t have to turn on the TV and see people picking against us, but at the end of the day, it does make it a little sweeter.”
‘Two years in a row to be on the biggest stage, it’s a blessing’
What is especially sweet for Long is that he’s making his second Super Bowl appearance in as many years. Last season, he earned a Super Bowl ring by helping the Patriots beat the Atlanta Falcons. But Long isn’t taking anything for granted against Bill Belichick, who he calls “the greatest coach of all time” and Tom Brady, who he calls “the greatest quarterback of all time.”
“Any time you get to play in this league in January, I know from experience, it’s special,” he said. “And you’ve got to take full advantage because I waited a decade (with the St. Louis Rams from 2008 to 2015) to a part of something like this and now, two years in a row to be on the biggest stage, it’s a blessing. But we’ve got more work to do.”
‘We believe that we set the tone’
For the Eagles’ defense, it starts with Long and the rest of a solid defensive line.
“I just feel like we set the tone,” Long said. “We believe that we set the tone and we’ve got great players all over the field, but at the same time we’re the dogs.”