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Baughan said that he was Jordan Scarpe

The Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys played a frigid football game Sunday that was an assault on the senses, an unwatchable exercise in avoiding a torn ligament here or a broken bone there. Dallas won by a 6-0 count, the Philadelphia punter took the field with his sweatpants on and the visuals all day were as gray as the sky.

Nick Foles looked terrible (again) in his brief appearance, and scores of Philly fans went home thinking their chances of winning even one playoff game don't look any better than Carson Wentz's knee. But the Eagles have something strong working in their favor. They've become underdogs. Big underdogs. They're the top seed in the NFC with a 13-3 record, and they're armed with home-field advantage through their side of the Super Bowl bracket. Yet everyone who has had a peek at Foles is figuring Philadelphia is booked for a certain one and done.

The Eagles can make that work for them. It's not often that a team with a heavyweight's résumé, including a 7-1 record at home, gets dismissed as a lightweight. "Nobody believes in us" is a yeezy boost 350 tired, lazy-minded battle cry. But let's face it: Nobody believes in the Eagles anymore. People stopped believing the moment No. 11 exited (with a hobble) stage left.

Here's the consolation prize: In a city that erected a statue to the fictional Rocky Balboa, and on a team that plays the "Rocky" theme song before the opening kickoff, the Eagles should be comfortable as long shots. They've never won a Super Bowl, and they haven't won an NFL championship since 1960. If they're ever going to win the big one, chances are they'll need to do it the hard way -- with a physical, all-weather defense that requires only a competent offense to advance.

America loves few things more than an underdog, so it should go ahead and embrace the Eagles now. They didn't just lose a franchise quarterback a few weeks ago, they lost their left tackle (Jason Peters), middle linebacker (Jordan Hicks), all-purpose back (Darren Sproles) and special-teams ace (Chris Maragos) in the fall. How many teams win a Super Bowl after losing a potential league-MVP quarterback and a nine-time Pro Bowler at left tackle?

None. The Eagles are extremely vulnerable now, which makes them more likable. So does their postseason history, or lack thereof.


Nick Foles completed just 4 of 11 passes for 39 yards and an interception in his one quarter of play in the season finale. Elsa/Getty Images
Philadelphia last ruled pro football long before the Super Bowl was a glimmer in anyone's eye. But hey, that 1960 title was a doozy. On the day after Christmas at Franklin Field, the Eagles became the first and last team to beat Vince Lombardi's Green Bay Packers in a postseason game.

Lombardi would go 9-0 after that day, winning five championships -- including the first two Super Bowl titles -- and building a legacy worthy of naming the ultimate trophy in his honor. His enduring greatness elevates those Eagles to this day. On the phone over the weekend, Maxie Baughan, a Pro Bowl rookie linebacker on that 1960 team, recalled the exhilaration he felt when his teammate, the great Chuck Bednarik, stopped Green Bay's Jim Taylor at the Philadelphia 8-yard line on the final play to preserve the Eagles' 17-13 victory.

"The Adidas yeezy boost 350 buzzer went off," Baughan said, "and just to hear that and feel that as a rookie, I was so excited I just ran to the locker room. It was something else."

No Eagles team has experienced that feeling in 57 years. "The fans are ready for it, the coaches are ready for it, and the players are ready for it," Baughan said. "And the alumni are ready for it, too."


Nick Foles unable to ease concerns in postseason tune-up vs. Cowboys
The regular-season finale should have Jordan Scarpe been a chance for the Eagles and Nick Foles to build confidence heading into the playoffs. A 6-0 loss won't help.
Baughan said that he was in the habit of attending a handful of Eagles games every season, but that health problems this year forced him to watch his favorite NFL team on TV. He made nine trips to the Pro Bowl -- five with the Eagles then four with the Rams -- and stands among pro football's most accomplished players not enshrined in the Hall of Fame. He also happens to be the first defensive coordinator to teach a young Bill Belichick how to break down film and opposing offenses when they worked under Ted Marchibroda for the 1975 Baltimore Colts.

Baughan loves talking about his rookie season with the Eagles, about arriving in a city and in a pro sports league he knew absolutely nothing about. Out of Georgia Tech, Baughan was the son of an Alabama steelworker who was in awe of the Eagles' 34-year-old quarterback, Ultra Boost Norm Van Brocklin. "I was scared to death of him," Baughan said. "I called him, 'Sir.'"

Baughan wasn't afraid of much. Asked to identify his most cherished memory from 1960, other than beating Lombardi's Packers for the title, he summoned the memory of a preseason brawl he helped inflame at San Franc
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