Former Super Bowl underdog Tom Brady claims Eagles cannot be Super Bowl LII underdogs

The last thing anyone wants to do at Super Bowl Media Day/Opening Night is make the mistake of handing out a week's worth of free bulletin board material for the team in the other locker room. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is heading into his eighth Super Bowl and knows as well as anyone how careful one needs to be in these situations.

So Brady treaded lightly when it came to a discussion of the Eagles being underdogs, a role they have very much embraced during their playoff run

Asked by former teammate Willie McGinest, now with NFL Network, about the Eagles being underdogs, Brady claimed they cannot be underdogs because there are no underdogs in the Super Bowl.

"They're well-coached. They're good in all three phases. They play complementary games. They do a great job. There's no underdogs in the Super Bowl," Brady said. "They're the first seed in the NFC. Man, they're 13-3. They had an incredible season. I don't buy into any of that. I think they're as dangerous as any team in the league. It's going to come down to whoever plays the best, and hopefully it's us."

Brady's response is good in the sense of propping up Philadelphia. Compliment the other team, say how great they are, talk about how difficult they are to beat. Do not justify their rubber-mask-infused belief. 

However, Brady is very much wrong. 

For starters, consider the Las Vegas line for this game, which, rather explicitly, makes the Eagles underdogs. Philadelphia was almost a full touchdown underdog, but the Eagles strong performance against the Vikings helped to push the opening Super Bowl line down to Patriots -5.5. It has since moved all the way down to Pats -4 in some places; we could see the Pats close out as a field goal favorite or close to it. That's fine, because the Patriots have won five Super Bowls with Brady and Bill Belichick. But the reality is Las Vegas sees them as favorites and that makes the Eagles underdogs.

Plus, the Eagles see themselves as underdogs.

"The whole underdog thing is true," Philadelphia offensive lineman Lane Johnson, one of the early adopters to the creepy dog masks, said on Monday. "We're going against a guy who is trying to get six rings. They're already a dynasty, and they're talked more than any other team other than probably the Cowboys

"We respect them. We know what they're about. It's all about us."

Additionally, consider the question asked by McGinest. 

"Remember in 2001 we took the underdog role?" McGinest asked. "They're taking on that underdog role. What stands out about this Eagles team?"

He literally asked Tom Brady if he Tom Brady remembered when Tom Brady and Tom Brady's teammates were propping themselves up as ... UNDERDOGS. 

McGinest is referring to the Patriots first Super Bowl victory, a stunner over the Rams, in which the Patriots were huge underdogs, checking in as 14.5-point dogs to NFL Network teammate and Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner. 

That was the first in what would be seven -- and hopefully eight -- extremely dramatic Super Bowl matchups for the Patriots. The Patriots kicked off their dynasty by being an underdog. They have not been one since, but they were once upon a time a Super Bowl underdog.

And every year one exists, whether or not Tom Brady wants to believe it. Just kidding. He believes it, but he's not going to let the Eagles know he knows they are underdogs. That would be a critical error from a savvy veteran. 

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Will Brinson joined CBS Sports in 2010 and enters his seventh season covering the NFL for CBS. He previously wrote for FanHouse along with myriad other Internet sites. A North Carolina native who lives... Full Bio

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