Despite both the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles being the No. 1 seed in their respective conferences this season, expectations for Super Bowl LII feel fairly one-sided.
Tom Brady will lead the Patriots into U.S. Bank Stadium on Feb. 4 looking to help the franchise win its sixth Lombardi Trophy. The Eagles, on the other hand, will be led by Nick Foles, who was vaulted into starting quarterback duties in Week 15 following Carson Wentz’s season-ending ACL injury.
For these reasons and more, the Patriots are the odds-on favorite to win the big game in Minneapolis. But to Mark Schlereth, these expectations could turn into a burden for New England, as he explained during a Friday appearance on FOX Sports 1’s “First Things First.”
“The pressure is squarely — in my mind — on the New England Patriots,” Schlereth said. “I’ve played in three Super Bowls, two of them we were 7-, 8-point favorites. I got done playing in those games and I felt nothing but relief. The pressure of the week being the favorite and knowing what’s at stake — one with the Redskins and one with the Broncos — the week was fun preparing, but the game was relief.
“To me, pressure is all on the New England Patriots. This is about legacy and about history and about eight times at the Super Bowl and trying to win your sixth championship. That, to me, is pressure. With the Eagles? Fly Eagles fly. Put the dog masks on, let’s go out and play. It’s a completely different scenario.”
The Eagles certainly have embraced the underdog mantra, and they surely will keep it going when they meet the Patriots on Super Bowl Sunday. But New England has won championships as both an underdog and a favorite, so it’s likely the Pats will have a level-headed mindset when it takes the field with a title on the line.
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports
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