Bring on the big dogs.
Lane Johnson welcomed the challenge of facing the five-time-champion Patriots and their Hall of Fame-bound quarterback in Super Bowl LII.
“Tom Brady, pretty boy Tom Brady — he’s, hey, the best quarterback of all time,” Johnson said after the Eagles pummeled the Vikings, 38-7, in the NFC championship game Sunday night. “Nothing more I would like than to dethrone that guy.”
Brady and the Patriots came back to beat the Jaguars, 24-20, in the AFC title game earlier Sunday. New England is looking to add to its already unprecedented record of five Lombardi Trophies. It will be the Patriots’ eighth Super Bowl since the Bill Belichick-Brady partnership. Their third title, of course, came at the expense of the Eagles in the 2004 season.
Johnson said he wouldn’t want any other opponent to stand in the way of the Eagles’ first Super Bowl crown.
“No, I wouldn’t for what they did to us in 2004,” said Johnson, who said he watched that 24-21 loss as a 14-year-old. “If we could give them payback, it would be nothing sweeter.”
Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said that facing the Patriots provided no additional motivation for bringing his franchise its first championship.
“No. They beat us. I have great respect for them,” Lurie said. “No, my heart and hope is that we can bring a Super Bowl to Philadelphia. Our fans deserve it more than any fan base in the country, and whoever we’re going to play, that’s the team we have to beat to win the Super Bowl.”
Johnson, one of the more colorful Eagles, will likely draw his share of attention during next Monday’s Super Bowl media night in Minneapolis. The right tackle brought an additional element to his team’s postseason run when he wore a dog mask after the divisional-playoff win over the Falcons. Johnson and defensive end Chris Long bought the masks off Amazon and were making a statement after oddsmakers and many pundits picked against the No. 1-seeded Eagles.
The Eagles opened as 5-1/2-point underdogs to the Patriots. Johnson was asked if he planned on wearing the mask, which many Eagles fans wore to Sunday’s game, on media night.
“There ain’t no damn telling what I’m going to do,” Johnson said. “I may wear a [expletive] moose mask. Since we’re in Minnesota, [shoot], probably a snow-man mask. It’ll be something funny, I guarantee you.”
Johnson raised more than $100,000 for Philadelphia public schools from sales of shirts with the phrase “HOME DOGS GONNA EAT” wrapped around images of Johnson and Long.