As Super Bowl 52 meanders towards Minneapolis, proverbial underdog has been let off the figurative leash; with the Philadelphia Eagles’ wings predicted to crumple under the pre-match might of the widely fancied New England Patriots, time will tell as to whether the ill-fancied Eagles can overcome the burden of the underdog tag and soar towards the coveted Super Bowl crown.
While Bill Belichick’s men are widely expected to gyrate the gems of the Super Bowl rings onto their digits in the aftermath of this highly-anticipated encounter, sporting history indicates that David has toppled Goliath on multiple occasions, a fact that should give the Eagles a beacon of hope on which to cling onto, before they step onto the hallowed turf at the U.S. Bank Stadium.
The element of sporting surprises have sprung up in several domains, with fans of sports such as soccer, boxing and wrestling being treated to unbridled surprises down the years, within America and an abundance of other countries.
For instance, Euro 2004 spawned an unlikely victor, with Angelos Charisteas spearheading a Greek assault on European international soccer. With the usual suspects Germany, Italy and Spain widely tipped to lift the trophy come the the conclusion of the tournament, Otto Rehhagel’s ability to mastermind a major honor for the outsiders reminds one of soccer’s great accomplishments in recent years.
Marshalled by captain Theo Zagorakis, a failure during his stint in England with Leicester City during their period flirting with the nether regions of the Premier League table, the Greeks disposed of tournament dark horses Czech Republic in the semi-final, before conquering a star-studded Portugal team, a side including the precocious talent of Manchester United superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.
The shape-shifting underdog has assumed numerous guises down the years, with solo sports also writing chapters in the book of unfancied sporting heroes.
UFC star Ronda Rousey had embarked on a ruthless pursuit for octagon ascendancy; in 2015, she entered her bout with Holly Holm at the peak of her powers, seemingly building an unassailable lead over her rivals hoping to crush her crusade within the combat sports domain. Though she entered the fight bearing her figurative teeth, she departed with her tail firmly between her legs, after suffering a savage knockout after a meager six-minute showing; the fight mirrored that of Buster Douglas and Mike Tyson in 1990, with the bully of boxing Iron Mike laid out by a sturdy right hook in the tenth round.
One thing that can be foreseen is that the Super Bowl promises to deliver its usual dose of blockbuster entertainment, with reigning Prince of pop Justin Timberlake set to take to the stage for a performance of epic proportions; what isn’t clear, however, is who will be Crying a River come full-time, with the possibility of yet another underdog story a distinct possibility.