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Philadelphia, this one is for you

By Evin Hartsock, Managing Editor

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       If you’re not an Eagles fan or from the city of Philadelphia, then you probably won’t understand why their 41-33 Super Bowl LII victory over the New England Patriots means so much. One of the best ways it can be summed up was by what happened on NBC Sports Philadelphia’s postgame show after the game in Minneapolis. “Eagles Postgame Live” host Ray Didinger, a longtime staple of the Philadelphia sports media, was brought to tears after the win.

     Didinger shared his story about growing up in Philadelphia and going to Eagles games with his parents at Franklin Field and Veterans Stadium. He reminisced about his father and how he was a die-hard Eagles fan who taught Didinger everything he knew about the game of football. He talked about how much joy the 1960 NFL Championship brought his father, and how he wanted nothing more than to see the Eagles win a Super Bowl. Unfortunately, Didinger’s parents passed away before the Eagles finally brought home a Lombardi Trophy, but Didinger got to experience this Super Bowl with his son in Minneapolis, which made him extremely emotional.

     Almost every Eagles fan and Philadelphian was thinking of someone on the night of that Super Bowl. Almost everyone has a family member or lifelong friend that was a die-hard Eagles fan who passed away and went their entire lives without seeing the team win the Super Bowl. That’s why this means so much.

     Although Philadelphia has a sports team in all four of the major North American sports leagues, it is a football town through and through. The Sixers, Flyers, or Phillies could be doing well, even winning and commanding the attention of Philadelphians. But once those teams stop winning, or their seasons end, its football season in Philadelphia. The city puts all of its faith in its football team each and every year, something that has been unforgiving to Eagles fans.

      Sure, championship droughts in sports are nothing uncommon. The Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, and Cleveland Cavaliers all waited a long time to be on top. None of their droughts were quite the caliber of Philadelphia’s. While most of the prior teams mentioned were perennially awful and didn’t have many chances to win, the Eagles were competitive, having many chances to bring home the hardware.

     Head coach Dick Vermeil and his quarterback Ron Jaworski took the Eagles to a Super Bowl, only to lose to the Oakland Raiders in 1980. During the Buddy Ryan era, the Eagles were stacked with talent. They had Randall Cunningham at quarterback and the “Gang Green” defense led by incredible players like Reggie White and Jerome Brown. Still, that was not enough as the Eagles failed to make it back to a Super Bowl.

      During the Andy Reid era, which was arguably the most heart-breaking for Philadelphia fans, the Eagles played in four straight NFC Championship games, but were only able to win one. That win placed them in their second Super Bowl, which they would lose to the New England Patriots.
To come so close so many times and to fall short, then to finally bring home a championship is why this win means so much to the city of Philadelphia.
The Eagles’ history of falling short and playing the “underdog” role also played a big part in why the Super Bowl win means so much to the city of Philadelphia.

 

      The City of Brotherly Love is one full of hard workers, people who are counted out and told that they can’t achieve things. Before the season started, critics said that Doug Pederson, a guy who was coaching high school football nine years ago, was not good enough for the job. They said general manager Howie Roseman could not build a roster that could compete for a championship. Then during the season when key players went down, like Jason Peters and Jordan Hicks, they said the season was over. When the Eagles lost Carson Wentz, who was in the lead to be the MVP of the league, the media deemed the season over. But just as Rocky Balboa, Philadelphia’s favorite fictional sports hero was able to overcome the odds, so too was Nick Foles. The city has also identified with the Eagles in some way, but one can make a good argument that it felt the closest to this team that threw setbacks to the side and kept pushing on, just as so many in the city do.

    In a time when politics and views are so divisive, this team showed that different people from many different backgrounds can come together and complete a common goal. This team helped unify the city when many things try to tear it apart on a daily basis.

    This win also meant a lot to the city because of all of the great Eagles in the past that never got to experience it. On the Dan Patrick Show a few days after the Super Bowl, Ron Jaworski appreciated that several Eagles players had said that they were playing not just for themselves, but for all of the Eagles who have come and gone.

    “They were talking about the Super Bowl XV team, our team,” said Jaworski. “And how they’re playing for all the guys and all the Eagles…and that went a long way.”

     The Super Bowl win also came on the same day as Jerome Brown’s birthday, making it even more special. A member of the “Gang Green” defense, Brown was a two-time Pro Bowler and played 76 games for the Eagles before his sudden death in a car accident at the age of 27. It is because of players like Jaworski and Brown that the win means so much.

    Going in to next season, the Eagles return almost all of their starters that are signed to long term deals. They have not one, but two quarterbacks now that are capable of competing at a high level. The window is open to win even more Super Bowls in the years to come, but none of them will be as special or mean more to the city of Philadelphia as this one did.

 

The Philadelphia Eagles’ Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks, Lane Johnson and Torrey Smith were all key parts of the Super Bowl LII win. Kelce, Brooks, and Johnson are all signed to return back to Philadelphia to make another run in 2018-19.

 

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Philadelphia, this one is for you