Venue: Philadelphia, PA
Residents of the City of Brotherly Love have a reputation that certainly precedes us, we’re definitely not for the faint hearted. The Philadelphia sports fans have strong characteristics… Passionate, competitive, rowdy, senseless, and obnoxious, among other distinguishing attributes. It took FIFTY TWO YEARS for our city to experience a Super Bowl Win and our Under Dog team won the SB against the royal Tom Brady and his Patriots. To say the city was excited and emotional is the biggest understatement of all time.
In the weeks leading up to the big game Philly fans shared their excitement and anticipation… a game that was familiar to us from a time not too long ago. But this time it was different. 2018 was Philly’s year. Nothing was going to stop the team that Wentz lead and handed off to Foles to complete the year (was this real ‘Philly Special’?).
It wasn’t without stress, many are even saying that Super Bowl LLII was one of the greatest football games played for the title of World Champs. The tension in the city was palpable when the Patriots started to move the ball back down the field in the 4th quarter, doing what they do best. In the streets you could hear a pin drop, fans grasping at every superstition they could to make sure the Eagles kept their lead as the time ticked down to zero.
Then it happened. Time ran out. Final score: Eagles 41 to Patriots 33. Hugging, tears, laughter, jumping, screaming, celebrations and pure happiness follow. We’ve waited A LONG TIME for this. People flooded the city streets flocking to City Hall. There was a strong unity that bound us all together. Strangers were hugging each other, smiles stretched faces from ear to ear, laughing and crying everywhere you looked. Everyone was an Eagles fan, no matter what age, race or beliefs. The energy was intoxicating and uplifting.
Then the crowd turned… turns out when you have highly emotional people consuming large amounts of alcohol rational behavior goes out the window. Also, everything needs to be climbed. I know when I’ve had too much to drink climbing on things without a safety harness is a great idea (that was sarcasm). Given the size of the crowd in the small area surrounding City Hall, there was little violence, but there was a lot of stupidity and rowdiness. The crowd was dangerously tight, fighting through the sea of people got scary; it seemed to have it’s own push and pull regardless of which direction you wanted to go. Since most center city streets weren’t drivable and public transportation was likely swarmed, my friends and I decided to walk home before things got worse… traveling through the city it seemed as if there were no rules. The police were highly outnumbered and couldn’t begin to control the masses.
But then, redemption! Philadelphia held the Super Bowl Parade the following Thursday. Projections suggested a potential of 3 MILLION people in attendance. The Parade was scheduled to start at 11AM near the sports complex in South Philadelphia and travel up Broad Street to the Parkway and to end at the iconic Rocky Steps of the Art Museum. The party started EARLY for the fans. I was awake around 6AM and there were already people out celebrating and gathering along the sides of Broad to catch their glimpse of the team as they traveled past us. The feelings of pride and unity overcame all others. Pure joy is the best way I can describe it, it was beautiful. Overhead there were planes writing “Philly Philly” and “Dilly Dilly” in the sky. The team was driven in a caravan of huge green busses with “World Champions” marked on either side. Most players stood on the roof of the busses; some chose to walk alongside and interacted with the crowd. I can’t imagine what it would have felt like to be in their shoes. Philly PD had a lot of work to do in making sure the celebration was safe and in control, and I think they did a GREAT job! They had a strong presence but they were celebrating, too. Everyone was in good spirits.
I, unfortunately, did not witness the team arriving at the Museum or hear the speeches live. Jason Kelce did an AMAZING job representing the Eagles and our city in his speech in the Mummers outfit. The ‘hungry underdogs’ defied all odds and came out as the TOP DOGS. And sure, we’re not the classiest fans… we’re admittedly rough around the edges (sometimes worse than others). We chant obnoxious and offensive phrases, we get excited easily, yell at opposing teams and their fans and we show our beer muscles on a highly visible stage. But… We’re from Philly, f**king Philly, no one likes us, we DON’T CARE.
Thank you to the Eagles for a great season and for bringing the Lombardi trophy to Philadelphia!