I remember Super Bowl XXXVIX.
The year was 2005, and the Eagles were riding high. I was sitting on my grandmother’s couch in South Philadelphia, just a minutes walk away from Lincoln Financial Field. But then, according to urban legend, Donovan McNabb puked and the Eagles lost to the Patriots.
I remember the 2008 NFC Championship game. This time I was on my own couch with my hands covering my face after the Eagles lost to the Arizona Cardinals. They failed again.
I remember the Chip Kelly years, though I wish I didn’t. Let’s not talk about it.
But the Eagles’ 2017 NFL Season went a little differently.
A famous fictional movie character once said, “It ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.”
Of course, that character is none other than Rocky Balboa, the Philadelphian boxer with a chip on his shoulder, and the protagonist of the “Rocky” movie series. And of course, every journalist has completely exhausted all “Rocky” quotes, video clips and sound bites in an attempt to describe this Philadelphia Eagles’ season. I promise this is my last one.
If you’ve been living under a rock, the Eagles won Superbowl LII in electrifying fashion. But still, in the public eye, the sports culture in Philadelphia has always been a tad rugged, to say the least. The city is known to have one of the few fan bases that will boo their own team when they fail to perform. In short, Philadelphia is thought to be a second-class sports city.
Sports media personality Colin Cowherd once went so far as to call Philadelphia the dumbest sports city in America. Personally, I’m a fan of Cowherd and his show, but when it comes to this, he just doesn’t get it.
And now the Eagles have a Lombardy Trophy to show for it.
This championship means everything to Philadelphia. The city, just like the Eagles this season, has been an underdog for the longest time. We as sports fans wanted to be recognized as legitimate.
Yes, the Phillies have won a World Series or two. But in Philly, baseball seems to be the sport of a different generation. The Phillies organization tends to rely on an older, mostly male fan base.
Yes, the Flyers brought home two Stanley Cups trophies in the ’70s, but on average, hockey audiences are the most wealthy of any professional sport.
Yes, the Sixers have three NBA Championships under their belt. Their fan base is more diverse, but it consists of relatively younger people.
Deep down, Philly is a football city. Rich or poor, young or old, male or female, black or white and anywhere in between, if you are from Philadelphia, you are an Eagles fan.
This magical 2017 NFL Season allowed the Eagles to bring a Super Bowl victory to Philadelphia, bring legitimacy to our city and bring people of all demographics together at the same time.
That’s why football is the greatest sport there is.
That’s why I will watch my Eagles fly until I go blind or die.
That’s what this victory means to Philadelphia.