Wow, what a year of football for Philadelphia fans!
It started in the warm weather of late April with the very impressive NFL Draft at the Art Museum, and ended in same spot during an early February chill with a parade some thought would never happen.
The dream is now a reality and it was the party of all parties.
Full disclosure, my view stunk. My girlfriend Sonia and I spent at least an hour trying to find a decent spot on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway that included a solid angle at the stage, or one of a Jumbotron, while still being able to see the buses carrying the team go by. Unfortunately, we were on the wrong side of Parkway. The players were obstructed and the stage was blocked by big screens. At least a 5’10” dude like myself could see said screens, but I can’t accurately say the same for my shorter companion.
Following initial disappointment, which included changing our shoes due to the incredibly muddy Parkway grounds, deep reflection made us realize the incredible experience we went through of being around millions (not buying the Manchester Metropolitan University estimate of thousands) of Eagles fans for several hours, which included a wonderful ceremony that we can always say we were at and heard even if we couldn’t see. In addition, later watching footage of what occurred on Broad Street and the rest of the parade route, there’s no debate the Eagles metaphorically drove down the field with a methodical 10-play drive that resulted in an electrifying game winning touchdown.
It was the perfect way to cap a perfect season.
These 19 games featured the continued growth and emergence of a 25-year-old franchise quarterback who put together an MVP season before tearing an ACL and LCL. There was a fun nine-game winning streak with blowouts and creative celebrations. December was full of close football games as the Birds fought for the all important home-field advantage. Then, when very few believed they make it past Atlanta in the Divisional Round of the playoffs, this likable squad with zero divas banded together embracing the underdog label. They won a nail-biter against those Falcons, a laugher versus the Vikings’ No. 1 defense and a shootout against the dynastic Patriots, all with a backup quarterback that nearly retired a couple years ago.
If there was one team that would end the over century long drought, this was the ideal squad to do so.
A collection of 53 players most of us thought could compile 10 wins as at least a Wild Card team in the playoffs became legends.
Years down the line we’ll be putting our children and grandchildren to bed with stories of Jake Elliott’s 61-yard walk-off field goal versus the Giants, LeGarrette Blount’s bulldozing runs, Carson Wentz’s Houdini act on Monday Night Football against Washington, Wentz breaking the franchise’s single season touchdown record on one knee, the goal-line stand against Atlanta, Patrick Robinson’s pick six versus Minnesota, the flea flicker to bury the Vikings, the “Philly Special” on 4th and goal in the Super Bowl, Brandon Graham’s crucial strip sack of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Jason Kelce’s epic rant at the parade.
Kelce, Graham, Nick Foles, Doug Pederson, Wentz, Howie Roseman, Jeffrey Lurie and many others on the 2017-18 Philadelphia Eagles are officially legends and folk heroes.
They’re in the same sentence as the 1948, 1949 and 1960 Birds, 1966-67 76ers, the Flyers of the mid-70s, 1980 Phillies, 1982-83 Sixers and 2008 Phillies.
But, what separates them from the rest is they brought home what was once the elusive Lombardi Trophy. That’s not the case anymore. This team fully intends on more celebrations like the one of February 8, 2018. To them, this is just the beginning to a new way of life in the City of Brotherly Love.
No reason to doubt them anymore.
They’re the World Champions.
Can’t wait until next season.