Eagles

What It Means to Be an Eagles Fan; Why This Game Is So Important

INSTAGRAM | RYAN SPILLMAN (@RSPILL20)

Let me be up front: the only thing unique about my story is my name and even that isn’t original. For those that don’t know, my name is Anthony John Mazziotti III; I’m 24 years old from Glendora, New Jersey. I bleed midnight green (obviously) and I have a game day tradition that I wouldn’t trade for the world: I watch the Birds with my dad, Anthony John Mazziotti Jr.

My dad’s the biggest Eagles fan I know, I get my love for the Birds from him. Watching our favorite team on Sundays is our escape from reality. I look forward to it, it’s what get’s me through the week.

Like I said in the opening line, my story isn’t unique. I’m sure there are tens of thousands of Eagles fans just like me who watch games with their dads. There are even more who have their own traditions. However, when you boil it down we’re all the same. We are all watching, cheering on our Eagles, singing the fight song, and going through the ups and downs as a team. The down times might be more prominent in our memories but it only brings us closer together as a fan base family.

That’s what it means to be an Eagles fan, enduring the years of disappointment and coming out even stronger the next season. From the four NFC Championship games with nothing to show, to the “Dream Team”, to the Chip Kelly era, we’ve made it through and are stronger because of it. Being an Eagles fan isn’t for the faint of heart. We’re easily the most scrutinized fan base in the NFL. If I had a dollar for every time I was asked, “How many rings do you have?” or heard the phrase, “Snowballs at Santa”, or even most recently, “Did you really punch a horse in the face?”, I would be able to pay off my parents house, clear my student loan debt, and buy a new truck. Being an Eagles fan is owning it, knowing that no one likes us and not caring at all. We might not have a Super Bowl but 1.) That will change come Sunday night, and 2.) The Eagles have won NFL Championships in 1948, 1949, and 1960. The win in 1960 was the only loss in (arguably) the best coach in NFL history, Vince Lombardi’s, playoff career.

Super Bowl LII is something special for the Eagles and their fans. In my experience following social media, the NFL Network, and social interactions over the past two weeks, this is the most unselfish team and fan base I’ve ever seen. No one wants this win for themselves, myself included. Lane Johnson (and Bud Light) are on record saying they will front the money and alcohol for a parade. When asked about it this past week he told NJ Advanced Media “I don’t mind putting my own money if we’re going to a parade. Nobody expected it but here we are. I’ll be a man of my word. It will be fun.”

Jay Ajayi said his favorite thing about being an Eagle is the fans, he said “Philadelphia’s fan base is the closest thing to a London football team, like Arsenal. The fans are so passionate about their team. I love being a part of it.” Check it out in the video below:

I think I speak for everyone when I say that I want this Super Bowl for the city of Philadelphia. For too long we have been underestimated as a whole. Once Carson Wentz went down no one outside of our market thought the Eagles would get past the first round. Even people within our market, the “realists” were saying there was no way the Eagles could get to the Super Bowl. I don’t need to get into a whole thing about why or how the Birds got here, but they did and we’re all stronger because of it.

I want this Super Bowl for all the fans and players that have come before me. For guys like Harold Carmichael, Randall Cunningham, Donovan McNabb, Brian Dawkins, and Brian Westbrook. I want this for the players who didn’t live long enough to see Philadelphia hoist the Lombardi Trophy like Reggie White and Jerome Brown. For the fans like my dad who have been waiting a lot longer than I have. That’s who I want this for the most. That’s what makes us a special fan base and team: not many people are here for themselves, or here for the parade. The team and the fan base alike have bought into Doug Pederson’s team first mantra. The Philadelphia skyline is lit up in green. There’s billboards everywhere that say things like “From Wentz we came in Foles we trust!” or something as simple as “Bring it home!”. Other Philadelphia sports teams are posting videos on social media cheering on the Eagles. There’s a sign in my hometown that says “don’t drink and drive, Fly Eagles Fly!”. The entire area is coming together and it really is a thing of beauty. We’re all we got and we’re all we need. To me, that’s what it means to be an Eagles fan. The upcoming game isn’t “just a game”. It’s an event that’s bringing upwards of millions of people together. Being an Eagles fan in this situation is so much more than rooting for a team in a game: it’s a lifestyle.

I said it before: my story isn’t unique. I’m just a 24-year-old kid from New Jersey who is obsessed with his local professional football team. On Sunday night I’ll don my official Lane Johnson underdog shirt, my AO1 hat, and I’ll be sitting next to my favorite Eagles fan. There will be no sweeter feeling in my life than when the final whistle blows and I can finally scream “We’re Super Bowl champions!” My thousands of brothers and sisters will vouch for me.

 


You can follow Anthony Mazziotti on Twitter (@AntMazziotti) and e-mail him at anthonymazziottiwriting@gmail.com.

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