A (Philly) special day

City marks historic Eagles Super Bowl LII win

By Bill Gelman

Eagles quarterback Nick Foles addresses the crowd of fans assembled outside of the Philadelphia Museum of Art during last week’s celebration. Photo by Webster Riddick

South Philadelphia residents received an early wake-up call on Feb. 8, if they even went to sleep. Fans of all ages started lining up along both sides of South Broad Street — from the sports complex all the way up to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway before 7 a.m. Schools were closed, and those who were supposed to be working had a legitimate reason to call out — in a few short hours the Philadelphia Eagles would be departing Lincoln Financial Field, 1 Lincoln Financial Field Way, for a celebration like no other — the Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl LII championship parade and celebration. Those who were still sleeping were likely awoken by the echoing “E-A-G-L-E-S Eagles!!!” chants. The Dallas Cowboy haters were out in full force, too, including one fan holding up a “Dallas Fans at Work” sign while another had one with the words “Dallas Sucks.”

As expected, green and white were the popular colors of the day. Many of the players got a little creative with their attire, especially center Jason Kelce who dressed up in Mummers attire that was provided by the Avalon String Band, 1538–40 S. 2nd St. The organization was certainly pleased by the recognition.

“These last 24 hours or so have been an absolute whirlwind! Jason Kelce donned one of our suits, and pretty much broke the internet in the process! Thank you, Jason! We hope we did you proud,” Avalon String Band posted on its Facebook page.

Eagles defensive end Chris Long went retro by wearing an Allen Iverson jersey while veteran tight end Brent Celek paid tribute to one of the Eagles all-time greats by wearing a №17 Harold Carmichael jersey.

The fans patiently waiting around the parkway and in the Philadelphia Museum of Art had a longer wait to see the floats, but the replays of Super Bowl LII — the one in which the Eagles defeated the Patriots, 41–33, kept them entertained. Many of them were watching the game for the second, third or fourth time, but chanted and cheered as if it was unfolding live.

Call it the pregame show to the big celebration that was about to take place on the art museum steps, complete with fireworks, green and white confetti and an F-bomb laced Kelce speech that Eagles fans will never forget.

When it finally came time for the victory speeches, one by one Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, Eagles radio play-by-play legend Merrill Reese, Eagles chairman and CE0 Jeffrey Lurie, head coach Doug Pederson, Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles and others each stepped up to the mic, with many of them drawing a standing ovation.

Kelce’s epic speech is the one people will remember for decades to come, even if the Eagles win another Super Bowl in the near future. All of those doubters were silenced by the underdogs who bonded together to give the City of Philadelphia the one thing it was missing from its championship collection — the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

“…. This entire organization, with a bunch of driven men who accomplished something. We were a bunch of underdogs. And you know what an underdog is? It’s a hungry dog. … Bottom line is, we wanted it more. All the players, All the coaches, The front office. Jeffrey Lurie. Everybody wanted it more. And that’s why we are here today. And that’s why we’re the first team in Eagles history to hold that freaking trophy. …” Kelce said.

But Pederson doesn’t plan on making the fans wait another five-plus decades to see “that freaking trophy” up close again, as the new mentality around the NovaCare Complex, 2 Novacare Way, centers around playing in February.

“ … We brought you guys a world championship, and just like Mr. Lurie said, we are not done yet. We have more to go, more to prove. This is our new new norm. To be playing football in February. I am so proud to represent this group, this city and this organization.”

Even now, with that Super Bowl trophy firmly in hand, the Eagles will likely open the 2018 season as Super Bowl underdogs as analysts at mytopsportsbooks.com have listed the Eagles’ odds to win Super Bowl LIII at 10/1. The Patriots — the same Patriots the Eagles defeated earlier this month — are listed at 7/1. The Birds proved this year that the only number that matters is the final outcome on Super Bowl Sunday. Feb. 3, 2019, in Atlanta is the date and location for those who want to start making plans.