It’s that time of year again.
But this time, it actually matters for Philly, and Penn is getting in on the fun.
As the Philadelphia Eagles get set to take on the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII, Penn’s campus is filled with fervent support for the Birds.
The whole city has united behind the team, and whether you are at the high rises, on Locust Walk, or in DRL, you are bound to see some of the ever-familiar green, white, and black combo of the Eagles’ color scheme.
The Penn Museum is even taking part in the excitement, as employees dressed the museum’s satyr statue with quarterback Nick Foles’ jersey last Friday.
Part of the hype surrounding the Eagles is their meteoric rise to the top of the league standings this season. After finishing 7-9 for the past two seasons, Philadelphia turned it around this year to finish 13-3, its best regular season finish since 2004, coincidentally also the same year the team last reached the Super Bowl. Their opponent in that game was none other than the Patriots.
So if there is one thing on the mind of Eagles fans, it would be revenge for the 24-21 loss their team suffered in Super Bowl XXXIX.
“It would be payback for the first Eagles game I can remember watching, the Super Bowl where the Eagles lost to the Patriots,” College sophomore Matt Hermann said. “Right now, not much would make me happier than to see the Eagles win this game.”
“Beating the Patriots would probably change many people’s lives considering we lost to them in ’04,” College freshman Harris Avgousti agreed. “As a Philly fan, I hate the Patriots for what they did to us and beating them for our first Super Bowl would be the perfect ending.”
Despite having the best record in the NFL, the team has had its fair share of misfortune this season, as they have been plagued with injuries since Week 1. Most notably, starting quarterback Carson Wentz tore his ACL in Week 14, taking him out for the rest of the year. The role fell to backup Nick Foles, who has since led the Eagles to five wins in six games.
Without a doubt, the most impressive of the Eagles’ wins would have to be the 38-7 thrashing of the Vikings in the NFC Championship last weekend. With a potential home Super Bowl on the line, Minnesota took an early lead before Philadelphia scored 38 unanswered points to the elated roars of the home crowd at Lincoln Financial Field.
“Even as the game became a blowout, every score and every big play had the place rocking,” College junior Max Jones said of his experience at the game. “Everyone knew that we’d been picked underdogs in our home stadium and the fans made sure they did their part to help the squad. At the end it was like a 70,000-person party, and you could feel the joy in the air.”
College freshman Jake Singer was also at the game and shared Jones’ sentiments.
“People here love this team more than anything. When Patrick Robinson had the pick six, the stadium went berserk; it was the loudest moment I have ever experienced,” he recalled. “It’s a really powerful experience for passionate fans of a team that is rarely this successful, and to do this despite losing key players makes this that much more special.”
After the win, crowds of people took to the streets to celebrate. During the day, police had applied Crisco grease to downtown street poles to deter fans from climbing them after the game, but this did not stop them for long.
“The celebration of a Super Bowl win will be a thousand times bigger than the celebration we saw last Sunday,” said Singer of a possible Eagles victory. “I’m not sure there will be a Philadelphia left if the Eagles win the Super Bowl.”
A few Penn students, such as Engineering freshman Jack Goettle, are even braving the cold and traveling to Minneapolis to see the game in person. His prediction: a two-touchdown Eagles victory.
“I'm hyped for the Super Bowl, considering I've been waiting for 14 years, and I bought my tickets earlier this week,” he said. “Eagles 27, Patriots 13. Book it.”
Given the harsh treatment many Vikings fans received while in Philly for the conference championship, Minnesota might not be the most welcoming place for flocks of Philadelphians, but it takes a lot to stop the Birds’ followers.
Students not at the game can still easily join in on the revelry. For many, the possibility of a first Super Bowl win for the Eagles would take temporary priority.
“I have three midterms the week right after the game but if we win I’ll run straight down to Broad Street and just celebrate for the whole week,” Engineering freshman Ethan Boyer said.
For other students, like Jones, the game has a personal touch.
“Beating the Patriots would be extra special for me, because I actually moved to Boston when I was 11 and had to watch all my friends celebrate championship after championship for their teams,” he said. “It was tough because none of my friends had experienced their football team suffer.”
Whether the fans are true diehards or part of the group who jumped on the bandwagon, it is hard not to appreciate the sense of community that the team’s success has fostered not only on campus, but throughout the entire city.
Singer could not express how much a Super Bowl win would mean - not only to him, but to Eagles fans everywhere.
“Generations have come and gone without seeing this team win a Super Bowl. Never winning is part of our identity," he said.
"People’s lives will change if this team wins.”
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