People keep asking me, "was this the best weekend of your life?" My response: “There isn’t even a close second.”
However, before I get into details about the Super Bowl, I want to thank my parents, Lisa and Andy. My mom is a native New Englander turned Eagles superfan long before it was cool to be apart of the “Birdgang.” She gave up the opportunity to attend the game with my father because she “wanted me to have this experience.” I only found this out after the fact and I’m forever grateful.
My dad, who graduated from Penn in 1984, was able to secure tickets through one of his close friend and fellow Penn classmate.
Speaking of those tickets, our seats were in the 14th row, in between the end zone and the five yard line — by far the best tickets I’ve ever had to a football game. Our section, like most of the stadium, was predominantly composed of Eagles fans. This game might as well have been at Lincoln Financial Field, the Eagles home stadium. To be frank, the constant yelps and screams from die-hard Philadelphians could have solved the energy crisis — the atmosphere was that electric.
Still, the Super Bowl experience is more than just the game.
My Super Bowl Sunday started off like this.
I woke up at 10:00 a.m., turned on SportsCenter, played “Dreams and Nightmares” by Meek Mill on loop while showering, put on my Cody Parkey Eagles jersey (long story why I have a Cody Parkey jersey), and went to the Minneapolis Convention Center to tailgate. The tailgating tickets were once again courtesy of my dad’s college classmate, free of charge.
At the Convention Center, we could not help but be overwhelmed by how much green we saw. It is well known that Philadelphia fans travel well, but seeing it in person was something else. During the tailgate, Sting and Darius Rucker performed live concerts and the food and drinks were endless, as if they were trying to pack the “freshman 15” into three hours. Best of all, it was all indoors and a lot warmer than the one-degree-fahrenheit temperature outside.
After indulging on the food, drinks, and scenery, my dad and I took a shuttle to the stadium around 3:15 p.m., wanting ample time to watch the Eagles warmup and to boo Tom Brady before the 5:30 p.m. local-time kickoff.
Obviously, most of you are well-versed in what happened. The Eagles won 41-33 over the best organization in sports in one of the most thrilling Super Bowls ever. Backup quarterback Nick Foles had the game of his life and my beloved city no longer has to hear about how we have no rings.
Throughout the game, my emotions ranged from pure ecstasy to chilling fear. Unsurprisingly, Trey Burton’s touchdown pass to Nick Foles provided one of those moments of pure ecstasy.
I turned to my dad and others around me before the play, which was a fourth-and-goal from the one-yard line, and stated that I think we should kick a field goal. Clearly this is why I played soccer, not football, in high school because Eagles coach Doug Pederson dialed up the perfect play call. After the touchdown, I turned to those around me, shrugged my shoulders, and said I was wrong.
I was able to capture the play live for my personal Snapchat, but unfortunately I could not capture the play for the Daily Pennsylvanian Snapchat. To all my editors, sorry (not really that sorry) I let you down.
And yes, for those who follow me: If you could hear profanity, it was probably from me and I apologize.
If I am going to be honest, watching it on TV is way better than watching it live. Do not get me wrong, I like Justin Timberlake’s music more than most guys my age should and I was overjoyed to be at the game, but I mainly spent halftime looking at the clock for the second half to start.
As the second half unfolded, my excitement turned to worry that the Eagles would blow another chance at a Super Bowl victory. Tom Brady was unstoppable in the second half, and it felt like the Eagles were just barely holding on. Brady has made a career out of comebacks – Falcons fans can tell you all about it.
Once the Patriots took a 33-32 lead late in the fourth quarter, I was bracing myself for the worst. I did not think the Eagles would win at that point. This was Brady and Bellicheck we were talking about — they always find a way. After taking back the lead, Brandon Graham and Derek Barnett afforded me a euphoria I have never experienced before in my life.
Only up five, everyone around me had a creeping feeling that Brady would drive the offense down for six. When Graham actually stripped Brady and Barnett fell on top of the football, I could not believe it at first. My dad and I were jumping up and down, hugging and high-fiving the very people we had just met.
When Brady’s Hail Mary heave hit the turf and the confetti started pouring onto the field, the emotions I was feeling cannot be put into words. I am not one to cry over sporting events, but I got pretty close at this game. From reading above, it’s a given that I cheered, hugged, high-fived, screamed, and everything in between once the clock hit triple zero.
However, there were moments when I was just speechless, times when I sat back in awe that my team finally did it. We finally f**king won.
I felt like I was a paid extra in a cheesy sports movie. The Eagles season would yield a script too cliché for Hollywood and I could not believe I was actually in Minnesota to witness my city finally make it over the hump.
After the game, I met my friend from high school, who was also at the game where I was sitting (albeit, the wrong section at first). We took a couple pictures, mainly for our moms, and witnessed Roger Goodell give the Lombardi trophy to Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie — the image forever sealed in my brain.
After the festivities in the stadium, my dad and I went to downtown Minneapolis in subzero temperatures to a bar to meet up with some of his old Penn buddies. Eagles fans took over the entire place, with the backroom composed predominantly of Penn alumni and their children.
Throughout the night, we serenaded the restaurant with “Fly, Eagles, Fly” chants and mediocre but loud renditions of our fight song. I spent a lot of that time texting my friends from high school and Penn, constantly wanting updates on the riots happening downtown.
All in all, witnessing the Eagles first Super Bowl is an experience I’ll take to my grave. Aside from the game, Minneapolis is a great city, despite the weather. The “Bold North” is home to the country's nicest people. Even the Uber drivers are nicer.
Jokes aside, I do not think this will be the Eagles' last Super Bowl win, but one can never be sure. And there is no guarantee I get tickets to the next one.
Nevertheless, I am glad I went to this one and will take the memories from this weekend with me forever.
See you all at the parade and Go Birds!
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