Millions of people attended the victory parade for the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday. Every one of them withstood sub-freezing temperatures, wind chills, and congested trains just for a chance to catch a glimpse of their athletic heroes. Reporters from The Daily Pennsylvanian went out to take their portraits, listen to their stories, and learn why Philadelphia is known for having "the greatest fans in the world."
Minh Truong & Tikki Truong
With a unicorn headpiece and a “Stand with Meek Mill” sign, Minh Truong was easily identifiable in the sea of green that extended across City Hall.
Minh, who was with her twin sister Tikki Truong, said she wore the unicorn headpiece “because it’s a magical day.”
The sisters were originally born in a refugee camp in Thailand, and later immigrated to North Philadelphia in 1991. They were first introduced to football by their neighbors and sponsor family, and have been Eagles fans ever since.
The sisters say they have since moved out of their sponsor family’s home and found their own place to live. This past Sunday, they watched the Super Bowl and the fireworks that followed together.
“[It’s] the first win I’ve ever had in my whole life,” Minh says, kneeling momentarily so her point could be heard above the shouts. Tikki continues standing atop a mailbox while discussing what the parade meant to her.
Unzipping her heavy coat to reveal her Eagles shirt, Tikki says, “No matter how hard we get knocked down we get back up. All the losses that we have, all the doubts — it teaches us a lot about ourselves. Today’s about hope, about faith in humanity, about faith in brotherly love.”
Dancing with strangers in a circle on the sidewalk of Benjamin Franklin Parkway, 19-year-old Bejon Pryce is radiating with energy. He stops jumping up and down only after he gets a headache, pausing momentarily to recount how heartbroken he was when the Eagles lost against the Patriots in 2004. Even though he was only five years old, he remembers the incident vividly. Now, a sophomore in college, Pryce felt struck by amazement among the parade crowd.
Pryce came with his close friend from West Chester University in West Chester, Pa. He was at the parade from the very beginning, and planned to stay in the city until the end of the day; he had waited close to two decades for this day.
"I'm a big dancer. When it comes to getting lit, that's me. I'm the party. I'm a walking party. If you turn music on near me, you're gonna get the urge to dance, to move, bust around, laugh. That's just how I am,” Pryce said.
"It's been lit. It's been real lit. Everybody from all the way down City Hall to down here. We're all lit in one spot, jumping around having all this fun and waiting for that parade to come down here."
The Scott Family, Danielle Leone, & Anthony Leone
In the muddy area outside the Philadelphia Art Museum, Cedric Scott, 50, sits on a lawn chair inside a yellow tent. Scott arrived with his cousin at the site at 5:30 a.m. in the morning and spent half an hour setting up the tent in time for his daughter, Amber Scott, 17, and her friends, Danielle and Anthony Leone, 14 and 18.
All three kids attend Williamstown High School in New Jersey, which Anthony says is “as Eagles as it gets.” Amber, who is wearing a yellow ski suit on top of her all-green get up, says the three of them woke up at 4 a.m. this morning to make the two hour commute down to Philadelphia.
“We’ve been Eagles fans since we came out the womb,” she says.
When recounting their experiences of the big game, the three teenagers can barely contain themselves.
“I just remember the fourth quarter of the game being so stressful because I know Tom Brady is a second-half quarterback," Amber says. "That last quarter was so stressful, and in those last few seconds, I just started bawling."
“I have an Eagles pendant right,” Danielle cuts in, holding out her metal necklace. “I remember, it was the the third quarter and it was 33-32. I was stressing out, and the first thing I did was I kissed my pendant. Soon after that, we got a touchdown,” she says. “I literally couldn’t believe it.”
Anthony jumps in, “When they won, my cousin and I — he was drunk off his ass — we grabbed two twelve gage shotguns, walked into the backyard and fired three rounds of buckshots in the air to celebrate the Eagles winning the god-damn Super Bowl."
The 18-year-old leaves one last message before reclining back into his chair: “Tom Brady is a piece of shit who doesn’t deserve his sixth ring. Guess who does?”
Like on cue, Danielle and Amber yell: “THE EAGLES!”
Dennis & Pat Suplee
After the confetti settles and the skywriting that reads “Philly Dilly” starts to fade, Pat Suplee is for a moment, speechless. Dressed in a green fur coat and with green sunglasses on top of her head, she says the parade was “absolutely fabulous.”
“I love the Eagles,” she exclaims. “They are together, no one’s a diva, and everyone’s willing to give credit to each other.”
Pat, who is with her husband Dennis Suplee, describes how down-to-earth the Eagles players were as they passed by on the parade floats, handing down trophies for parade-goers to touch. She adds that her favorite moment was when Jason Kelce, the Eagles Center now gaining Twitter fame for attending the parade in a mummer’s costume, waved to fans from atop a float.
Dennis, 75, received a law degree from Penn Law in 1967 and recounts the Eagles’ history leading up to Sunday’s victory.
“I actually remember the game in 1960 when the Eagles won the NFL championship," he says. “But this, this was even more wonderful.”
Pat agrees, adding, “The Eagles have become America’s team.”
Jason & Shiloh Brown
2004 College graduate Jason Brown, 36, is standing 50 yards away from the fence bordering the parade near the art museum. His daughter, 5-year-old Shiloh, sits on his shoulders, waving her arms to Cardi B.
Brown and his wife Vanessa, 35, traveled from Wynnwood, a suburb just outside the city with their family of six. While Shiloh sits on top of his shoulders, 10-year-old Zion and 7-year-old Garner stand by their mother, straining their necks to see beyond people’s waists. In between them, 20-month-old Cyrus sleeps soundly in a pram.
“I’m Philly all the way,” says Brown, who was born and raised in the city. “Even when the Eagles didn’t do too well, we were in it and the kids, they have no other choice but to be fans too.”
Brown says he and his family love Malcolm Jenkins, one of the most active players within the NFL in terms of social and political advocacy. Jenkins was among several Eagles players who recently said they would decline an invitation to the White House if President Donald Trump provided one.
“We love Jenkins and what he’s stood for all season long. They’ve shown a lot of class in how they play and what they represent to the organization and to the whole NFL,” he says.
The Penn graduate adds that he thought it was important to bring his family to the parade to make a lifelong memory.
“This has been a family ordeal and I imagine that we’ll be Eagles fans for generations to come. I want [my children] to look back and say, ‘through all the craziness, through all the cold, mummy and daddy took me to the celebrations,’” Brown says, smiling. “They’ll remember this for the rest of their lives.”
All comments eligible for publication in Daily Pennsylvanian, Inc. publications.