Euphoria spread across the wet streets of Philadelphia last night as the clock on the Super Bowl ran out, and it became clear that the Philadelphia Eagles had beaten the New England Patriots 41-33 in Minnesota. Penn students, staff, and faculty joined thousands of Philadelphians in every corner of the city as they celebrated the team’s first ever Super Bowl win.
Minutes after the game ended, Penn students were seen charging down Spruce Street in the rain, yelling “Go Eagles!”; cars heading into Center City were honking non-stop as firecrackers were set off on Broad Street and throngs of people in green marched down Market Street waving Eagles flags and chanting, “We all we got. We all we need.”
Swarms of Philadelphia police attempted to control the crowd as it spread across the city but to little avail. Even as garbage trucks were used for crowd control, fans in Eagles jerseys were seen climbing traffic poles, moving vehicles, and buildings in various states of undress. By midnight, cars had been turned over and vandalized, and multiple traffic poles outside City Hall had been taken down by fans.
College freshman Daniel Acosta who was celebrating downtown said, “The city is transformed, everyone is incredibly happy.”
College freshman Annah Bierenbaum agreed, “This is the first time they’ve won and I’m a freshman. This will never happen again in our four years. We’re just here to live life.”
“It’s just so amazing. You want to be part of the history,” said Wharton senior Isabela Peralta, who is from Costa Rica. “Where we come from, Latin America, it’s super big to go down to the streets and see everybody united for a cause, so it’s pretty cool to be here now and go through the same thing here. And it’s our senior year so it’s ten times cooler.”
But some students who traveled down to Center City said the excitement of the situation escalated too quickly.
College sophomore Kaila Helm said she saw “people running up and down the road, people climbing walls, people climbing lampposts." She added, "It’s just really crazy.”
Helm said she decided to return to campus once she witnessed a group of people flip over a car.
“A bunch of people flipped a car and there were three or four people including myself yelling ‘stop’ and everyone else just watched and cheered them as they defaced someone’s property, which is absolutely insane,” she said.
After finishing 7-9 for the past two seasons, the Eagles found much more success this year, finishing as the top seed in the National Football Conference with a record of 13-3. The last time the team reached the Super Bowl was 13 years ago, when it lost to none other than the Patriots.
Even before the start of the game, city officials had been making preparations for the crowds. Over 50 police officers were stationed along Broad Street, which was closed from City Hall to Pine Street.
The bars on Broad Street were overflowing with fans cheering throughout the night, and many — Penn students and local Philadelphians alike — gathered in the pouring rain outside the full-capacity bars to watch the television screens through the foggy windows.
Located on the corner of 15th and Walnut streets, the Fox & Hound Sports Tavern Bar and Grill was packed to capacity. Howl at the Moon, a bar at 15th and Latimer streets, was also completely full. People were lined up down the block waiting to get a seat in these bars.
Penn football players, College sophomore Choyce Bostian and Wharton junior Nico Ament, were two of the many fans standing outside of the Fox & Hound Sports Tavern Bar and Grill during the game.
“Even though we’re both from California, it’s a once in a lifetime type of deal where you can come down and actually be in the city where the team is in the Super Bowl," Ament said.
Bostian added a somewhat prescient warning during the game, "If Philadelphia wins this game I doubt there will be laws in the city tonight. It will be absolutely wild.”
During the game, there was little to no room for servers to move inside, and drinks were being passed out from the bar as everyone's eyes were glued to the game. Every 10 minutes or so, people chanted "free beer!"
More than 150 people also crammed into Houston Hall for a University-sponsored watch party.
“I’m always rooting for the underdogs, so I’m hoping we pull through," College freshman Kelsey Padilla said, as she was watching the game in Houston Hall.
A large group of students also gathered to watch the game in Hill College House.
"Yo, it's my first year in Philly, and it's the first year the Birds going to win. Let's watch it, let's get it!" Wharton freshman Lobo Itzol from Guatemala said toward the middle of the game. "It's my first time watching football, and they're doing a good-ass job, so I'm with it."
College freshman Kevin Zeno, who was also watching the team in Hill, said he had ties to each team.
"I'm from Massachusetts, but I want the Eagles to win," Zeno said during the game. "Either way, I'm going to be happy, but I want the Eagles to win so I can celebrate here in Philly."
It was a nerve-wrecking two hours, but many of these students got exactly what they wished for. If the scenes on campus and across the city last night were any indication, the Super Bowl celebrations aren't about to stop anytime soon.
On this historic night — and many more to come — Penn joins Philadelphia in pronouncing loudly and proudly, "Fly, Eagles, fly."
Staff reporters Lucy Curtis, James Meadows, Avni Kataria, Julie Coleman, Dan Spinelli, and Manlu Liu contributed reporting.
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