Five years ago, the Eagles won their first Super Bowl in franchise history, and residents of Philadelphia stormed the streets in celebration. People climbed up lampposts, set off fireworks, and even overturned cars as the city transformed into a sea of chaos and partying.
This past Sunday, the Birds returned to the big game, only this time, they fell short — much to the city's dismay. A somber mood blanketed Penn after the loss as students left the various watch parties around campus and returned to their dorm rooms. Eagles fans streamed out of bars in Center City, some visibly crying, others angrily screaming, "F**k the Chiefs."
However, an outcome that might have broken the spirits of many sports fans across the country seemed to actually bring the city closer together on Sunday. As hundreds gathered on Broad Street after the game, frustration and despair were rampant — but under all that simmered hope, an unwavering loyalty to the Birds, and a thirst for vengeance.
Here's how the Penn and Philadelphia communities reacted to the Eagles' 38-35 Super Bowl defeat.
Residents of Hill College House streamed the Super Bowl together in their club lounge. Penn hosted watch parties in a majority of the college houses as well as in Houston Hall, offering snacks, bingo, raffle prizes, and more to keep students entertained throughout the night.
Emotions ran high during the game, and fans were on their feet cheering with every successful play made by the Eagles. Houston Hall erupted into shouts and applause after wide receiver A.J. Brown caught a 45-yard pass from quarterback Jalen Hurts. The excitement continued into halftime, as the Eagles maintained a 10-point lead over the Chiefs.
However, the back-and-forth nature of the game brought lows, too. Touchdowns from the Chiefs' running back Isiah Pacheco and wide receiver Kadarius Toney in the second half resulted in the Eagles trailing by one point with only 12 minutes left. Nervousness and anticipation permeated the air. Everyone's eyes were glued to the TV in Houston Hall's game room.
The energy was mirrored over in Center City, where dozens of fans gathered outside a screen set at Uptown Beer Garden to watch the final minutes of the game. Despite the rain and low temperatures, the group's morale was high.
When Hurts ran into the Eagles' end zone for the two-point conversion, tying the game at 35-35, the atmosphere became electric. Beer cans were tossed and shouting intensified as people celebrated together and reveled in their hope for a positive outcome.
Clinging to each other in desperation, Eagles fans then watched the Chiefs' placekicker Harrison Butker make a 27-yard field goal in the final eight seconds of the game. With one kick, the team's dream of another Super Bowl victory was ripped away from them, and supporters were left stunned in disappointment and grief.
On Broad Street, people began pouring out of bars and watch parties. Many headed straight to the SEPTA station by City Hall, while others wandered aimlessly, still reeling from the loss.
Yet, within 30 minutes, the street became packed. People fed off each other's emotions, repeatedly chanting "F**k the Chiefs" and cheering on unofficial Philadelphian icons in the crowd — such as a costumed Elmo wearing an Eagles jersey and a man dressed as Benjamin Franklin.
Center City saw a heavy police presence on Sunday, with hundreds of officers lined up outside City Hall and stationed in the streets by the time the game finished. As the crowd became more violent as the night progressed, police with riot gear and batons deployed smoke bombs in an attempt to stabilize the crowd and protect buildings.
Despite the increased security, the city continued to celebrate. A group of drummers led the crowd forward, pushing their way past people as they marched down Broad Street towards City Hall.
As the night continued on, Philadelphia residents continued to use each other as support. Even without another Super Bowl victory for the Eagles, the city always finds hope to celebrate.
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