A few months back, Jason Kelce took some heat for his comparison of Eagles and Cowboys fans. Basically, he said he was proud to represent a localized fan base of die-hard fans, who grow up together cheering for our teams, living and breathing every win and loss. His description of Philadelphia fans hit it right on the nose.
If you’re about my age, you have 2008 and 2017, and if you’re a Philadelphia fan I don’t have to tell you what either one was. We also can vividly describe you SpyGate, Joe Carter, watching Allen Iverson play whole playoff series by himself, Ryan Howard’s achilles, and Eric Lindros’ concussions. Folks just before my time had the Broad Street Bullies, 1980 Phillies, and the 1983 Sixers. Philadelphia fans who are adults today have had to endure three straight NFC title game losses, but let me tell you, we’ve had it good. My grandfather’s generation had it rough. He saw his first and only Phillies title at 50, two Eagles titles in his life, two Sixers titles, two Flyers titles, and the A’s and Warriors pack up and leave town. Fans before that may not have seen any success that wasn’t from the old Philadelphia A’s. Even as bad as it was though, those old guys created the generational bond that stretches from William Penn’s statue across South Jersey, down through Delaware and Northeast Maryland, west to Amish country, and north to the Lehigh Valley. We’re surrounded across the northeast by more “elite” cities like New York, Washington, and according to the press, Boston. Cheesesteaks and beer, baby. We know our teams will break our hearts plenty, yet we keep the faith that a World Series or Super Bowl run is coming.
Some athletes just get Philadelphia, and right now we’re gifted with them. I mentioned Kelce above, and at this point he’s part of our folklore here. Bryce Harper’s time in Philadelphia has already shown him to be one of us. In fact, the current Eagles and Phillies teams are as good of a representation of us as could exist. Joel Embiid has shown himself to understand Philadelphia in a way many athletes cannot (ahem, Ben Simmons). The Flyers have had a rough decade or so, but I’m keeping faith that we’ll have an Orange and black parade or two in the next one. It is simply a great time to be a Philadelphia fan.
Tonight, for the fourth time in the Super Bowl era, the collective populace of the fourth largest media market in America will sit on edge as our Birds go for the title. Grandparents, small children, and raging adult fans like myself all alike will wake up tomorrow elated or depressed by the result of a game. We’ll be readying to go to the parade with our buddies we grew up with, or settling in for snow season and waiting for the next chance to do it again. Either way, I think we’re all proud to be represented by a team that is as gritty and tough as we are.
Amazingly, I think today might be a lower key Super Bowl for me. I’m going to grab a Wawa Italian hoagie, visit some people, and try to watch every damn second of this one. Hell, I may not drink so I can go into town to get a cheesesteak tonight 😏. I don’t hate the Chiefs fan base like some, I was in Omaha (big Chiefs country) when they won a few years ago and I gained some real respect for their fan experience, but the Eagles have to defeat Andy Reid in this one.
In the name of all that is holy, Go Birds 🦅.