Philadelphia Eagles hold a ‘Philly Special’ parade after Super Bowl win


Photo courtesy of the Philadelphia Eagles Facebook page

Kirstin Wilson

A customer at a Scranton sandwich shop once told me that being a Philadelphia sports fan meant that I must love to lose.

To add to the burn, on the counter of this same shop was an empty box labeled “Eagles Trophy Case.” I hate to break it to them, but things have changed.

From the moment the Philadelphia Eagles won Super Bowl 52, “We are the world champions!” became the most overused phrase by every local broadcaster, reporter, player and fan in Philadelphia.

Each speech at the Eagles parade started and ended with this statement as if everyone couldn’t believe it was true so they felt repeating it would help it sink in. It didn’t.

I headed to Drexel University Wednesday evening to stay at a friend’s apartment for the night. We were up and out the door early Thursday morning and began our trek down Market Street to City Hall.

By 8 a.m., the sidewalks were packed with young kids in oversized jerseys, adults in underdog masks and even a few brave souls sporting a head-to-toe Eagles costume.

Once we reached City Hall, we were met with jumbotrons replaying the Super Bowl.

By the reaction to each play, you would think this was the first time fans were watching it. Odds are it was way beyond their second time rewatching it.

As we made our way to the Ben Franklin Parkway, college students on street corners blasted from speakers the unofficial Eagles anthem “Dreams and Nightmares” by Meek Mill. People drove by and honked their horns to cheer in their own kind of way.

We reached Logan Square and were stopped by the mass of people waiting to rewatch a history-making play, the Philly Special. The entire square and parkway lit up with excitement and started chants of “MVP,” “Foles” and the Eagles fight song.

An hour or so had passed and we picked up the pace. We made a left at the grass of The Oval and were stunned by what felt like a million fans.

We zigzagged through many family reunions, groups of friends sharing old stories and strangers exchanging snacks for alcohol.

After two hours of standing with close to frostbitten toes, I was surrounded by people. To my left was a group of guys who just met but could have easily been mistaken for best friends. To my right was a daughter on her father’s shoulders creating a memory that will last a lifetime. Behind me was a man seated in mud and a little too intoxicated for his own good. In front of me were the world champion underdogs.

The setting said everything there was to know about the parade that day: Strangers embodying the city of brotherly love over a team they grew up rooting for.

Each person had their own reasons for being a fan, but one thing remained consistent, the smile plastered on every single face from Broad Street and Pattison Avenue all the way down to the steps of the Art Museum.

Once the players began their speeches, the fans began their chants. One of my favorites was when starting quarterback Carson Wentz took the podium.

“MVP” chants rang out through the parkway. The emotion and amazement on his face was mirrored on the fans’ faces when he said, “you all better get used to [winning the Super Bowl].”

Center Jason Kelce was the star of the show. Dressed as a mummer, he made the most impactful speech of the day.

Kelce shouted, literally, that the underdog label the Eagles took on didn’t just apply to the team as a whole.

This label was pushed upon each of our players, our head coach and on the entire fanbase. But when it came down to it, this team and the entire city of Philadelphia wanted this more than anyone else.

Safety Malcolm Jenkins closed the ceremony by saying it’s not the doubt of others that decided how the Eagles played, it was the their response to it that unified the entire Eagles franchise and allowed them to win.

As Queen’s “We Are The Champions” played throughout Philadelphia, I kept thinking that this championship meant more to us than just the title.

It meant more to the team than just the ring. It meant more to everyone than just being able to say we finally won one. To the Eagles players, fans and everyone in between, this meant the world.

So even if the customer from that Scranton shop thinks Philly is a city that loves to lose, to me, it’s a city that remains hopeful in times of trouble. It’s a city that has been told for 52 years that it can’t win it all, but guess what sir, we just did.

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