35,000 sports fanatics swarmed the center city on February 5th as the Philadelphia Eagles won their first ever super bowl. Fans dressed head to toe in emerald green, paraded throughout Broad Street; fireworks lit up the night sky; people were climbing buildings and hanging off street signs- and I was there to experience it all.
Perhaps the most interesting part of my experience was the idea that the whole ordeal wasn't nearly as destructive as I was told to expect. True- you may see videos circulating online of people climbing poles, falling through awnings, and even literally eating horse crap, but truthfully, that was a very small percentage of the celebration. My experience went a little differently.
Tom Brady throws the ball across the field with one last attempt at a hail mary to tie the game, but the pass is incomplete as the clock strikes zero. After a round of tequila shots (except for me, the token underage fan) and a rendition of Eagles fight song "Fly Eagles Fly" that made the window's shake, my family and I dashed down the stairs and joined the growing crowd on our way to Broad Street. The echo of fireworks could be heard, mixed in with the shouts of fans hanging out of windows, watching the crowd flow past. One particular third-floor apartment was banging pans together in their own personal way of adding noise to the celebration.
We finally find ourselves on Broad Street, and the noise is deafening. Cop cars have left their sirens on — though only to add to the noise as they too celebrate — and chants of "Big Dick Nick" (a reference to quarterback Nick Foles, named MVP of the game) are overlapping over "Fly Eagles Fly." My cousin, brothers and I decide to push our way forward and join the crowd. As we walk, we high-five cops and people standing on the sidelines and join in on the chanting.
Some fans decide to take it a little far and climb to the top of a building. The police get everyone back safely on the ground and the celebration continues.
I finally manage to get some cell reception (35,000 people on one street = terrible service) and decide to meet up with a couple friends who go to college in the area. After saying goodbye to my family and promising that I'll keep in touch, we go our separate ways. The party was still going strong at this point, though the streets had cleared up enough that we could walk down them.
I looked around and noticed that there was nothing on fire, no one injured on the ground, nothing even remotely alarming about the state of the city of Philadelphia. As far as I could tell, the extent of the damage was empty beer bottles. I didn't just feel relieved, I felt proud. The celebration was just that — a celebration.
I finally make my way back to my uncle's apartment, where the noise has settled down and most people are turning in for the night. Most of my family has gone to bed, with the exception of my uncle, two cousins, and brother. The rest of the night is spent watching "SportsCenter," discussing what we saw on the streets while separated, and winding down after a very long night.
Take it from someone who was there for it all: Philadelphia on Super Bowl Sunday was no crazier than any town celebrating a Super Bowl win. No one died, no major damage was reported. Police officials were present, but joined in on the party. Eagles fans have waited over half a century to celebrate like this, so it's not that surprising to see that things got a little rowdy. The only reason people are shining a bad light on the celebration is because of Philly's reputation. The truth of the matter is that you're going to see this wherever you go. Patriot's fans at UMass certainly weren't happy about the loss they suffered, and took to their streets as well, instituting a full-out riot. The only difference between them and us is that police didn't have to resort to physical measures to keep us in line.
I will forever be thankful for the opportunity to be on the streets the night the Eagles were handed their first Super Bowl win. Not only this, but I will also forever defend my city. Let sports fans be sports fans, and stop trying to turn everyone against Philadelphia. For once, let the city of Brotherly Love come together and do exactly what it was named for — show some brotherly love.