Welcome to Philadelphia where the city becomes more dangerous if their team wins the Superbowl than if they lose.
On Superbowl Sunday, over one hundred million American households tuned in to watch the Philadelphia Eagles beat Tom Brady and The New England Patriots with a tight score of 41-33. Naturally, the whole city took to the streets to climb poles, rip down traffic lights, and even scale the gates of city hall while the rest of the country looked on wondering why the city was losing its mind.
Let me explain.
My family has been long-time Phillies and Eagles fans, so I was born into it.
Being raised to like Philadelphia sports is an experience like no other.
If you want to meet the most die-hard fans in the country, come to Philadelphia. People will live and die with our teams here. Just look at this list of things Eagles fans have done. We’ve thrown snowballs at Santa, thrown batteries at players, and punched horses, just to name a few.
However, that also makes us extremely cynical and bitter as fans. If the Eagles suck, you roll your eyes and groan but, you still watch the games and check the scores. Even in losing seasons, Lincoln Financial Field still has good attendance.
Being a bandwagon fan is almost as bad as being a Dallas Cowboys or Giants fan here. Almost.
That doesn’t mean that bandwagon fans don’t exist in Philadelphia because they do. Those are the people that have never heard of a Phillies or Flyers player but suddenly became die-hard Eagles fans since Carson Wentz came to town. These are also the same people who conveniently get to forget that the Patriots beat the Eagles in the 2005 Super Bowl because Andy Reid can’t coach through a fourth quarter to save his life. Poor Kansas City is feeling the effects of the Andy Reid curse now.
Years of being the underdog have primed Philadelphia for this moment.
The 2008 Phillies’ World Series win was a brief relief and the city celebrated in a similar fashion. It was good for awhile but that team fell off the playoffs radar by 2011. The Eagles have struggled since Donovan McNabb was traded to the Redskins in 2010 to find a consistent quarterback that could take them all the way. The Flyers have been consistently at the bottom of their conference and the 76ers are so awful even die-hard fans have a hard time supporting them.
When Carson Wentz was injured, most people thought it was over. How could anyone predict that Nick Foles, a quarterback who the Eagles traded away after the 2014 season only for him to return this season, would be Tom Brady's perfect match? If you had told anyone at the beginning of the football season that Foles would be the Superbowl MVP over Brady, people would laugh in your face.
Eagles fans were already prepared to accept defeat which makes this win even more unbelievable.
Now the Eagles have the potential to be a factor in the NFL for more than a few years. However, being a Philadelphia fan means not believing that the Eagles are going to stay good while also having an identity crisis wanting to believe it. Being a Philly fan means buying into the suffering of being one. So what do we do now that we have a whole season of being the champions? How do Patriots fans handle this all the time?
We're just used to bitterly eating our cheesesteaks over here!
Whatever happens next season, at least Philly fans can die knowing that the Eagles have finally won a Superbowl. That’s what really counts anyway.