While the national media goes after tired headlines of painting Philadelphia fans like reckless savages and pinpointing the drunken idiots as a representation of the entire area, the big story of the Eagles winning the Super Bowl is that an entire city came together and bonded in celebration for the greatest victory in their sports history.
This is significant because it wasn't so long ago that people in the Philadelphia area, and the rest of the country, were completely divided over the issues and politics of the 2016 presidential election and the shocking election of Donald Trump. The country hasn't recovered since.
Philadelphia after the Eagles won Super Bowl 52
The night of November 8th, 2016 was viewed as a devastating loss by millions and cities around the world rioted in anger and division. However, the upside-down-polar-opposite event occurred 15 months later in Philadelphia, the country's birthplace, on the night of February 4th, 2018 when the Eagles won their first Super Bowl. While the rest of America still wallows in the valley of despair, Philadelphia and Eagles fans went from the seventh level of Hell to the highest peak of Heaven in just over a year.
America in 2017, Philly in 2018
When the clock struck 0:00 to end the Super Bowl, the streets of Philadelphia crowded with millions as if a revolution was occurring. Even though football still is just a game, the Eagles and their success means something in Philadelphia that is very hard to describe, and that's why most outsiders mistake our passion for savagery. Generations of families in Philly came together and bonded over this championship because it was either the first title in their lifetime or the first in nearly 60 years. Millions came together for one of the biggest championship parades of all-time as random people hugged and high fived each other not as strangers, but as passionate Eagles fans who waited so long for this day to come.
This doesn't change what is happening around the world and it won't fix everything overnight. Philadelphia is also aware of injustices around the world with a notable example of the unfair incarceration of Philly's own Meek Mill, whom the Eagles honored by adopting his tune "Dreams and Nightmares" as their unofficial theme song. Safety Malcolm Jenkins has become one of the NFL's leading advocates of social justice reform and Chris Long has used his paychecks to help educational charities across the country. With the national spotlight and a trophy to show for it, Philadelphia has a chance to show the rest of the world what it means to unite over a common bond again.
It is also going to be incredibly strange when most members of the Eagles team visit Trump at the White House because the group of men who provided me with Heaven are about to travel to Hell and do photo ops. But in this new birth of positivity for Philadelphia, I like to imagine that the grace, competence, and emotional intelligence of the organization will somehow rub off on The White House and provide Washington with calm and stability.
While the world is entering into a void of the unknown every single day, the difficulties we face on a daily basis reflects what people went through all the way back to ancient times. The Victory Odes of the ancient Greek philosopher Pindar celebrated moments of victory as a transcendent moment that brings light into a dark world. According to the introduction “The Odes of Pindar” text, they are described as follows:
“A victory meant that time, expense, and hard work had been lavished on an achievement which brought no calculable advantage, only honor and beauty. This may sound somewhat romantic, but competition symbolized an idea of nobility which meant much to Pindar; and in the exaltation of victory he seems sometimes to see a kind of transfiguration, briefly making radiant a world which most of the time seems, to him as to contemporaries, dark and brutal.”
What the Eagles winning the Super Bowl means to their fans and to the city of Philadelphia is a transcendent moment that makes radiant a dark and brutal world. The rest of the world around us is cold and bleak and the darkness has been as vivid as ever in recent years. The Eagles winning the Super Bowl doesn’t erase the darkness entirely but elevates the fans and the city to a place of peace and unity that has been absent for years.
For once, politics, creed, class, race, and gender are all put aside as we strangers unite over a common bond: the ultimate joy of the Eagles finally winning the Super Bowl. If the city where America was founded can find a way to unite together, then maybe the rest of the country and the world can follow through as well.