June 19, 2018
Through the years, Merrill Reese has become as synonymous with the Eagles as Chuck Bednarik and Carson Wentz. That’s what happens when you become the voice of a team—as Reese has been with the Eagles since Dec. 11, 1977, when Reese called his first game as the team’s play-by-play broadcaster. His deep baritone calls have become an authentic part of Eagle fan’s Sunday afternoons, and in a sense, almost like a part of the family.
The only thing missing for Reese in over 40 years of broadcasting Eagles’ games was a Super Bowl victory. That changed Sunday, Feb. 4, of this year.
The proof came last Thursday, when Reese, along with every member of the Eagles’ organization, some past team associates included, were given a Super Bowl ring.
“What really hit it for me was standing on those open-top buses going down Broad Street during the victory parade, when I looked down the street and saw all of those happy faces, that’s when it hit me that the Eagles won the Super Bowl,” said Reese, who belongs on the pantheon of great sports announcers in Philadelphia with Harry Kalas, Gene Hart, Bill Campbell, By Saam and Whitey Ashburn. “That’s the enduring memory I’ll ever have, seeing the joy on the faces of Eagles’ fans that day.
“Thursday night was a celebration, the culmination of every great movie you’ve ever to, something that grand. It’s a symbol of what this amazing team did, and Thursday night celebrated a world championship, seeing the players, the coaching staff, the personnel people, and seeing Jeffrey Lurie at the top, putting everything together, made it a special night. Doug Pederson says it takes a village to win a champions, what Thursday night signified was what the entire organization put into making last year possible.”
Reese calls broadcasting the Eagles’ 41-33 Super Bowl LII victory “the greatest three hours” of his entire broadcasting career.
“It wasn’t emotional when I put the ring on, but I was delighted and thrilled, and I was knocked over by the size of the ring and its sparkling beauty,” Reese said. “The only emotion was being proud to be included in receiving a ring. It’s the largest ring I’ve ever worn. I will wear the ring on special occasions.
“It’s not something I will wear every day. It’s far too festive and obvious. I’m not someone who wears much jewelry, and would say that I’m definitely not very flashy. I will wear with pride, when I do wear on special occasions. I will definitely wear the ring for the Eagles’ home opener. My wife Cindy was sitting next to me when I got the box with the ring.”
Reese stressed that the Eagles owe him nothing. The team has provided him with a wonderful career that he plans to continue for years to come, with no desire to retire. An overwhelming number of Eagles’ fans expressed their happiness that Reese finally got his ring as a longtime fixture of the team.
But Reese disagrees.
“I’m happy for Eagles’ fans,” Reese said. “This isn’t about me. It’s about the fans. They are the ones I’m so happy for. There are fans that take second mortgages out to buy Eagles’ season tickets. There are fans who spent their last dollars on Eagles’ jerseys and Eagles’ memorabilia as Christmas presents for their kids. These are the people who I felt most about during the whole Super Bowl process.
“The other person that I’m really happy for is Jeff Lurie. I appreciate the gratitude I’ve received from the fans, but for Mr. Lurie, and his family, and the commitment he made to make this happen, I got as much appreciation for that as anything that happened Thursday night. It was great sharing it with these players and their families. That just goes to show everything Jeffrey Lurie does—it’s first class in every way.
“Jeffrey Lurie loves this football team. It’s his passion for this team that makes the team like his family. That was a great thrill, seeing Jeffrey Lurie being a Super Bowl to this city and this team, especially when you consider everything that he’s been through. He’s endured criticism, he’s endured doubters. For Jeffrey Lurie to say, ‘We’ve finally done it, I promised you one day we would be Super Bowl champions. Now, let’s do it again.’ That meant everything.”
Follow Joe on Twitter: @JSantoliquito
Like us on Facebook: PhillyVoice Sports