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February 06, 2023

Philadelphia's vibes are immaculate ahead of the Super Bowl

For the weekly installment of "Who won the week in Philly sports," the city itself is enjoying maybe its greatest football team ever.

Eagles NFL
fans_Eagles_Giants_091922_KateFrese214.jpg Kate Frese/PhillyVoice

Philadelphia Eagles fans are bursting with excitement ahead of the Super Bowl.

I type this article on a flight to Phoenix to take part in the Super Bowl Media Week festivities. Arriving at PHL around 4:30 a.m. Philly time, I was greeted to an airport that was more packed than I imagined. I don't fly too often, but I was surprised. What didn't surprise me, however, was how many of those people were wearing Eagles jackets, hats and "It's a Philly Thing" hoodies. 

As I boarded my plane out to Arizona, the pilot announced the routine flight info and closed his spiel by saying, "I know we have a lot of Eagles fans on this flight." It had just turned 6:00 a.m. and the rowdiness was already felt. I wonder if someone will break out an "E-A-G-L-E-S" chant when the flight lands. A lot of people will hate it and when a video gets posted online, there'll be a huge backlash, but I'll just sit here (I won't be standing up immediately like a loser) and smile. 

The Eagles are back in the Super Bowl after making it just five years ago, but hey, who knows the next time they'll get back, if ever. Soak it all up. Be loud and proud even if it borders on being obnoxious. You're from Philly. What could really happen that would make outsiders' opinions of you worse? Revel in it. Embrace it. 

On a week where no Eagles game was played, I had to come up with someone to grab the mantle of my Monday "Who won the week in Philly sports" feature. Sorry, Sixers. Two 20-point blown leads in the last week takes you out of the running. I'll give this prestigious honor to the entire city. Sure, there was no gridiron glory over the last seven days, but living through a Super Bowl berth in Philadelphia is an experience all its own, one that these rabid, passionate Eagles fans more than deserve. 

During the 2017 Super Bowl run, everything felt special throughout the regular season. There was something different about that team, something that stood apart from everything this city had seen from its football team the previous 60 or so years. That familiar feeling crept back into Philly's atmosphere during this playoff run. Anywhere I went in the city, whether it be the Penrose Diner in South Philly or in Rittenhouse Square, seemingly everyone was decked out in Eagles gear. No matter their walk of life, people are rallying around the Birds. 

Spoiler alert: I haven't lived anywhere else other than Philadelphia in my life. I still can't imagine it's like this in other places. New York is a city divided when each major sports league fields two teams in the area. Boston has long lost its edge following an endless string of titles in the 2000s. Philly and the Birds aren't in that territory (at least not yet...), so let it sink in. The team and fans aren't just hungry for another Super Bowl. As Jalen Hurts would put it, they're starving for this s**t. 

I love the little things when it comes to Philly's relationship with the Eagles. The simplicity of two people in Eagles shirts walking down the street and gassing one another up with a "Go Birds!" is clichéd, but I guess I'm a walking cliché. It's seeing a Halal food truck hang up an Eagles sign on the side of their makeshift kitchen. It's dudes selling bootleg Eagles merch with some of the corniest sayings possible and putrid knockoff logos on the median on Oregon Avenue, but there's a pureness to it. It beats waiting six months waiting for a Fanatics order to be delivered at least!

A shirt that features a picture of the Rocky statue draped in a Jason Kelce jersey? Sure, why the hell not? That's better than loser fan bases heading to the Art Museum to put their team's jersey on the statue of this fictional character before the Eagles stomp them to pieces. 

I love Philadelphia. I love how all of these different people can rally around a singular cause. 2018's Broad Street celebrations may have just been a warm-up act for what's to come this weekend. 

Last week's winner: Haason Reddick

Who Won the Week 2023 Tally:

Philadelphia: 1

Haason Reddick: 1

Kenny Gainwell: 1

James Harden: 1

DeVonta Smith: 1

Joel Embiid: 1

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