Monday, January 24, 2005

Brave New World

That great whoosh you heard around 6pm yesterday was the collective sigh of relief from the entire Philadelphia Region as the Philadelphia Eagles defeated the Atlanta Falcons and the electric Michael Vick 27-10 to advance to their first Super Bowl in 24 years. When the Eagles last went to a Super Bowl, Ronald Reagan was barely into his first 100 days and I was 8 years old. I really don't remember a lot about that season, just the build up to the Super Bowl, because it was all over the local news. I also don't remember a lot of the game itself either. Just that we had spend Super Bowl Sunday at my grandmother's, we seemed to be visiting every weekend. It was an event back then, but not at the level it is today. We left for home while the game was on, and I remember pleading with my Dad to put it on the radio so I could hear up to the bitter end.
But that was my Super Bowl memory, one year removed from a World Series win and two years before an NBA championship, it seemed like Philly was on a roll, and the Eagles would get back to the big dance soon.
Finally, 24 years later, we have another chance. Finally, the monkey is off our back, the critics have been silenced, for now, and the city can enjoy the victory and the vindication and the anticipation and the circus that surrounds the Super Bowl.
There's still one more game to be played, one more opponent to best, and this opponent will their greatest test. The New England Patriots. Defending SuperBowl Champions, a team whose winning record over the last 4 years is second to none, winners of 2 Super Bowls in 3 years, and aiming for a 3rd.
On paper and in the early line New England is clearly the favorite, and their dismantling of Pittsburgh showed why, but as I mentioned before. That's why these games are played, because on any given day any team can best any other team, regardless of any other factors.
But, that's in less than two weeks. Right now Philadelphia is feeling good about itself, people were smiling and partying civilly. For several hours after the game this was truly a City of Brotherly Love. And that kind of civic spirit is why cities and states will continue to fund professional sport franchises and lure them to their cities.
For myself, I look forward to the big game with cautious optimism. New England is a formidable opponent, but not unbeatable. The Eagles will have to play their best game to date and they will beat the Patriots. And then this city will shut down and party harder than it has at any point that I can recall.
I can't wait.


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