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Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024
The Observer

Masin-Moyer: Being an Eagles fan has finally paid off

It’s really hard when your city and your football team are known for one thing — throwing snowballs at Santa Claus more than 40 years ago.

It’s brought up by every announcer who thinks they’re funny in any game in Philadelphia that’s even moderately cold to bemused chuckles from the rest of the commentary crew.

But now, at least for a little, the Philadelphia Eagles are more than that; this time, they’re Super Bowl Champions.

Every year, growing up, I can remember getting so close to uttering those words.

I’d pull on my black, No. 5 Donovan McNabb jersey, hop on the school bus every Friday before the NFC championship, where my friends and I would play football outside in the snow during recess and mimic what we thought would be an Eagles victory.

Every year we were disappointed, constantly falling short in the NFC Championship and even once in the Super Bowl in 2004.

Since this period of dominance throughout the first decade of the 2000s, I’ve waxed in and out of Eagles fandom.

There were even times when I downright didn’t like them, as my father and I shared an unadulterated loathing for Chip Kelly.

But it all started to come back to the childhood love I had for the team this year, where my watching got off to a wilder start than usual.

I was in Paris, wrapping up a few weeks of travel before my semester abroad in Dublin, waiting with my friend Devon to catch a train back to Lyon, where I would catch a plane out.

We were out of sites to see and had a few hours to kill. Realizing the Eagles were on we found an American-style sports bar, asking in broken French if they could switch on the Eagles game.

We proceeded to watch the Eagles, behind the great Carson Wentz, take down the Redskins — you could tell there was something special about the team.

It wasn’t just Wentz and the team’s skill on the field, it was the players on the team who spoke out in roles despite widespread condemnation from the many areas of the sports world at large.

Malcolm Jenkins, who raised his fist during the national anthem to protest racial injustice, invoking Tommie Smith and John Carlos at the 1972 Olympics, and Chris Long — who after Neo-Nazis marched in his college home of Charlottesville, Virginia, pledged his entire salary to education equality — especially come to mind when thinking of these players who spoke out, created a community and showed that teams who play politics can still succeed.

But the community experienced by the city of Philadelphia goes far beyond these players.

One of my favorite stores of Philadelphia celebrations — of which I have already heard many — came from two of my best friends from high school, James and Liam, as they watched in a house on the outskirts of Drexel University.

Celebrating with housemates, they heard a knock on the door. It was a police officer on patrol to make sure the city didn’t descend into chaos — he wanted to come in to have somebody to celebrate with.

You can’t make this stuff up because once, and for one night, Philadelphia fans weren’t just a bunch of jerks who threw snowballs at Santa or beer cans at Vikings fans, but instead a group who truly lived up to their moniker of citizens of the “City of Brotherly Love” and though I couldn’t be home to see it, I’ve never been prouder to call myself an Eagles fan.