The moment Tom Brady’s desperation Hail Mary bounced harmlessly off Eagles cornerback Patrick Robinson’s hands and hit the ground, the lives of an entire city of Eagles fans changed in a way that can never truly be measured by mere words. Finally. For the first time in the history of the Philadelphia Eagles’ long and torturous franchise, the team had finished a season as the last unit standing, Super Bowl champions, something that can never be taken away no matter what happens moving forward.
If it were possible to rank how much a championship means to a fanbase, what the 2017 Philadelphia Eagles just accomplished ranks among the annals of sports history with the 2004 Boston Red Sox, the 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers and the 2016 Chicago Cubs. If it was possible to measure how much a city loves its football team, Philadelphia’s love of the Eagles might be first among all NFL franchises.
There’s been a deep-rooted insecurity rooted in the souls of every Eagles fan from the day they were born. It’s the first bit of knowledge anyone learns about the Eagles. It’s almost as if the entire fanbase had previously accepted that winning a Super Bowl not only hasn’t happened, but it can’t happen. Instead, we’ve been forced to celebrate the near-misses, like the two previous Super Bowl appearances and four other trips to the conference championship game. Every Eagles squad we’ve ever grown to love, from 1980 to 1991 to 2004, has ultimately broken our heart. Zero Super Bowl titles has been the end-all to every argument. Every Eagles fan can attest to countless arguments ending in the classic “How many rings you got?” There’s really never been a rebuttal. Until now.
This completely changes everything moving forward for Eagles fans. A fanbase that is used to failure finally got that magical moment it has longed for. Ask any Eagles fan and they sensed something magical happening throughout the course of this season. Losing Jason Peters, Jordan Hicks and Darren Sproles would have been too much for other teams in the league to overcome, let alone losing the likely Most Valuable Player in Carson Wentz. Past Eagles teams would have folded, most certainly losing to Atlanta. It was the blowout win against the Minnesota Vikings that gave this fanbase reason for optimism heading into the Super Bowl, despite facing the most powerful dynasty in the history of professional sports. And it was a thrilling victory in the Super Bowl that turned a city of millions of eternal pessimists into optimists. For the first time ever, it’s not the Eagles’ fanbase that will spend the offseason replaying countless what if moments from the previous season. This time there is no what if. It happened. It actually happened.
Time will tell what happens with the current group of Eagles players, who do look poised to compete for multiple Super Bowl titles in the near future, but dare I say that fans will no longer watch games and expect the worst to happen. Not anymore. The last month has showed the world that what was previously considered to be the impossible can actually become a reality. Enjoy it, Eagles fans. This one is for all of you.