The championship that brought respect to a city

By Santino Terranova
December 16, 2022

Senior communications major, John Rader, and his father, celebrate the victory. Photo from John Rader.
Senior communications major, John Rader, and his father, celebrate the victory. Photo from John Rader.

On Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018, the Philadelphia Eagles’ long drought of winning a Super Bowl was finally put to bed. The franchise was finally able to hoist the coveted Vince Lombardi Trophy that diehard Eagles fans, like myself, have waited on for 52 years. We finally got our due. It’s a day in Philadelphia sports history that will no doubt go down as one of, if not the most memorable and unforgettable in recent memory that brought respect to the city of brotherly love.

The Eagles’ win against the Patriots accomplished sweet redemption as the Patriots defeated the Eagles 13 years prior in Super Bowl XXXIX. The Patriots stood against us Philadelphia fans from having a parade down Broad St. Redemption back then, and this was certainly on the minds of everyone in the Eagles community, including the players and fans decked out in midnight green.

Understanding the roots

My grandfather and father, and other older members in my family, who are absolutely long-term diehard Eagles fans, taught me about Philadelphia’s past greats, legends, and Hall of Famers from the ‘48, ‘49, and ‘60 NFL World Championship teams who paved the way.

Respectfully, to mention their incomparable 1960 NFL World Championship win under the legendary and Hall of Fame head coach, Vincent Lombardi (to whom the current Super Bowl trophy is named), on a cold and windy December day at Philadelphia’s famous Franklin Field.

An underdog story

The Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl victory parade. Photo by Santino Terranova.

We all embraced the underdog mentality that came with the 2017-18 playoff run. As the number one seed in the NFC playoffs with a record of 13-3, Philadelphia had a home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Despite having this home-field advantage, Philadelphia was the first number one seed in NFL history to be underdogs in every home playoff game. 

Nobody respected Philadelphia as the number one seed due to the fact that MVP candidate and their starting quarterback, Carson Wentz, suffered a torn ACL during a week 14 regular season game against the Los Angeles Rams. I was devastated; the one we couldn’t afford to lose went down. Injuries were the only thing that could stop Philadelphia en route to their first Lombardi.

With Wentz sidelined, the organization was forced to turn to their backup quarterback, Nick Foles, to finish the job. Foles weathered the storm, helping his team clinch both the NFC East and number one seed in the NFC. As underdogs throughout the playoffs, Philadelphia players sported dog masks to push the underdog mentality even further. 

A mantra the Philadelphia players used as sporting injuries piled up was, “One, two, three, we all we got! Four, five, six, we all we need!” 

Foles went toe-to-toe with Tom Brady on the biggest stage. 

The fourth quarter

Brady led the Patriots’ offense down the field finishing the drive off with a touchdown pass to the Patriots’ tight end, Rob Gronkowski. The extra point gave them the lead 33-32 with 9:22 remaining. I knew it would come down to the final minutes. 

Foles answered while all of us held our breath, throwing a touchdown pass to Philadelphia’s tight end, Zach Ertz, to give Philadelphia the lead again. Philadelphia went for a two-point attempt but was unsuccessful, leaving the score at 38-33.  

We celebrated Ertz’s touchdown as if Philadelphia had just won their first Super Bowl. We had to believe in their defense – to stop Brady. 

The Play

Philadelphia’s defensive end, Brandon Graham, made the greatest play in Philadelphia Eagles’ history. On what could’ve been the game-winning drive that got Brady his sixth Super Bowl ring, Graham strip-sacked Brady, and Philadelphia’s rookie defensive end, Derek Barnett, recovered the fumble to give Philadelphia’s offense a chance to put the game away with 2:09 remaining.

We all went insane. Everyone fired up, screaming in excitement as the almost unthinkable happened. None of us expected a turnover. We could taste the Super Bowl victory, all they needed to do was run the clock out.

Philadelphia settled for a 46-yd field goal from rookie kicker, Jake Elliot, to put the birds up 41-33 with 1:05 remaining. The Patriots had one last chance.

The Patriots had to go 91 yards in 58 seconds with no timeouts and convert a two-point attempt in order to force overtime. As each remaining second ticked off the clock, we got louder and louder as it became more and more of a reality that the birds were going to be hoisting their first Lombardi Trophy.

Champions at last

The Patriots got the ball up to their own 49-yard line with nine seconds left. It was Hail Mary time. Brady took the snap, escaped pressure from Graham, rolled to his right, set his feet, and launched for the end zone. All of us held our breath. As time runs out … incomplete. 

View of Lincoln Financial Field. Photo by Santino Terranova.

The Philadelphia Eagles were finally Super Bowl champions at last. The green and white confetti rained down as the celebration began. 

We all were ecstatic, hugging one another, screaming “Super Bowl champions,” as we just witnessed the birds win their first Lombardi.

NBC play-by-play commentator, Al Michaels, was on the call, “And time runs out! And for the Philadelphia Eagles, the long drought is over! Finally!”

Voice of the Philadelphia Eagles on SportsRadio 94.1 WIP-FM, Merrill Reese, ecstatically announced the win, “And the game is over! The game is over! The Philadelphia Eagles are Super Bowl champions! Eagles fans everywhere this is for you! Let the celebration begin!”

The 2017-18 Philadelphia Eagles performance and accomplishment should not be understated – the first team in Eagles’ history to win a Lombardi. Their grit, hunger, ability to handle adversity, strong mentalities, changing of the culture, and greatness also contributed to their success.

Winning the Lombardi changed everything about being a Philadelphia Eagles fan. The standard has been raised, expectations are higher, and ultimately, winning is the goal every season.

My passion for being a Philadelphia Eagles fan has only grown deeper since the 2017-18 Philadelphia Eagles were able to bring the Lombardi home, and give us a parade down Broad St.

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Santino Terranova

Hi, my name is Santino Terranova but you can call me Sonny! I’m from Norristown, Pa and currently a junior digital communications/social media major with a sports communications minor. I hold the Sports Editor position for The Loquitur where I oversee the sports section. I like reporting on sports content considering I’m a diehard Philadelphia Eagles and 76ers fan. A career goal of mine is to become a full-time play-by-play sports broadcaster! I love seeing the game in person and getting to call it live is a big dream of mine. A couple fun facts about me is I’m a big sneakerhead, and I went to every Philadelphia Eagles’ home game during the 2021-22 season. I also hold the Music Director position for Cabrini’s student-ran radio station which streams online only and host my own two hour weekly show with the station.

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