Through the eyes of an Eagles fan

By Ashley Weyler
February 10, 2005

Shawn Rice

It is Monday, Feb. 7, 2005, the morning after the Super Bowl. I figured I would write this while I was good and depressed. I can look to this as some sort of healing. I just still can’t believe it. I mean, just this time two weeks ago, nothing could have bothered me. The city of Philadelphia was riding high with a defeat over the Minnesota Vikings. The city finally sighed a sigh of relief. After three failed attempts to be NFC champs and go to the Super Bowl, we were finally the NFC Champions! We were finally going to the Super Bowl. Life was good.

For the next two weeks, I tried to forget about how nervous I was about the big game. Will T.O. play? Will Philly choke? Will the Patriots be the first football dynasty of the 21st century? Little by little, my mom and I planned a huge blow-out of a Super Bowl party. “This will be an all-Philly bowl party! Cheese steaks, Tasty Kakes, Philadelphia Cream Cheese, soft pretzels, Herrs Chips, green and white everywhere!” My mom would tell people. I was determined to make green jello shots too! The party was set!

Thursday night, before the big game, my boyfriend, his two friends and I decide to go to the Wing Bowl. For those of you who don’t know, the Wing Bowl is a Philadelphia pre-Super Bowl tradition where people from all over join together and engage themselves in a wing-eating contest. Last year, a tiny, 95 lb. Asian woman, known as the Black Widow took the title from Philadelphia’s own El Wingador.

We pull into the parking lot of the Wachovia Center at 1 a.m. The place is covered with tailgaters. It was insane. There were people walking around with beer in their hands, people playing beer pong, spontaneous keg stands, grills fired up cooking breakfast, footballs being tossed, snowballs being tossed, beer bottles being tossed, crazy hats, wheel chair races, a fight here and there and out bursts of chants. But not chants for El Wingador, chants for the Eagles.

It seemed like every 30 seconds, someone would start to sing, “Fly Eagles fly, on the road to victory…” or scream, “E-A-G-L-E-S, Eagles!” We soon realized, this wasn’t just an excuse for people to drink and be crazy, this was an Eagles pep rally! Every single person in that parking lot was an avid Eagles fan, decked in green and white gear. I couldn’t help but think to myself, “We are gonna win!”

The next couple of days I was pumped. I started making plans to take off from school that next Tuesday, so that I could attend the victory parade. I just kept thinking to myself that nothing was gonna stop us now.

The team was pumped. They looked good from the footage the news would show of them practicing. The city was pumped. You could feel it in the air that something amazing was going to happen.

Sunday morning, I woke with a smile on my face. I got ready and pulled my Brian Dawkins jersey over my head. I wore the same pants I wear every Eagles game day. I wore my hair the exact same way. I wore the same socks, the same jacket. Because I was dressed that exact way every week that they won, they were sure to win.

I started to decorate the house with streamers and balloons. I made my lime-green jello shots. The beer was on ice. The food was all out. It was an hour and a half before kick-off. Guests started to arrive. The mood was excited, yet calm. Everyone collectively just wished that we could fast-forward to 6:30 p.m. As we watched the honor ceremony of WWII Vets, we sat on edge. As the one honoree group, the Screaming Eagles, were announced, someone yelled, “It’s a sign!” We all cheered.

I sat in my little spot on the floor, directly in front of the TV. When the Eagles did something bad, I switched my seat until they finally did something right. Then I stayed in that sweet spot. Can you tell I am superstitious?

It’s halftime. The score is tied. Everyone disperses from our newly finished basement that my dad finished just in time for the start of the season, and with Super Bowl dreams in mind. I was still nervous. Sir Paul McCartney calmed me down, however. How could the Eagles lose the Super Bowl with a freakin’ Beatle playing the halftime show?

After the show, I said my good-byes and started the ride over to my boyfriend’s house, since he was having a party as well. On my five-minute ride over, I planned my Tuesday: waking up, throwing on my Eagles gear, piling all my friends into the car and heading down to see the parade. I got to his house just in time for the beginning of the second half.

Opening drive. What? The Patriots scored? We are behind? Plenty of time left. It’s cool.

Three drives later. Yes! Touchdown! Take that Tom Brady!

First drive, fourth quarter. No! What is going one here! It’s OK. We are gonna take this back!

Eventually, a Patriots field goal put us behind by 10. The announcers, Jim Buck, Troy Aikman and probably the most wrenched and most hated announcer by Philadelphians, and myself, Chris Collingsworth, started counting the Birds out of the race. Though this may have discouraged many people, and yes, a part of me was, it also pumped me up. I started screaming at the TV! “C’mon McNabb! You don’t say, ‘My bad,’ when you throw an interception, seven minutes left of the biggest game of your career, when you are down 10 points!”

Then, about 2 minutes later, touchdown! God bless Greg Lewis!

Alright boys, we still have time! We just needed a field goal to tie it up, go to overtime, and then take the game. Unfortunately, it would only be a figment of my imagination.

As soon as McNabb threw that last interception, with nine seconds left, I had to walk away. It hurt way too much. I stared at that final score: Patriots 24, Eagles 21.

I could sit here and sulk. I know those non-Eagles fans I taunted are going to laugh in my face and reiterate what those stupid has-been athletes turned football announcers say about Philadelphia sports teams, that they are nothing but a bunch of choke-artists. I know it will sting for years to come, these repeated disappointments. The bandwagon jolted when all those “Eagles fans” jumped off Sunday.

But ya know what? I will always be proud of the Eagles. They can lose every year, which they have been doing a lot of recently, and I will still bleed green. There really is always next year.

So, one more time, before I put it away until next August, E-A-G-L-E-S, EAGLES!

Posted to the web by Shawn Rice

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Ashley Weyler

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