Four years ago Seahawks fans enjoyed the euphoria that comes with a franchise's first Super Bowl win. On Sunday the Eagles got their turn, upsetting the Patriots and raising the Lombardi Trophy - something they failed to accomplish in their previous two trips to the final game of the NFL season.
I was fortunate to be in the stadium when Seattle demolished the Broncos for their title. I marveled at the team's masterful performance in each phase of the game, and scooped confetti off the field after Pete Carroll's team etched itself in history.
My experience Sunday for Super Bowl LII was vastly different. Instead of being in Minneapolis for the game itself, I was in my hometown of Philadelphia - a city starved for a Super Bowl. Everyone knew an incredible party would break out if the Eagles managed to knock off Tom Brady and the Patriots. No one knew with any certainty that they could avoid the same outcome teams like the Falcons - and even the Seahawks - have suffered.
That's why the eruptions of joy in the first half that saw Philly go up double digits were replaced with anxious grumblings as the third quarter turned to the fourth, and the lead turned over to New England.
But this time someone other than Brady led the fourth quarter comeback. And a team other than the Patriots celebrated when the game clock hit zero. Nick Foles capped a wildly unexpected Super Bowl run with a go ahead touchdown pass to Zach Ertz. Then Brandon Graham stripped Brady and Derek Barnett recovered. Philly added a field goal to its lead, and dodged a last ditch attempt at more big game magic from the man many consider to the greatest quarterback in the game's history.
And then the party started.
This sort of thing is strange for Philly fans. We're not used to happy endings. We expect heartbreak, like we experienced with this very team against the Bucs in 2003, Panthers in 2004, Patriots in 2005, and so on. Fans crammed into intersections in Center City, lining Broad Street for the most incredible, impromptu party the city has ever seen.
The reality of what happened in Minneapolis may not have fully set in. But none of that mattered. All we knew is that green confetti poured onto the field, the Birds lifted the trophy, and no one could ever knock Philly for never winning a Super Bowl. It was the occasion we'd all waited our entire lives for. And the party did not disappoint.
There were homemade fireworks displays dancing between tall buildings in the middle of busy streets. Fans climbing light poles and street lights, hydraulic fluid be damned. Groups of strangers dancing to music played from car stereos. A chorus of 'We are the Champions' and 'Fly Eagles Fly' played by wandering fans with trumpets, tubas and horns in hand.
And, yes, there was even a little destruction.
But most of all there was happiness. So much happiness. The type that can only be brought on by something these passionate, long-suffering fans have hoped for since they learned what E-A-G-L-E-S spells.
The Birds did it. Philly finally has a Super Bowl. And the party is just getting started.
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