By Jack Despeaux
Student Life Editor
Notoriously passionate lifelong fans of one the most unrewarded professional sports teams witnessed history, as Head Coach Doug Pederson and the Philadelphia Eagles raised the Lombardi Trophy for the first time in franchise history. It was Super Bowl LII, on Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018, and the Eagles defeated the New England Patriots, 41-33. While this was a national event, students celebrated the night as it happened.
There were Super Bowl viewing parties throughout campus: some were invite-only, and others were open-invite parties in the fraternity houses.
According to betonline.com, the states that make up New England and North Dakota were the only states that were rooting for the Patriots, and the same ratio accurately reflected the students on campus’ hopes for the Super Bowl.
Senior Samson Ramasamy said that this was the case elsewhere on campus. “I ran outside and across the whole campus you could hear yelling and cheering.”
Why would this Super Bowl have such an emotional and vibrant reaction any more than other Super Bowls? The answer there lies in the history of the Eagles.
The last time the Eagles won a championship, it was before the time of the Super Bowl. The Eagles won the 1960 NFL Championship Game, and have been in a drought since. The team visited the Super Bowl in 1981 for Super Bowl XV and were defeated by the Oakland Raiders. In 2005, the Eagles lost to the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX.
Although the Eagles had won the NFL Championship, that victory seemingly became obsolete with the introduction of the Super Bowl era. For many fans, it was the same as never having won the big game.
Until now, that is. With their victory over the Patriots, Eagles fans were redeemed of a history absent of victory.
“We saw a great football game. As an Eagles fan, it’s been a long time coming,” Ramasamy said.
Senior Philadelphia native, Danny Redmond, was raised watching Eagles games.
“My dad was just a die-hard fan,” Redmond said.
He said that his first real moment as an Eagles fan was when he went to a game a the age of eight. The Eagles lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“They got slaughtered,” Redmond said, “and I was completely absorbed by the team.”
He said he then saw the Eagles lose to the Carolina Panthers in the NFC Championship in 2004, and he knew that he was a fan for life.
With many Washington College students coming from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware, many have always been Eagles fans.
Among these fans are the die-hards: those students who have followed the team through thick and thin, and have seen the peaks and falls of their favorite team. Redmond said being a fan of the Eagles “builds character.” For these students, the victory was euphoric.
“I couldn’t stop smiling for 30 minutes,” said senior Joe Stockburger, a lifelong fan, regarding Tom Brady’s late-game fumble. “I had the realization that my team would win their very first Super Bowl.”
“At first I really didn’t believe it,” Ramasamy said. He said that the reaction he heard across campus “showed what it means to everybody.”
For Patriots fans, the game was not so euphoric.
“It was a good game. [I’m] still disappointed that the Pats couldn’t get the win,” said sophomore Patrick Berry.
With all of the success that the Patriots have had in their history, Berry didn’t mind seeing the Eagles win for once.
“It was about time the Eagles won the Super Bowl,” he said.
In reference to the media and stories about Philadelphia fans rioting and causing chaos in Philadelphia, Redmond said that there are plenty of idiot fans, but their passion is there. Eagles fans have historically taken criticism for their support of their team and what Redmond said was “their loyalty and truth,” but he also said, “It makes it a lot sweeter that we haven’t really changed or compromised based on what the media and other fanbases say.”
To watch his favorite team win their first Super Bowl, Redmond went home to be with his family. Redmond said he has watched almost every game with his dad, and his dad picked him up before the game on Sunday to watch it and “scream at the television” together again.
“It still hasn’t hit that we played in the Super Bowl, it’s a new feeling for all Eagles fans,” Redmond said, when asked about the end of the game, also saying, “Get back to me in three months” about how it felt to see the Eagles win their first Super Bowl.