I digress. The Eagles are the toast of this frosted town.
The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Bill Lyons, as is his wont, put it best: If you were just coming of legal age when the Birds last won a championship, you are now collecting Social Security.
Philadelphians love their Iggles unconditionally. No matter what the disappointments, and there have been many more of those than triumphs over the years, when it comes to their gridiron heroes, all is always forgiven and forgotten in one huge collective embrace. The locals may have allegedly booed Santa Claus, but they never hold grudges against their football idols.
Something about this town’s makeup binds them closely to the sort of players who grind it out and get their uniforms dirty. And even though Philadelphia has become more of a service industry town like so many other former manufacturing centers, that lunch pail tradition persists and explains, in large measure, why teams like the Eagles and the Flyers engender much deeper loyalties than, say, the Phillies or Sixers.
This year’s installment of the Eagles has finally made it to the grandest stage after three straight near-misses. Naturally, their adoring public is besides itself. The Super Bowl will feature a Philly-Boston match-up befitting a long tradition whose archives include the legendary Sixers/Warriors vs. Celtics battles of the Chamberlain-Russell and Irving-Bird eras and the Flyers-Bruins Cup series of the early ‘70’s.
So, it’s Quaker Philadelphia vs. Puritan Boston once again. Don’t expect pacifism from those fellows in green.