As I prepared myself for the Eagles to compete in and ultimately win the Super Bowl I knew I needed to send all of the appropriate vibes to Minneapolis for the team. What did that mean? Curating a Philly experience for myself here in North Carolina.
First, what I did not do, though I considered it for longer than was logical: Before there was a Rita's Water Ice here in Greensboro (it since has left), my wife and I used to plan our trips to Charlotte or the Triangle such that a trip to Rita's was involved. I remembered that during one such trip, we passed what seemed to be an exclave of Philly in Mooresville: a Rita's right next to a pretzel jawn (which I now know to be Philly Pretzel Company). It's about an hour and 20 minutes from home, but I thought about making the trip. In another direction, I had heard the team on 919 Beer speak of Patrick Jane's in Cary, which "imports" Amoroso rolls for its cheesesteaks.
Still, I stayed local. After crowdsourcing recommendations for cheesesteaks, I landed on an option right around the corner from which I had often ordered pizza, and Burke Street Pizza (pictured) is legit. I grabbed some Tastykake products (and introduced my kids to Butterscotch Krimpets) locally as well.
Then there was the beer selection. In a normal year, I'd typically do a make-your-own-six pack with representation from the cities/regions of both teams, or perhaps the host city, but for obvious reasons I was going all Delaware Valley. I knew my first call was going to be Victory - from Downingtown, and appropriately named. I got a six of Home Grown lager. Turns out my choose your own ended up all Victory as well - Festbier, Mighty Things, Dirtwolf, 4 Front, Golden Monkey, and HopDevil.
What I left out? Dogfish Head. I came to be an Eagles fan through Delaware, but Dogfish Head is downstate. I can't promise the folks in Slower Lower are thorough - too many Skins fans down there. Plus, Sam named Dogfish Head after a place in Maine. No New England here.
The Philly love continued into the broadcast: God Bless America by Leslie Odom, Jr. The National Anthem by Pink. And of course the team taking the field to Meek Mill. And after the victory, Philly's own Kevin Hart getting bounced from the dais. Back in Philly, the parade feature Jason Kelce dressed as Mummer and reprising a Philadelphia Union chant, and Chris Long in an Iverson jersey. The city and environs responded in kind, turning out in an estimated 700,000 for the victory parade.
Postscript: I offer no apologies and seek no absolution for backsliding and watching the Super Bowl. Still, if there were any team I was proud to root for in the midst of Kaepernick remaining unemployed, the Eagles were the best choice available. I don't yet know what the future holds for me and the League, but now and always, Fly Eagles Fly.