Students Celebrate Eagles Advancing to Super Bowl

Villanova student Matthew Ryan and his mother (CLAS ‘86) at the NFC Championship.

Courtesy of Matthew Ryan

Villanova student Matthew Ryan and his mother (CLAS ‘86) at the NFC Championship.

Elijah McDow, Staff Writer

On the evening of February 4th, 2018, The City of Brotherly Love celebrated like never before. Nearly 1,200 miles away, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, as Meek Mill’s “Dreams and  Nightmares” blasted on the stadium’s loudspeakers, the Philadelphia Eagles defeated Tom Brady and Bill Belichick to win Super Bowl LII. 

In a little over a week, the Eagles will have the chance to win football’s ultimate prize once again. After defeating the San Francisco 49ers 31-7 and advancing to the Super Bowl, the Eagles will be playing the Kansas City Chiefs in Glendale, Arizona on February 12th at 6:30 PM EST.  With a matchup between the Kelce brothers, Jalen Hurts leading the Eagles offense and Rihanna performing at halftime, this game is one that should not be missed. 

It is an exciting time to be a Philadelphia sports fan. The dust has barely settled from the Phillies’  exhilarating playoff run and the Eagles’ 8-0 start to the season. While the Phillies came up short in the World Series against the Houston Astros, the Eagles will hopefully return from Arizona with a victory.

For many Villanova students, the Eagle’s season and this weekend is one they will not soon forget. On a day that also marked the return of Justin Moore, two tailgates were happening simultaneously in South Philadelphia. On one side of the Wells Fargo Center’s parking lot there was a sea of midnight green, and on the other side, a sea of navy, white and powder blue.  

While Villanova fell to Providence, 70-65, the disappointment of this loss was short lived because, after the final buzzer sounded, the attention of many students turned across the street where the Eagles were preparing to play the 49ers at Lincoln Financial Field.  

This was especially true for senior and Villanova cheerleader Kayden Johnson. Once her cheerleading duties were over, Johnson’s full attention turned to the Eagles. 

“My roommate and I went straight to the Eagles game after the Nova game and we were so excited,” Johnson said. “This season has been incredible and the energy in this city is insane.”  

An Eagles fan since day one, Johnson is no stranger to the hatred that is often associated with the city and franchise. 

“People love to hate Philly but there is nowhere else like it,” she said. Instead of taking offense to this hatred, Johnson has fully embraced it and her outlook for Super Bowl Sunday is the same as many other Eagles fans, “no one likes us, we don’t care.”

Johnson is not the only Wildcat taking this approach, as sophomore Taj Walter also has a similar outlook. As a Philadelphia native, he has enjoyed every minute of the season from August until now. 

“This whole season has been amazing,’’ Walter said. “It’s been so nice to be good again.” Throughout the entirety of the playoffs, Walter has made sure his allegiance to the Eagles is clear and obvious. While he has received a hard time for this, he knows plenty of people despise  the Eagles and has responded by “talking a lot of trash and wearing jerseys.”  

The majority of this season has left many Eagles fans excited but also in awe. Two of those fans are Johnson and Walter but another is sophomore Peter Kowenhoven. 

“Winning in 2018 was amazing and I never thought we would be able to turn it around so quickly,” Kowenhoven said. “Jalen Hurts took a massive jump this year and the draft picks and offseason trades have been vital to us reaching this moment again.”  

When asked how this season compares to five years ago, Kowenhoven was quick to mention how a night like February 4th, 2018 can never be replicated. 

“Nothing will ever top that night in 2018,” he said. “When we won I started crying, and to this day, it is still t,he best moment of my life. Even though nothing will be as good as 2018, winning this Super Bowl will still be special, I probably won’t cry again but I’ll definitely be wearing my lucky jersey that I wore five years ago.” 

Even Villanova professors are getting in on the Super Bowl excitement. John Pierce Adj. prof. of psych. J.D.  sported the hat Jason Kelce wore at the Eagles Super Bowl parade in 2018 to class on Monday. The hat was recreated by Delaware County designer James May. 

“He has made about 300 or so so I picked up mine up today to grab it to be part of the Eagles community, celebrate the victory and provide hopefully good luck for two weeks from now,” Pierce said.

It’s clear that the spirit of the Eagles is resonating with everyone at Villanova from professors to students. As Johnson alluded to, “there’s nowhere else like Philly.” 

Whenever one of the teams is doing well, everyone comes together to celebrate. It is a special feeling and a sense of community that many other cities do not have. Despite the traffic, road closures, larger than usual crowd and tight windows in between games, this past weekend demonstrated that many Villanova students show the Eagles the same love that they do the Wildcats. Even though the Super Bowl will take place 2,350.1 miles away, it may as well be held in Philadelphia because the trash talking, wearing of lucky jerseys and the “no one likes us we don’t care” attitude will extend across the country. 

While it remains to be seen if there will be another parade down Broad Street, one thing that is for sure is that Eagles fans will take Philadelphia by storm.