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Articles > Fly Eagles Fly

By Melody Joy Kramer

January 25, 1981. The last time the Eagles were in the Super Bowl, a conservative Republican was the President of the United States, a famous news anchor had just retired from the CBS evening news, and the nation of Iraq was seeing a new leader take office.

Though it might not seem like it, there have been some changes in the past 24 years. Philadelphia fans have grown more accustomed to seeing other cities, Boston included, win national championships. We have watched the 1993 World Series, the 2001 NBA Championship, the Stanley Cup Finals in 1997. We have seen the NFC championship for the past three years -and cried. But some things, thankfully, have remained the same in the past two decades. Philadelphia fans have never once given up, despite much ribbing by the press and other teams' fans.

We are the city of never-give-up "Rocky"s, a city founded on the Quaker ideology of freedom and tolerance. There are few things that Philadelphians do not tolerate. Patriots fans would be one of them.

Luckily, Eagles fans have a leg up on our New England neighbors to the north, as we have been getting ready for this Super Bowl for the past 24 years. And fans in the city certainly are excited. Jackie Scena, a life-long resident of South Philadelphia and a student at the University of Pennsylvania, describes the Eagles victory last Sunday as payoff for "all those years of drunken belligerence." Years when the Eagles got so close and never landed in the Super Bowl, and the fans consoled themselves in bottles of Philadelphia-brewed Yuengling.

It doesn't matter though, because this is our year. And in some sense, the Eagles this year are football's version of Rocky. Matt Conrad, a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania from Manalapan, NJ and an Eagles fan since 1985, agrees. He says that the Eagles "are destined to win Sunday. Just like Rocky." After being reminded that Rocky actually lost in Rocky and won in Rocky II, Matt changes his mind. "Rocky was the ultimate underdog," he says. "And it took a couple of tries, but he was able to overcome his opponent. The Eagles are gonna do the same thing to the Patriots!"

In 1981, Terrell Owens was 8 years old. David Akers was 7. Donovan McNabb was 5. Brian Westbrook was 2. None of them remember the way the fans felt after the Eagles made their first appearance in the Super Bowl. Neil Kramer, who was a medical resident at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in 1981, remembers. He recalls watching the game and feeling crushed. "It was a feeling of disappointment," he remembers. "We were so close and everyone was so excited."

Twenty-four years later, Neil hides his anxiety because he truly believes that Philadelphia will win this year. "I'm thrilled. I wish they could win it every year. Philly has such a jinx and no one ever wins. I hope they win though - it'd be great for the city."

Neil mentioned the j-word, which should never be mentioned in the city of Philadelphia. Much like the c-word –choke – and the p-word – parade – the j-word resonates strongly in the minds of Philadelphia fans, from 1993, and 1997, and 2001, and 1981.

Boston, too, has experience with the j-word. But they got their World Series, after eight decades of waiting. Luckily, 24 years seems small in comparison.

After the Eagles win on Sunday, Philadelphia will never again have to use the j-word. Instead, we'll be planning for the p-word!

Melody Joy Kramer is a junior English major at the University of Pennsylvania.

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