When I start my Super Bowl 52 story, I always start the Friday before, February 2, 2018.
The 76ers were taking on the Miami Heat in a game that meant little about the Sixers, but more about the Eagles. I remember there was more green than blue in the building, the Eagles were featured in every hype video, and the atmosphere felt like I was across the street at Lincoln Financial Field.
The Sixers whopped the Heat, and I remember the game ended to a loud and powerful “E-A-G-L-E-S EAGLES” and I walked out to a loud “WE WANT BRADY” chant. It was an unbelievable experience.
My grandparents, who are New York Giants fans, were staying with us at the time. My grandfather is a huge lover of football and my grandmother also enjoys watching the game. When I go back and remember Super Bowl weekend, I always remember that they were there. I also got to covert them into Eagles fans for the moment because they hate Tom Brady and the New England Patriots more than the Birds.
We led up to Sunday, where I started my day at Hebrew School. I can tell you my exact outfit from that day: Eagles socks, black adidas pants, a random Eagles t-shirt, NFC East champion sweatshirt, a black Carson Wentz jersey, and it cap it off an Eagles hat. Hebrew school, as always was boring, but not until the final moments where we were taught Fly Eagles Fly in Hebrew. Do I remember it? No. But it’s something I’ll always remember doing.
For the next six hours I relaxed. 10 year-old me wanted to chill before the biggest night of my life. I remember my dad sat on the left side of the couch, I was in the middle, my grandpa was to my right, my mom was standing in the kitchen as usual, and my grandmother was on the chair next to the couch as we all stared at our 45-inch TV. We were still fresh moving into this house, and still never bought a larger TV for the living room so we were stuck watching the biggest game of our lives on a tiny, old TV.
When the Eagles came out of the tunnel, I reminisce about my dad in the moment, who was already tearing up before the game even started. My father, by the way, grew up in Philadelphia and has been a huge Eagles fan back since the Ron Jaworski and Harold Carmichael days. He always told me stories about Super Bowl 15 when the Eagles fell to John Madden and the Oakland Raiders 27–10 in the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans. He reminisced more about Super Bowl 39 when Brady beat the Birds for his second Super Bowl by a score of 24–21 at Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville. He always raved about when Donovan McNabb threw up on the field mid-huddle. He says it still haunts him to this day.
The Patriots won the toss, I recall my grandpa saying “of course they did” when referee Gene Steratore made the announcement.
This wasn’t just a huge moment in my life because my favorite football team was playing in the Super Bowl, but this was the first championship game I had ever witnessed in my life. I was alive when the Phillies won it all in 2008, but I was barely a year old. So of course I didn’t watch any of it. This was a first for me, and I could’ve been anymore excited for it.
I remember U. S. Bank Stadium was packed with green, as the ball was kicked off as my grandpa said, “here we go, Benjamin!”
I remember the Eagles got on the board first with a Jake Elliot field goal. I recall my dad raving about this. I call to mind he said the Eagles needed to get in front first, especially against Brady. He’s also said this the three times after where the Eagles took on Brady, and they started out losing and ended up losing every single time.
One of my favorite moments from the night was the most complex one’s for me, the Philly special. I remember when they called the time out on fourth-and-goal with 38 seconds left in the first half. The score was 15-12 Philly. If the Eagles didn’t convert and score here, the Patriots could’ve taken the lead and run away with this game. That was the only thing I was thinking about, not that head coach Doug Pederson and backup quarterback Nick Foles were going to cook up some wild wizardry. I recall sitting there, seeing Corey Clement take the snap, flipping it back to Trey Burtin who threw an absolute dot to Foles on the right side of the endzone for possibly the biggest touchdown of the game, and possibly one of the coolest touchdowns in Super Bowl history.
I sat there in disbelief. Chin basically on the ground, listening to my grandma say over and over again, “he did what Brady couldn’t do, catch the damn ball!” My dad, sitting next to me after coming back from a bathroom break, with his hands on his head in shock. He said, “I can’t believe they just did that” I recall.
It was the only Super Bowl ever where I don’t think I cared about the halftime show. First of all, it was Justin Timberlake who I honestly forgot was a human. I was so dialed in. It felt like I was a player I was so into it.
The next highlight that I thoroughly remember is when the Pats took the lead in the fourth-quarter. I remember Brady throwing a four-yard floater up to Rob Gronkowski to give them a one point lead with 5:38 left to go. The house got quiet. My brain was spinning in five different directions. I was nervous. I was scared. After all this, it would come down to Foles being the hero.
And you know what, he did it before and he did it again.
Foles marched the Birds down the field. No one was stopping him. He was a man on a mission, and his mission was victory. Then, my personal highlight of the night ensued. I remember this second for second, and I always will. The Eagles were at the 12, Zach Ertz was out wide like a wide receiver. Foles was looking for him the whole way. He hit him. Ertz was tripped up at the four, and he dove into the endzone. The ball popped up, he recovered it, and gave the Eagles the lead. Ertz, being my second favorite Eagle of all time behind Jason Kelce, sent my house into a frenzy. My dad stood up for probably the first time all game, and so did my grandpa as he put his hands in the air and gave me a big hug.
Just a few minutes later, the Eagles wrapped it up, and my dad unwrapped the champagne. If you already don’t know what I’m talking about, I leave you with this:
The Eagles were going to win the football game.
If you take a second to really look at the score/time situation (38-33 PHI with 2:18 left), it was setting up perfectly to be another Brady game winning Super Bowl drive and completely rip out our hearts, don’t lie we all thought it was coming. Which is why it was so much more special when Graham stripped that ball.
Now, the time was 10:13pm ET. My grandma, my grandpa, my mom, and I were on our feet as Brady had eight seconds to heave one down the field for a possible miracle. The one person not standing, my dad. Graham almost had another sack on Brady which would’ve ended the game, but Brady got out if it. Then, with four seconds left on the clock, he launched one to the end zone. A truly impressive toss. There were five Eagles around the ball, one Patriot named Rob Gronkowski. The score was 41-33, this was it.
The ball, everyone was starring at it, hit the ground. There was no time left. The game was over. The Eagles won the game.
I jumped on my dad in the middle of my grandma’s scream. I felt the tears fall of my father’s face onto my cheek, which led to me start to cry. It was the first I ever cried over a sport. And trust me, they were happy. I laid there on his lap for a solid minute with my father’s and my own tears rolling down my face. I finally got up, turned to my right towards my grandpa, and gave him one of the biggest hugs I’ve ever given.
My dad and I went outside banging pots and pans, spraying champagne everywhere, watching the fireworks around us. It was truly surreal.
I vividly remember the millions of people on Broad Street that night, partying, destroying, and jumping off traffic poles.
The next day was the best school day ever. We didn’t learn anything, we just partied all day. I remember driving into school with my principal dressed up as an eagle while jamming out to fly Eagles fly. When I got home, the day got was turned around. I found out my mom broke my ankle slipping on ice walking into work. It was, scary. But other than that, it was one of the coolest days of my life.
I’m so happy I could experience that moment, especially with my father. There’s no Philly sports in my life without him. So thanks to him, I got enjoy one of the best nights of my four years ago today.