No school. Free beer. A rabid fan base starved for a championship in a proud city. And an unforgettable screaming speech from an offensive lineman.
Must. Watch.— NFL (@NFL) February 8, 2018
Jason Kelce's @Eagles Championship speech 🔥🔥🔥
📺: @nflnetwork https://t.co/mDlCLy0lhc
Dressed in an outfit from a past Mummers parade, a colorful New Year’s Day staple in Philadelphia, Kelce waited until other Eagles teammates had had their say and then brought down what was left of the house. The 30-year-old center went on at length about how nearly every member of the organization, including head coach Doug Pederson, vice president Howie Roseman and numerous players he referenced by name, had been discounted and/or disrespected in recent years.
“To all those people that doubted us, to all those people who counted us out and to everybody who said we couldn’t get it’s done,” Kelce shouted. “What my man [running back] Jay AJayi just said: ‘F— you!'”
A crowd of possibly 2 million fans was anticipated and fans began lining the streets Wednesday evening for the 11 a.m. start at Broad Street and Pattison Avenue, followed by a 1 p.m. ceremony on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Early on, the problem was the Eagles themselves, with players, Pederson and Roseman hopping off at Broad and Pattison and Philly police radio carrying the message: “Car 14, advise those players to get back on the bus. Make them understand if they do this in City Center, we’re going to lose everything.” As the procession went along, officers continued to complain on the police scanner that players were hopping off the bus.
Over at the museum, officers were concerned about possible vandalism of the Rocky statue and were “searching for a white male wearing a Michael Vick jersey.”
"A majestic bald eagle has landed near the Art Museum awaiting the arrival of... wait, sorry, it's just a drunk fan in an eagle costume." pic.twitter.com/ubUZEWBokY— Jelf on the Shelf (@usedwigs) February 8, 2018
It was getting a little weird. (Who among us has not run across a bunch of port-a-potties?)
People are running on top of porta potties at the Eagles parade pic.twitter.com/nIFOn36Oio— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) February 8, 2018
And . . .
"Danger Do Not Climb" at Ellsworth station of Broad St. Subway. Someone at #EaglesParade will certainly climb. pic.twitter.com/QZKRMlLFo2— Chris Brennan (@ByChrisBrennan) February 8, 2018
City Hall apron facing North Broad. Again all these folks can see is a Jumbotron. Not even in the parade route! pic.twitter.com/kzlnXBKVBq— Julia Terruso (@JuliaTerruso) February 8, 2018
With both naughty and nice on full display, fans were having an intensely personal experience.
doesn't get realer than scattering your grandfather's ashes at the Eagles Super Bowl parade.— maurice (@tallmaurice) February 8, 2018
said they flew up from Tampa. pic.twitter.com/HPygzJahmD
By 7 a.m., Chris Long was already spectacularly dudded out in faux fur, anticipating a special experience. “It’ll be better because they’ve been waiting longer,” Long said (via NBC Sports Philadelphia). “In my experience, these fans are unbelievable here in Philly.” So is their defensive end.
Before making his triumphant, defiant speech, Kelce got off his designated bus and rode a bike for a short spell, then quenched the thirst he worked up with a beer. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, his costume was originally made for a portion of the city’s 2008 Mummers parade called “Ire-Land of Leprechauns.”
MOOD. 😂💚🦅🎉 pic.twitter.com/K1fuqi9ErH— Action News on 6abc (@6abc) February 8, 2018
Jason Kelce chugs a beer. 🍻 https://t.co/QqOvf2HTyM— SPORTSRADIO 94WIP (@SportsRadioWIP) February 8, 2018
Now, about that free beer.
Bud Light made the promise way back in August of free beer if the Eagles won the Super Bowl, and Eagles offensive lineman Lane Johnson chimed in with an offer to “everybody.” Luckily for him, Bud Light bailed him out. Bud Light reps at bars along the parade route will hand out tokens good for one free can of suds. The company, according to PhillyVoice.com, planned to give out at least 38,000 cans.
Which seems . . . like a rather wild underestimation given the anticipated crowd size. If Bud Light tokens run out, Eagles fans in Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lehigh, Montgomery or Northampton counties will be allowed to get six free beers by 1.) buying a six-pack on Thursday or Friday and 2.) uploading the receipt to Bud Light’s website in exchange for a $7 rebate code.
“We’re blessed. We all did it. They did it, too,” wide receiver Nelson Agholor said of the fans. “The people that are smiling, they did it. Playing two games in the playoffs at home and taking over that and then going over to Minnesota and taking over that, the city of Philadelphia, everybody, we earned this. Let’s go party. I’m going to try to not swear on air.”
Yes, please. Think of the children, who have been given the day off from school.
Read more on the Super Bowl from The Post: