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Eagles Super Bowl parade was ultimate "you had to be there" moment

By Tim Kelly, Sports Talk Philly editor 

Whether you watched on television or attended yesterday's Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl parade, I'm sure you walked away amazed at the passion displayed at the parade. The fans, as expected, were incredible, though a credible estimate of how many people attended the parade has yet to be released. The passion of the players, most notably Jason Kelce, was amazing as well. 

Still, some stuff can't accurately be captured on television and/or through videos. For those that attended, this will become the ultimate "you had to be there moment" when describing the environment to those that, for whatever reason, weren't able to attend the parade. 

If you were unable to attend the parade, here's a sampling of some of the best moments that you had to witness in person:  

"Free Meek"

Save for the E-A-G-L-E-S chant, the most popular chant at Thursday's parade, at least that I can repeat without getting in trouble, was "Free Meek!". This chant, of course, refers to Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill, who is currently in prison for violating his parole. 

Meek Mill's song "Dream And Nightmares," became the anthem for the Eagles Super Bowl run, with the Eagles even choosing it as their song to run out to during Super Bowl LII. Originally released in 2012, the song received nearly 1.5 million streams after the Eagles Super Bowl victory, per Billboard

For much of the leadup to the Eagles approaching the Art Museum, fans wondered aloud why the DJ, who was playing mostly rap hits, didn't play the song. Then, just as it did for the Super Bowl, the song blared out to formally introduce the Eagles as World Champions before they spoke to the crowd. 

After the ceremony concluded, much of the crowd was ready to run through a brick wall, following an impassioned, underdog-based speech from Kelce. Then, for the first time all day, the DJ played the song from start to finish. What ensued was one of those moments that you couldn't properly put in perspective to those who weren't there. Trust me, I tried: 

As I was walking back along Benjamin Franklin parkway, I had to stop and admire what I was looking at. It felt like 80 percent of the people at the parade, were dancing and singing along to the song. It didn't matter if you were young or old, black or white, it felt like everyone knew every word to the song and was soaking in one of the more surreal moments in Philadelphia sports history. 

Brian Dawkins

Even before the Eagles defeated the Patriots in Super Bowl LII last Sunday, it was already a special weekend for the Eagles franchise. That's because the most beloved player in franchise history, Brian Dawkins, was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. 

As a player, Dawkins never won a Super Bowl, but he was a gigantic part of this year's Super Bowl parade. 

Dawkins, who is the Eagles executive of football operations for player development, will get a championship ring for this year's Super Bowl title, because he was a member of the organization. Eagles chairman and CEO Jeffrey Lurie made sure to note prior to speaking about this year's team that Dawkins had been elected to the Hall of Fame. This elicited the loudest cheers of the day, prior to Kelce's speech. 

That part, of course, was shown on television. What wasn't captured on television was the reception that Dawkins received on the parade float that he was on. When Dawkins' parade float went by it received even louder cheers than the parade float that was carrying Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles, and would-have-been-regular-season-MVP Carson Wentz. That's not an indictment on how Philadelphia feels about either of the latter, but rather the universal love that Philadelphia has for the former. 

Dawkins and Jeremiah Trotter were among former Eagles greats present at the parade. They are also among former Eagles greats that got close to delivering Philadelphia its first Super Bowl title, but fell just short. The applause given to Dawkins, on one hand, symbolizes how much Philadelphia appreciates him individually. On the other hand, Philadelphia cheered him so loudly because he was the most notable former player involved in the parade. The cheers given to him should be viewed as appreciation for Trent Cole, for Brian Westbrook, for Jon Runyan, for Tra Thomas, for Donovan McNabb, for Eric Allen, for Randall Cunningham, for Reggie White, for Ron Jaworski, for Wilbert Montgomery and other Eagles greats that were unable to be part of the first Eagles team to win a title. 

The Rest

  • Even prior to his incredible speech, Jason Kelce was riding around on a bike, while, of course, wearing his mummers costume:

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