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:
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:
You have never experienced lit like Philly when Dreams and Nightmares came on at the conclusion of the parade. pic.twitter.com/GyY5EE51Eb— Tim Kelly (@TimKellySports) February 8, 2018
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.
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.
- Even prior to his incredible speech, Jason Kelce was riding around on a bike, while, of course, wearing his mummers costume:
- There were many people throughout the day that shook beers up and let them explode all over people. Those around them didn't view it as a celebration, but rather got annoyed that they had to smell like beer the rest of the day. However, there was one exception: a fan threw a beer to Jay Ajayi when he was passing by the area I was at in the parkway, and Ajayi shook it up and doused a section of fans with it. It was one of the cooler moments of the day.
- I'm sure there were fights, but it was a pretty peaceful day yesterday, despite the national media swarming on Philadelphia, largely in hopes of capturing a video or two of fans acting poorly. The closest I saw to a fight was when a high school-aged fan was making fun of Tom Brady kissing his son on the lips in his new documentary "Tom vs. Time." That, in itself, is pretty harmless. However, there was a restless portion of the parade, in between the early morning party and waiting for the floats to reach the parkway. During this period, just about no one could move, so some people, myself included, did become a little irritated. One of those fans that became irritated was a mother who thought the younger boy making fun of Brady was making fun of how she parented her kids. She got up in his face a bit (there was never any real risk of a fight happening - after all, it was a mother against a kid in his teens), before he explained what he was making fun of and her husband took her in another direction. It was more of a funny moment than anything.
- One other funny story: at about 10:30 a.m., after I waited in the hour long line for the bathroom, my friend and I began the long trek of trying to push as close to the art museum steps as we could. As I've mentioned in this story, we only got deep into the parkway, so we weren't that close to the steps, but we still ended up in a pretty good, albeit extremely crowded, place. As we were pushing, a woman behind me continued aggressively pushing me in the back, so I turned around and just told her to chill out. She said there was nothing she could do, because she was being pushed from behind. So I continued walking, only the pushing got even worse, so I glared in her direction again, before she repeated this excuse and we let her go by. As it turns out, it wasn't an accident that she was being pushed - the people behind her were her children, who were probably 10 years old. My friend, cracking up, said "maybe you should tell your kids to stop pushing." Long story short, she didn't tell her kids to stop pushing, and we didn't see her the rest of the day. I have to imagine she used her kids to get pretty close to the art museum steps. I respect her hustle.