Philadelphians hit the streets to celebrate Eagles’ Super Bowl win

The wait for the ever-faithful Philly fans is over. The Philadelphia Eagles won their first-ever Super Bowl title Sunday in Minneapolis after two other unsuccessful tries, scoring the winning touchdown in the last three minutes of their game against the New England Patriots. The Birds’ Brandon Graham forced a pivotal fumble by hitting Patriot quarterback Tom Brady’s arm. A last-minute drive by the Patriots failed as the Eagles defense held.

The U.S. Bank Stadium erupted in Eagles cheers, confetti, and fireworks, while here at home, overjoyed — and definitely a bit drunk — fans spilled onto city streets to share the love. Fans even far into the suburbs set off fireworks, too in celebration.

At Broad and Shunk streets, revelers stood in the street and shot fireworks into the air. Cops confiscated open bottles of alcohol as fans streamed by — everything from tequila to beer to champagne, including a bottle covered in green glitter.

D.J. Robinson, who moved to Philly six months ago from Reading, said: “To have everyone in this city have this energy, it’s crazy.”

Joni Walaski, an Eagles fan from New York City, came to Philly to watch the game and celebrate afterwards.
“We opened up our hotel door, and we were just randomly hugging complete strangers who were crying for like 20 minutes. It was fantastic!” Walaski said.

Two hours after the win, chaos reigned in many city neighborhoods.

Police had banned parking along Broad Street around City Hall and near the stadium. But some motorists apparently didn’t get the memo, and rowdy crowds overturned at least two cars,  outside the Bellevue Hotel on Broad Street and another by Rittenhouse Square.

Fans stood atop the awning of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel near City Hall and leapt off into the crowd below. The weight of fans caused it to collapse onto the sidewalk below. Near Temple University, firefighters raced to douse a blaze in the street. And in too many places to track, unruly fans tore down street signs, smashed store windows and looted a South Philly gas station.

“There’s a lot of people, some of them are acting like fools, but (we’re) doing our best to get it under control,” said city Police Commissioner Richard Ross.

Riots broke out in Pittsburgh and near the University of Massachusetts too, as fans reacted to the game.

It was unclear early Monday the extent of any injuries. Paramedics responded to one incident at Broad and Arch of an unconscious man who had leapt off a light post. At least one officer was injured; he suffered a broken finger.

Police made at least one arrest, after a fan scaled a street pole and punched out a light. When the Phillies won the World Series in 2008, celebrations got so intense that police arrested 76 people for disorderly conduct, vandalism, arson, and other offenses.

Police had greased city utility poles with Crisco in an effort to keep exuberant fans on the ground during the N.F.C. Championship, but that didn’t work. They painted hydraulic fluid on the poles Sunday morning, but that didn’t work either, as a few limber fans scaled them,

Of course, despite the pandemonium, there were already folks trying to make a buck off it all.

The green-and-white confetti was still flying in Minneapolis when a few industrious fans started selling Eagles Super Bowl champion T-shirts outside the Chickie and Pete’s in South Philly.

“For Philly fans, the dream has finally come true,” announcer Al Michaels said.

Defensive end Brandon Graham breathlessly told a TV reporter: “It feels so good!”

Tight end Zach Ertz, who caught the game-winning touchdown, shouted: “We’re world champions!”

The night’s hero, Foles, was named the game’s MVP. He smiled broadly as he carried his wide-eyed baby daughter around the field in the postgame chaos.

And if there’s such a thing as gushing in a prepared statement, Philly Mayor Jim Kenney did just that:

“For so many who have called themselves Eagles fans for a generation, this is the day, the game, the season, and the team we’ve dreamed of. The  Philadelphia Eagles are finally Super Bowl Champions, and they’ve brought tremendous joy to hundreds of thousands throughout the City and region. They consistently wowed us with their dynamic play and relentless pursuit of victory. Their ‘Next Man Up’ mentality when injuries arose was inspiring to anyone who has ever faced a setback, as was their willingness to embrace the role of underdogs. They looked another storied football franchise in the eyes, and never blinked.”

Details about a celebratory parade will be announced on Monday.

It was the Eagles’ third trip to the big game, but their first victory. And it came with an NFL record: Quarterback Nick Foles became the first player in NFL history to both throw and catch a touchdown during a Super Bowl, when he caught a fourth-down touchdown pass in the final minute of the second quarter. Foles started just five games during the regular season, after Carson Wentz out with a season-ending ACL injury.

The Birds scored the game’s first two touchdowns. LeGarrette Blount, who was just a New England Patriot last year, scored the second touchdown for the Eagles. But the Eagles led for most of the game, until the tense fourth quarter.

Lifelong Eagles fan Rita Hoggarth, 53, of Mayfair, said she watched the game alone at home because she didn’t want to hear any negativity.

“This is a dream come true,” said Hoggarth, who celebrated the win in the streets near Frankford and Cottman avenues in Northeast Philly. When she dies, she wants to be buried in an Eagles jersey, she said.

This was the coldest Super Bowl on record (even though it was played indoors at the U.S. Bank Stadium). Temperatures overnight in Minneapolis dropped below zero — and only climbed to 3 degrees two hours before kickoff. The next coldest was the 1982 Super Bowl in Detroit’s Silverdome, when 49ers defeated the Bengals in temperatures that only got up to 16 degrees.

No word on how Minnesota otherwise braced for Eagles fans’ exuberance.

Philly’s faithful have flooded Minneapolis since last week, showing the Midwestern city how real fans support their team.

Sneak Eagles green onto city statues? Check. Flood the city’s biggest tourist draw for some pre-game revelry? Check. Nearly get booted from said tourist draw for erupting in frequent, thunderous chants of “E-A-G-L-E-S, EAGLES!” Check.

Eagles fan Bryan McKernan of Annapolis, Maryland, told Minnesota Public Radio that he and a fellow Marine got tickets to the game four days ago. They flew to Milwaukee Saturday and drove through the snow to get to Minneapolis.

McKernan says Eagles fans get a bad rap, but they just want to win the Super Bowl for the first time.

“People are hard working. They’re blue-collar. Not a lot of people are rich that came here. People have probably sold their whole savings to come to this game, because it’s that important and they’re that passionate,” said McKernan, who’s originally from Philly. “They may come off as really rough people, but they’re not. They’re super-kind, they’re super-loving. They’re family people — it’s a big family — and just wanna win.”

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