One wouldn't think writing a blog about attending Super Bowl LII would be difficult for someone like myself, but it has been. Writing seven hundred words about my experience felt incredibly braggadocious, and that's something that is far from the sort of thing I am comfortable with. Of course it was a great time. Some might call it a chance of a lifetime. Regardless, at this point, it somehow seemed pretty unimportant.
This was turning into a full blown writers block, so I looked up the concept "block" and ironically enough the football definition of block appeared, and just like that I was off and running! Since my husband is the offensive line coach for the (humble brag) Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles, it seemed appropriate for me to break down my interpretation of the role of the Offensive Line. OK, here goes: A minimum of five guys bend down in front of the quarterback who barks a pretty complicated set of calls, often times being changed at the line of scrimmage, whilst a minimum of five very large and angry guys whose sole responsibility is to disrupt this one play and distract them are ready to pounce from the other side. These offensive linemen must remain poised, calm and prepared for that split second moment when they come off the ball, protect their quarterback, make large openings for running backs to run through or clear routes for receivers and tight ends to execute one play with synchronized precision. JUST ONE PLAY. Here’s the simple truth: synchronizing anything, be it a meal for ten or coming up with a blocking scheme for third and long is super challenging! Add to it 70,000 fans screaming their brains out and a city desperate for a Super Bowl win and I don’t know about you, but that blows my mind. Nothing can go wrong, right?
And that’s just one position! Now add the serious adversity of team leaders getting injured and being out for the rest of the season. Followed immediately with endless outside noise telling them they didn't stand a chance at winning the game, each and every single week. Sports Broadcasters reported about the Perfect Storm of disaster for the Philadelphia Eagles to anyone who would listen. But not this group of men. They were determined to play for each other, to step up when their team needed them most. This team epitomized the saying, “There is no I in team.” Philadelphia’s Eagles quickly became America’s Under Dogs.
So now I am certain you can appreciate why during game weeks I surrounded myself in a safe zone where I speak little of the game. I gather all my good luck charms, follow all my regular routines and attempt to stay grounded and not get caught up in the hype that threatens to swallow me whole. I teeter in a state of neutrality; not too high and not too low.
However, when Retired Naval Petty Officer, 1st Class, Generald Wilson began singing the "Star Spangled Banner” at the NFC Championship game on January 21, 2018, I sensed something very special was in the air that night. I rarely allow my feelings to leak out but that night they did. When the Philadelphia fans filled that stadium to maximum capacity with not just their presence, but with love and belief in their team you could feel the current change. Present Eagles fans were rallying their towels and it looked as if hundreds of doves were hovering over the “Linc." The love was palpable and I couldn’t stop the tears thinking each Eagles fan of present was waving their towel in honor of an Eagles fan of past. A perfect storm was indeed brewing in Philadelphia and we rode that wave all the way to Minneapolis.
Our time spent there was filled with kind hearted Minnesotans, a couple really fun events, a few great entertainers, good food and, oh yes, and one hell of a stressful, jam-packed football game that came down to the very last second. I recall the final ball seemingly taking forever to hit the ground. I still feel the painfully long run to the tunnel to get down to the field. Unfortunately in my haste to get to the field I left my phone in my seat. The good news is I was present on that field, bad news is it’s a blur. But what is crystal clear for me is on February 4, 2018 a team compromised of underdogs won Super Bowl 52. They played their hearts out for the entire game, team and city. And as the game clock ran out Philadelphia had not only won their first Super Bowl, but all fans could finally agree with the naysayers; it was indeed the perfect storm!
love your football friend,
A little back story thing you should know:
Five years ago our football family relocated from the South to the North, moving from the romance of the SEC to the business of the NFL. We switched from Roll Tide Roll to Fly Eagles Fly.
We received the obvious congratulations and high fives. But we also got those head rolling nods, too. “You know they pelted Santa with snowballs, right?” Yes, we had heard that. We were also aware Philadelphia fans had a tendency to be vocal and somewhat disgruntled that they had yet to win a Super Bowl. But honestly, throwing a snowball at Santa didn’t seem much different to me than the person poisoning the trees at Toomer’s Corner.
Moral: If I’ve learned anything in this life, it is you cannot judge an entire body of people by the foolish actions of a few.