Rewind: Recalling The Eagles Magical Super Bowl Run


Dylan Becker, Staff Writer

There I was last Sunday night, watching the Chiefs play the Bucs in a rather lackluster Super Bowl 55. Tom Brady completed checkdown after checkdown to his receivers, slowly pushing a dagger into the hearts of 31 other fanbases. Thirty, if you exclude the Patriots from that list. Uninvested in the game, I couldn’t help but reminisce about the time just three years ago when it was the Eagles going toe-to-toe with the “Greatest of All Time” Patriots. 

With the disaster that was the 2020-21 season in the rearview, everyone seems fixated on the current issues surrounding the Eagles franchise, thanks to the firing of Doug Pederson and a possible Carson Wentz trade on the horizon. I, however, am choosing to focus on the positive by reminiscing on the Birds’ magical run to a Lombardi Trophy in the 2017-18 season.

It feels like only yesterday that Carson Wentz was being discussed as an MVP candidate in just his second season. He avoided a possible sophomore slump by tearing up defenses week after week, throwing 70-yard rainbows to his teammates on just about every drive, and leading the birds to an 11-2 start through Week 14.

Everything just seemed easy; players got along and were performing at an incredible level, pickups in the prior offseason were contributing largely to the newfound success, and second-year coach Doug Pederson seemed like a genius, with his aggressive playstyle and the development of Wentz. The team just… Worked.

If you’re a true Eagles fan, though, you know it’s never that easy. With the Birds having never won a Super Bowl, fans had grown accustomed to the lack of success. So, when the team was looking to be top tier heading into the playoffs, long-time fans were just waiting for something to go wrong.

That fear soon became a reality when, in a Week 15 matchup with the Rams (not Harriton, obviously), Wentz rolled right out of the pocket and dove for the endzone with his legs sandwiched between two defenders. He seemed unshaken, but unbeknownst to every single person watching, the leading MVP candidate had just torn his ACL.

It would now be up to Nick Foles — who had a history with the Eagles organization and was previously a fan favorite — to finish the game with a win and clinch the Eagles a playoff spot for the first time in four years. Foles managed to drag his team to a 2-1 season finish but barely did enough to earn home-field throughout the playoffs. His lackluster play did not inspire many fans. The Eagles had seemingly gone from Super Bowl favorites to a likely first-round exit in the blink of an eye.

Heading into a divisional-round matchup with the Falcons, many of us fans had lost hope that the Birds could make a championship run. Vegas agreed, favoring Atlanta in the bout of the birds. It was the first time a six seed was favored over a one seed in NFL history. After a season of coasting to the playoffs, the Eagles had now become the underdogs.

Nevertheless, Foles and the Birds came out with the victory after a last-second goal-line stand from the defense. Suddenly, fans were beginning to embrace this role of the underdog, as Lane Johnson and Chris Long began wearing dog masks after the game. 

The Eagles rode their underdog momentum to the NFC Championship game at the Linc, where they faced the Vikings and were once again projected to lose. Instead, they took down their purple-and-gold opponents and routed Minnesota 36-7 after turning around a quick 0-7 deficit. Foles looked unstoppable in his performance. 

It was now onto the Super Bowl, where who else was waiting for the Eagles but Tom Brady. By now, none of us needed to check the odds to know that the Patriots would be favored over our Birds, and we wanted it that way. Dog masks sold out throughout Philadelphia in preparation for the big game.

I was lucky enough to find one at a side-of-the-road pop-up shop in a parking lot the morning of the Super Bowl. As fans, we were all hopeful that, maybe— just maybe— the Birds could finally bring home the Lombardi and lift this curse that had seemingly been cast upon our team for the last 52 years.

I had watched many Super Bowls before, but seeing the team I put my heart and soul into just felt different. This was my team, my underdogs. I couldn’t sit still. I couldn’t eat, despite the table piled high with green cupcakes and Krispy Kreme donuts. Instead, I nervously paced back and forth, wondering if this would finally be the day the Eagles would win the title.

The game was an absolute shootout. Both teams were making big plays. Brady was sharp and accurate; so was Foles. The score went back and forth; drive after drive, touchdown after touchdown, one of which was a trick play caught by Nick Foles, which would instantly become known as the iconic Philly Special.

With 0:09 remaining, Philly held a 41-33 lead after Brandon Graham forced a fumble on what many expected to be a patented late-game Brady drive. The Patriots would have to throw a Hail Mary for a chance to tie up the game. 

One play. After decades of failure, the Birds were one play away from winning the Super Bowl. Brady launches, the ball gets lost in the lights. Inhale. The ball begins to fall back down as the players form a mob in the front of the endzone. Everything is quiet, almost like slow motion. The ball hits multiple players in the hands. Eyes are wide, glued to the TV.

Finally, the ball hits the turf; 0:00. Exhale. They did it. They actually did it. 

Eagles fans rejoiced in the streets of Philadelphia, as they partied how only Philadelphians know how to party: complete chaos. This team that no one believed in, a backup QB, a new coach, a “greedy” fanbase, an “ugly” city, had just won the Super Bowl. Let the celebration begin.

Later that week, the official Eagles Super Bowl Parade was held. I will never forget the feeling of being on our city streets and sidewalks, packed shoulder to shoulder with other joyous fans surrounded by the rousing cries of “Philly! Philly!” It was freezing outside but no one cared.

Super Bowl parades occur every year, but none like this one… This was different. Rather than a celebration of the team, this was a celebration of the city, a city so well-known for being a blue-collar, heart-on-your-sleeve, tell-it-to-your-face city. Philadelphia: a city of underdogs, now a city of champions. 

I could try and continue to explain how much this Super Bowl meant to all of us, but I think I’ll leave that honor to Eagles guard Jason Kelce and the electrifying speech he gave during the parade from the steps of the Art Museum which, to this day, never fails gives me chills: 

“Any of you know who the biggest underdog is? It’s y’all, Philadelphia. For 52 years, y’all have been waiting for this. You want to talk about an underdog? You want to talk about a hungry dog? For 52 years you’ve been starved of this championship.” 

We are starved no longer. Thank you to the Eagles organization for giving us this life-changing Super Bowl win, and for making our city feel, at long last, like we were champions too.