Eagles celebrate championship with historic parade
An estimated 2 million fans, according to ESPN, came out Thursday for the first-ever Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl championship parade.
The event kicked off on a chilly morning at 11. The convoy started at the stadium complex on the corner of Broad and Pattison Streets, and traveled all the way down Broad Street to the Philadelphia Museum of Art where the ceremony took place.
Fans were packed in on both sides of the street along the route, clamoring to get a look at the fabled Lombardi Trophy, carried on the first bus by quarterbacks Carson Wentz and Nick Foles, as well as coach Doug Pederson.
For more than four hours, dedicated fans braved the weather and waited patiently to hear their players give their victory speeches.
The famed art museum steps were the site of the ceremony and people had claimed their spots at the base of the steps hours before the parade had even begun.
At the beginning of the season, tackle Lane Johnson promised the city that if the Eagles won the Super Bowl, he would get everyone a free beer.
Bud Light supported that promise and said it would supply the beer.
The company confirmed after the Super Bowl that it would be keeping that promise at the parade. At taverns and bars on Broad Street, fans could claim their free beer. As players passed on the buses, they called out to the fans to toss them beers. Cans were thrown from every direction, often falling just short and spraying on the sidewalk.
Fans were climbing trees, street lamps and traffic lights to get a better view of the passing parade, reminiscent of the celebrations in Philadelphia the night the Eagles won the title. The infamous fight song was belted out at every opportunity and was a surefire way to get others in the crowd involved.
The highlight of the day was the ceremony at the museum. With legendary Eagles radio announcer Merrill Reese sharing master of ceremony responsibilities, Eagles players, as well as owner Jeffrey Lurie, general manager Howie Roseman and Pederson, took to the podium and shared their emotions and feelings after the biggest win of their careers.
Some players only spoke for less than a minute, while others, like center Jason Kelce, went on for several minutes. Kelce, dressed in a traditional Philadelphia Mummers costume, delivered the most unforgettable speech of the afternoon, emphasizing the underdog attitude the team carried all season.
He mentioned almost every starter on the team by name and the criticism each had received at one point. He talked about how Pederson was rated as the worst coaching hire of the offseason two years ago, and how Roseman had been demoted from his general manager responsibilities during the Chip Kelly era. Both played huge parts in bringing the team to where it is now.
Kelce was losing his voice the longer he went and got most excited when he talked about the fans. He said no one likes the Philadelphia fans because they are mean, going on to say he gets mad when he does not get breakfast in the morning. Only he used profanity to emphasize his point.
Closing out his speech, Kelce started a chant that had become popular with Eagles fans as the season went on. The chant is full of profanity, forcing news stations, both national and local, to censor almost an entire minute.
Kelce’s rant went viral and fans cheered him off the stage. A common theme throughout the ceremony was the promise that this was the new norm for the team. Wentz and Pederson both said the city should get used to this feeling, because it would not be long until the parade would head back down Broad Street.