By Matt Giraldi
Philadelphia Eagles fans are known world-wide as one of the most passionate and loyal fan-bases in all of sports. The loyalty demonstrated on not just Fall and Winter Sundays, but year-round, is truly that of the crazed despite not having won a Super Bowl title. But fortunately there is always a silver lining to every story. This particular silver lining, not including Jennifer Lawrence OR Bradley Cooper, involves the perpetual phrase, “Hopes springs eternal”.
My particular and peculiar depiction of loyalty to the Eagles has reached me to new and unprecedented heights in my life as well as accentuating my appreciation of a game that has limited relevance to my everyday being. Today, in a matter of a few hours, I will be marrying my better half. And while most fans of the game of football do not immediately associate a momentous occasion in one’s life to football, the Philadelphia Eagles have fortunately impacted every phase of this writer’s life through both positive and negative reinforcement. When I first met my future wife (t-minus six hours at the time of publication) I never felt that football would have the impact it did. However, the Lord (in this case the football gods we all are afraid of ) decided that my relationship begin on a night in which the Eagles faced, and lost to, the Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football, and subsequently continue through a long distance, superstitious, and surreal experience of the Eagles making an unprecedented run towards the NFC Championship game against Arizona until the present day in which I have been privileged enough to write for this particular website for the past half year.
I maybe have experienced some pain as a football fan in my lifetime. Aside from 1960, most Philadelphia Eagles fans have experienced the worst type of suffering and heartbreak possible to a sports fan (see the years 2002-2005). But what we can always take from our Sunday afternoons is that hope springs eternal for the future. Regardless of whether Eagles head coach Chip Kelly turns this program around and can successfully navigate the current team to post-season success, we will remain loyal, true, and passionate for the rest of our lives. And while cynics will point to potential slippery slope arguments or even perhaps an extreme exaggeration of loyalty, there is a definitive definition of Eagles fans involving their relationship with this aforementioned franchise. LOYALTY. We may berate the national media based on the perception of our fan-base. We may belittle media pundits, boo opposing players past and present, and have an overall demeanor parallel to Melvin Udall, but every action is a direct result of our entrenched passion towards the Philadelphia Eagles. No matter how bad it gets, we continue to fill Lincoln Financial Field and we continue to support our team in hopes of finally landing the coveted Lombardi Trophy in the (hopefully) immediate future.
For Eagles fans, loyalty is a strong suit fitted to each of our bodies better than any Men’s Warehouse could suffice. That loyalty is equally matched by the woman I shall say “I do” to, and for that I understand that as an Eagles fan, the lack of a pinnacle moment might not necessarily be as depressing as it always seemingly appears to be. We as a fan-base are a collective unit that has long shed the mantra of throwing snowballs at a (drunk) Santa Claus. Instead, the national media and other fan-bases in general should appreciate, admire, and attempt to replicate the devotion that each and every one of the Eagles fans has towards the Iggles. In a short microcosm description of today, it is a day of OTA’s and non-contact drills amongst the Philadelphia Eagles, but for this particular Eagles fan the road to victory is being paved in gold.
So as I embark on a new path in my life, I can fully appreciate the trials and tribulations that being a fan of the Philadelphia Eagles has given me. If I, or anyone else, can manage to overcome the constant and consistent heartbreak suffered at the hands of our birds, surely our patience and passions must lie with reliable targets. And as I head to the alter, know not that I might ramble about Donovan McNabb‘s performance in Arizona and how it compares to my own dedication towards a marriage. Additionally, I might not compare DeSean Jackson‘s untimely departure to me kicking an unruly habit that doesn’t seem fit for a married lifestyle. And certainly, don’t believe that any rookie, regardless of upside (read Josh Huff) might pull my devotion away from my preferred vested veteran(s). Because as I see it, in this one case of life meets sports, the name on the back of the jersey will finally become more relevant than the front of the jersey.