The outcome was long elusive, unfathomable in these parts for many of a certain age and vintage, and the resulting scenes that unfolded on the streets were a remarkable, yet not entirely surprising, impassioned reflection of a city’s committed, sports-craved spirit.
The Philadelphia Eagles won the Super Bowl Sunday in Minneapolis, and back on the homefront, the celebration that ensued was as instantaneous as it was overwhelming.
Up and down Broad Street, from Cottman to Girard along Frankford Avenue, car horns honked, police and fire engine sirens blared, fireworks were shot off, and people just…gathered, and high-fived, and banged pots and pans, and hung out. All night.
What does any of this have to do with the Philadelphia 76ers, the Birds’ professional basketball brethren?
Well, to a man, whether on social media, or comments made following Monday’s practice in Camden, members of the club – from the head coach to his players – seemed to be thrilled by the Eagles’ historic accomplishment, a 41-33 victory over the vaunted New England Patriots.
“Where do you begin,” Brett Brown said Monday. “It’s an amazing story of perseverance, it’s an amazing story I think of belief. I got lots of time following Coach [Doug] Pederson from a far and how he’s handled with tremendous grace his situation and to a Super Bowl. You pay attention to [injuries]. It’s a hell of a story.”
Prior to the Sixers hitting the floor for Monday afternoon’s workout, Brown gathered the club together to discuss its impressions of Super Bowl LII – from everything from the game itself, to the sea of humanity that exploded downtown afterwards.
The latter subject was the one the room talked about the most.
“One of the common threads is, our fan base is very unique in pro sport,” said Brown. “To envisage what [The Center] would look like during the playoffs gets us all going.”
Two Sixers, Joel Embiid and Justin Anderson, were in attendance at U.S. Bank Stadium. Embiid said he enjoyed the experience, while Anderson, who was a big Terrell Owens fan growing up, called it “surreal.”
Both were blown away by the images and videos being captured back East.
“It was insane. I wish I was in town. I would have been jumping over cars,” Embiid joked. “I saw the videos, it was amazing. It just shows you the passion the fans of this city have, and [I] want to be in that type of situation, too.”
“The biggest thing I got is there are a lot of people who waited a lifetime for that,” said Anderson. “I saw videos of people with their kids. That’s a moment that Philly can really hold on to for a long time.
“It was just cool, everybody’s going crazy. The party’s probably going to roll for a week, and have at it. I’m really happy for the city.”
Hours after the Eagles put the finishing touches on a memory that will be remembered by millions for a lifetime, Embiid, Anderson, and the Sixers were back at work for a spirited practice, seeking to start a five-game homestand on a positive note. They host the Washington Wizards Tuesday.
“I don’t know if you can tell, but usually I don’t choke on my words. I don’t even know what to say,” Anderson said. “I can’t believe I went to the Super Bowl. Coming from where I come from, Joel the same way. We were just talking about incredible the moment is. We were trying to take pictures and videos, and just hold on to them forever.”
They certainly weren’t alone.
Here’s a social roundup of how some of the Sixers reacted in the immediate aftermath of Sunday’s memorable triumph.