Eagles win was ‘the best day of my life’ for student

Fans cheer on top of a garbage truck on North Broad in front of City Hall after the Philadelphia Eagles beat the New England Patriots, 41-33, in the Super Bowl on Sunday. | JAMIE COTTRELL / THE TEMPLE NEWS

After the Philadelphia Eagles won the Super Bowl on Sunday night, the scene on Broad Street was like one out of a movie.

Near Hamilton and Broad streets, more than 100 people gathered around the car of Nick Ortiz.

Ortiz, 19, from Camden, New Jersey, blasted hip-hop songs like Meek Mill’s “Dreams and Nightmares” from a speaker attached to the roof of his 1997 Honda Civic. Mill, a rapper from North Philadelphia, is currently incarcerated for violating his probation. Many hip-hop musicians, including rapper Jay-Z, have advocated for his release. Chants of “Free Meek” mixed with the sound of crowds celebrating the Eagles’ win along Broad Street.

The Eagles defeated the New England Patriots, 41-33, in the franchise’s first Super Bowl win. Tens of thousands of football fans celebrated on city streets after the game ended around 10 p.m.

An estimated 10,000 students living on or near Main Campus took to Broad Street, according to Temple Police.

Charlie Leone, the executive director of Campus Safety Services, wrote in an email that there were no arrests or injuries reported that night. He added that there were four small fires near off-campus apartments that were extinguished by the Philadelphia Fire Department.

He wrote that, overall, the students who celebrated were cooperative with authorities.

Andrew Hamilton, a sophomore finance major, sat in a shopping cart as his friends raced north on Broad Street, pushing him along.

“This is the best day of my life,” Hamilton said. “I’m most happy for my dad. He’s been waiting a long time. I talked to him right after [the game.] He started crying, as was I.”

During the game, students and university employees took part in watch parties around Main Campus, including small gatherings of friends in front of TVs in off-campus apartments and larger gatherings, like the sold-out watch party at the Draught Horse Pub & Grill on Cecil B. Moore Avenue near 15th Street.

More than 50 students watched from the basement of Johnson & Hardwick residence halls. The students, many dressed in midnight green and Eagles gear, cheered after big plays made by the hometown team.

After the Patriots scored their first touchdown in the second quarter, there was some subdued applause from the few New England fans in the room.

Other fans of Philadelphia’s opponent made the 300-mile trek home to cheer for the team in the Patriots’ territory, like Victoria Bremmenkamp, a freshman advertising major.

She is originally from Brazil but has relatives who live in Massachusetts. The Patriots were the first football team she ever supported. During the season, she watched all the games on her phone or in the lounge of 1300 Residence Hall.

“If Philly wasn’t playing against the Patriots, I would root for them,” Bremmenkamp said. “But the Patriots are my team that I’ll support now and forever.”

For some people in Philadelphia, the Eagles’ Super Bowl win has been nearly 50 years in the making.

Merrill Reese, a play-by-play broadcaster for SportsRadio 94.1 WIP, has been covering the Eagles for 41 years. He is the longest-tenured team play-by-play broadcaster in the NFL.

He prepared for the Super Bowl like he would for any other game.

“You’re totally absorbed in it,” said Reese, a 1964 communications alumnus. “With the Super Bowl, you’re on site. It’s a full week in this environment.”

Reese said he didn’t write a script for the game, other than an introduction.

Watch fans react

“When the moment comes, you don’t script any of it,” Reese said. “You describe what you see and let your emotions out and share how you feel about the big moments.”

As the clock ticked to zero in the fourth quarter, Reese described the scene as Patriots quarterback Tom Brady launched a desperation pass into the endzone. Once he saw the ball hit the ground uncaught, Reese erupted.

“The Philadelphia Eagles are Super Bowl champions!” Reese said in his final call. “Eagles fans everywhere, this is for you! Let the celebration begin!”

Seconds after Reese’s final call, Javier Cruz, a security guard at Temple University Hospital, was crying with joy at his relative’s house in Sharon Hill, Pennsylvania.

“I’m crying, man,” Cruz said. “I said it from the gate that we were going to win it!”

Growing up near 5th Street and Lehigh Avenue, Cruz played football for 10 years, including when he was a student at Roman Catholic High School on Broad Street near Vine.

Cruz said Sunday’s win felt like a “black cloud” lifted from the city.

“This is a blue-collar town,” Cruz said. “We can relate to the struggle. We can relate to that underdog feel, and it’s been a long time coming for us.”

“It don’t matter if you’re me, I work security, or if you’re a doctor,” he added. “We come together. This is our common ground, and we just call each other brothers and sisters.”

Jon Jordan, 33, said he’s been waiting for the Eagles to win the Super Bowl since he was 6 years old.

A few years ago, he buried his father with a Hugh Douglas jersey. Douglas played for the Eagles from 1998 to 2002, and then for one season in 2004.

“I put it in the casket with him,” said Jordan, who lives at 19th Street near Susquehanna Avenue. “I just buried a friend of mine across the street. He was all decked out in Eagles gear, and he would’ve loved to see this moment. This is just so real. I’m at a loss for words right now.”

As Jordan walked down North Broad, a Ford F-150 full of people chanting drove by him. Two people were perched on the car’s hood and roof, with another dozen piled in the bed of the truck.

“This has been a long time coming,” Jordan said. “Great people have died waiting for this moment. This is so beautiful, man, I just thank God I’m here for it.”

Emily Scott
can be reached at emily.ivy.scott@temple.edu Or you can follow Emily on Twitter @emilyivyscott ‏ Follow The Temple News @TheTempleNews

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