If the Philadelphia Eagles win the Super Bowl, Sawyer Long said he wants to see the Liberty Bell melted down into a statue of the team’s quarterback, Nick Foles.
“I want to see this place erupt,” said Long, a senior film and media arts major. “I just want to see people go absolutely nuts, and love each other and hug each other, and nothing else matters but the Eagles and the city.”
Long became a die-hard Eagles fan after watching the 39th Super Bowl in February 2005, when the Philadelphia team lost to the New England Patriots.
He watched the Eagles defeat the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday 38-7 from the Draught Horse Pub & Grill on Cecil B. Moore Avenue near 15th Street. The Eagles clinched the NFC Championship title and will play the New England Patriots in the 52nd Super Bowl on Feb. 4 in Minneapolis. Students joined in the citywide post-game celebrations of the win on Sunday.
After the game ended, Long was in disbelief.
“I’ve been shaking all day,” Long said on Monday. “I feel like I’ve been waiting so long, but then again, I’m only 22. … Sixty-year-olds, 70-year-olds, 80-year-olds, even 90-year-olds, that have just been fans for their whole life, I can’t imagine what they’re feeling today.”
Long grew up in Allentown, Pennsylvania, where his father watched NFL games all the time. Even though he was young, he said he would get excited every time his father became overjoyed by an Eagles win.
Long and Bri O’Meara, his girlfriend who is a 2017 nursing alumna, arrived at the Draught Horse around 3 p.m. — more than three hours before the game started — and watched the Patriots defeat the Jacksonville Jaguars to win the AFC Championship. He said the bar was packed before the game even started at 6:40 p.m.
After the game, Long said everyone, even strangers, was hugging and high-fiving. He then ran out of the bar and started hugging people he saw on the street.
“I ran down the street flapping my arms like wings just screaming ‘Super Bowl,’” Long said. “I just didn’t turn back. I was yards and yards ahead of everybody who came out of the bar.”
Thousands of students congregated at the intersection of Broad Street and Cecil B. Moore Avenue, blocking vehicles. Despite city employees slathering Crisco, a vegetable shortening used for cooking, on light poles to stop people from climbing on them, there are photos of students scaling the ones at the major campus intersection on Twitter.
Many students, including Long and his friends, walked south on Broad Street, meeting up with other Philadelphians near City Hall to celebrate the historic win.
When they reached Center City, Long said people were “packed like sardines.” He described the city streets as similar to a party: People were throwing confetti, setting off fireworks, playing music from a boombox and break-dancing.
“It didn’t matter who you were, everyone was happy,” Long said. “Everyone was giving you a hug.”
Maggie Arriviello, a junior risk management and insurance major, went to Lincoln Financial Field to tailgate with her friends before returning to Main Campus to watch the game in her apartment. When the game ended, she said students filled the street to light sparklers, bang pots and pans and pop champagne bottles.
“Someone lit an old Christmas tree on fire, [a] 15-, 20-feet high fire,” Arriviello said. “It was starting to reach the telephone lines.”
In preparation for the post-game celebration, Charlie Leone, the executive director of Campus Safety Services, said Temple Police planned to increase police presence around Main Campus.
TUPD also found 10 cars on the 1500 block of N. 16th Street that were spray painted green. He said they are working with landlords and business owners to access cameras in the areas to try and find suspects.
Leone added that TUPD will spend the next two weeks preparing for the Super Bowl and post-game reactions.
Shane Maziarz, a junior history major, lost his voice from screaming so much during and after the Eagles’ win Sunday. He grew up in Royersford, Pennsylvania, and said his father was also a big influence on his support of the Eagles.
He also attended the tailgate, and afterward watched the game in his friend’s off-campus apartment. Along with many other students, he and his friends rushed down Broad Street toward Center City for the citywide celebration.
Maziarz hopes to travel home to Montgomery County to watch the Super Bowl with his father. He said he woke up to a text from his dad at 8 a.m. Monday morning that read: “You’re not dreaming. The Eagles are going to the Super Bowl!”
“That would be my number one goal, to try to witness something that means so much to both of us,” Maziarz said.
Long’s grandfather, a life-long Eagles fan, died in May 2017. While Long wishes he could have experienced the NFC Championship win with him, he said he believes the team is succeeding because of his grandfather’s legacy as a fan.
“He just always wanted them to do well…and here they are doing well,” Long said. “It’s just great for my family and for me, and knowing that he would be happy.”
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect new information.