The Quad

Super-bowl-stitions

Maureen Farley, Special to the Quad

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Lucky green shirts came before March this year for Philadelphians who might not have Irish green in their blood, but certainly bleed green. Eagles fans hungry for their organization’s first-ever Super Bowl win watched the season with bated breath, like a parent watching their child cross the street for the first time.

These underdogs needed all of the encouragement and unwavering support they could rally, and Philadelphians know a thing or two about rallying. What makes a winning team? Hard work? A close-knit team? Is there a secret magic spell? Maybe all three. Some unshaven and unwashed fans I interviewed believed wholeheartedly that their boys would pull through as long as they stayed loyal to their Super Bowl-stitions.

“We must always turn the TV announcers off and listen to Merrill and Mike,” Barbara Farley-McDonnell, a Philadelphia native and superfan explains.

She continued to confess, “Sadly the same leftover cheese cubes that were on the table during week one of the playoffs must be on the table again, no one is to touch them . . . their mere presence is necessary for the Eagles win. The church pre-game outfit must remain the same for good luck. Finally, we hold a medal and relic of St. John Neumann and rub it for good luck. If you ask him for particular football favors, he always comes through.”

Mrs. Farley-McDonnell watched the game every Sunday with her sons and even started listening to WIP sports talk in order to engage in conversations with her boys. For her, this win wasn’t only about the trophy, but about loyalty to a team, a city and her family.

After learning about how high the Eagles are on St. John Neumann’s agenda, I called on him a few times during the game, and stats prove this method’s merit. Other fans agree with Mrs. Farley-McDonnell that listening to the TV announcers instead of Merrill and Mike is bad juju, and after a contemptuous debate after half-time my uncles switched over to the radio broadcast.

Another fan, Justin Gephart, believes that his pups need to participate in game day rituals as well:

“Well, you don’t wash the jersey if they’ve won. And you wear the same one, along with a “lucky” undershirt. The mini Eagles helmet goes in viewing position where it can be seen during the game. The actual size one likewise, sometimes on your head. Our dog, Florence, has her Eagles jersey on and the game is on for the pets if we are not home! The refs are always wrong. And there’s always alcohol involved.”

Most fans I talked to mentioned food and beverages they consume on game day that nourishes the Eagles winning streak. Wings from their favorite joint and Bud Light (dilly dilly!) proved to be a trusted source of victorious sustenance.

Others believe in a magical game day feng shui. Their positioning in the room has a direct effect on the end result. Where you sit must change if the Birds are losing. If they won the last game while you were in the green velvet recliner, you better be in that same green velvet recliner during the next game.

The food should be positioned somewhere accessible but not in a place that poses a potential blockade for those fans like Daniel Farley Jr., who like to pace back and forth, like a clock pendulum tick-tocking to the last seconds of the fourth quarter. “I can’t sit down,” he explained with his eyes fixated on the TV screen.

Some fans declined Super Bowl party invitations because they needed to uphold their vow to remain in the same sofa spot that knows the imprint of their butt by the end of the season. David Karolyi, a Philly native who lives in New Jersey now admits, “I don’t leave my house on Sundays.”

The shaving cream industry around Philadelphia must’ve taken a hit during these past five months, as many men believed that their beards were the secret to the victory. Caterpillar mustaches and Santa Claus beards that girlfriends beg their boyfriends to shave grew like wintertime weeds during a warm-spell week. Whether they were patchy, curly, thick or even dyed green in support of the birds, you did it. It worked.

Classic superstitions like unlucky black cats, the number thirteen, opening an umbrella indoors and walking under a ladder are far too straight-edged and unoriginal for Philadelphia.

So whether you believe that good, old-fashioned hard work, God, St. John Neumann, Nick Foles, your long beard, sitting in the lucky seat on the couch or the crusty cheese cubes that have been sitting on your coffee table since the beginning of playoffs are responsible for the greatest game in Eagles history… enjoy it.

This is for the team that never stops flying. This is for the families that never stop believing. This is for Philadelphia.

Maureen Farley is a first-year student majoring in communications studies with a minor in theatre. ✉ [email protected].

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