A sign of the Apocalypse?


There will be an open election in Iraq before ...

Oh.

Fine, that weird guy from In Living Color and that insipid show on WB will be nominated for a Best Actor award before ...

Oh.

The Boston Red Sox will overcome both the hated New York Yankees and 80-plus years of frustration by winning a World Series ...

Oh.

Fine, I surrender. Apparently the Philadelphia Eagles are actually playing in a Super Bowl this weekend. Yes, after multiple heartaches over close calls, and a few seasons worthy of the Tidy Bowl man, the team that has dashed so many hopes and dreams over the years will take its place in the ... well, whatever you want to call Jacksonville.

This is a strange one for me to get my mind around. I attended college in Philadelphia (Go Temple!), and lived in South Philly while working for a newspaper in the town. From my apartment at 9th Street and Snyder Avenue, I could see Veteran’s Stadium from my kitchen window and hear the cheers for an Eagles touchdown bellowing through my home.

And, on occasion, the boos.

See, they are a fickle lot, these Eagles fans. I have lived and written for newspapers in the San Francisco area, as well as the Atlanta and New York markets. I grew up in D.C., home of bandwagon-hopping Redskin fans, and spent time in Denver, where sports are only relevant if the home team is winning. But none of these markets, not even remotely, resemble the strange and fated passion of the Eagles fan.

They boo and throw things if the team is losing, and boo and throw things if they do something conservative when winning. They espouse hatred and violence if they lose a one-point game to a Super Bowl contender, and party in the streets if they beat a 2-14 team by 10 points. They are bi-polar by nature, and suffer their inferiority complex to the New York teams with a chip on their shoulder larger than a cheeseteak from Gino’s.

Yet they always bounce back from defeat, with an optimism for the next season rivaling only their deep-seeded fear of failure. It is a black cloud of despair they carry with a seeming pride, trimmed in the green and silver of their beloved Eagles.

Yeah, they’re nuts.

They can be horribly annoying to deal with when the team is doing well, and too pathetic to pick on when their Eagles are struggling. I must admit that I have rooted for the team in silence for years, understanding of their plight, but not wishing to get too involved with their fans for fear of where the discussion could lead. They are not my favorite team, by far, but they did somehow manage to get in my bloodstream to a certain degree through some strange sort of osmosis.

It is with a guarded sense of dread I will be watching this year’s Super Bowl — half rooting for the team to defy the odds and beat the maddeningly-efficient Patriots, and half waiting for the shoe to drop that will sentence the team and its fans to another long summer of frustration.

There is also a voyeuristic interest I hold in the game that must be admitted.

What in the world will Eagle fans do if their team does indeed come home with the Lombardi trophy? Oh, sure, a parade will march up and down Broad Street, with the victors shivering in their convertibles while hundreds of thousands of fans line the street and scream in adulation at the athletes who will never again be expected to pick up a bar or restaurant tab in Rocky’s town. But even the most ardent Eagles apologist must also fear for the riots and burned-out police cars left in the wake of thousands of drunken fans taking their celebrations from the pubs of South Street to, well, South street itself. I can already see a wave of neo-hippies burning their tie-died Eagles shirts outside Quincy’s while three bums and an off-duty ...

But I digress.

I will instead look forward to the game, and hope that Dave and Beth Long, Bill Patterson, Jamie Price, Tim McCann and the rest get their wish.

I mean, it could happen. Yeah, right, and the guy who played Lowell on Wings will get an Oscar nomination.

Oh.