Local leaders react to Eagles' Super Bowl victory02/06/2018 02:04PM ● By Richard Gaw
As Tom Brady's last second, desperate heave into the end zone fell to the turf during last Sunday's Super Bowl LII, the collective hearts of Philadelphia Eagles fans back-flipped from absolute fear to jubilation.
David had just defeated Goliath.
After a 57-year wait – a period when they watched their division rivals take home a total of 12 Lombardi trophies – Eagles fans were finally at the top of the professional football world, as a Nick Foles-led team beat the New England Patriots, 41-33, to earn their first Super Bowl championship.
From Chadds Ford to Oxford, celebrations flowed through developments and on streets and in homes and watering holes, the culmination of which will take place this Thursday along Broad Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, when an expected three million people will attend the Eagles' victory parade.
Meanwhile, back in southern Chester County, the Chester County Press asked a few of our friends in the news for their reactions to the long-awaited victory – what it means to them, their family and the community.
Although Dr. Barry Tomasetti, Superintendent of the Kennett Consolidated School District, has only lived in Chester County for the past eight years, he has observed that the Eagles success this season has been infectious, contributing to the “positive climate that has developed in interactions with our students, their parents and staff members,” he said. “It has engendered a 'teamsmanship' and bonding among them all.
Tomasetti has also been impressed by the “brotherhood” feel of the Eagles' players in overcoming several season-ending injuries to several key players.
“This characteristic is what I believe pulled them through the adversity stemming from injuries to significant contributors,” he said. “It has been fun to witness their having fun with their underdog status and proving to the sports world that they are true champions.”
New Garden Township Manager Tony Scheivert said that the person he inherited his passion for Philadelphia sports teams sat beside him during Super Bowl LII – his father.
“Some of my earliest memories are with my dad celebrating the Phillies' 1980 World Series win and the 1985 Villanova national basketball championship,” Scheivert said. “For me personally, I am filled with both pride and relief, but also with great happiness, for a team that embodied the spirit of a region of passionate fans.
“I hope my daughters remember watching this game with family, and realize how special it was to be able watch it together. I am so grateful that my Dad was still here, so I could share the moment with him and my family.”
Southern Chester County Regional Police Chief Gerald Simpson began watching Eagles games with his father when he was a child, and even though his father elected not to watch the NFL this year for personal reasons, Simpson called him after every game during the season.
“I would tell him that unlike any other year or any other team, that this Eagles team was special,” Simpson said. “I believe that 'special' ingredient is best described as a team that is more like a family, devoted to something bigger than themselves, and when met with adversity is inspired to pull together to overcome and achieve the ultimate goal.”
In the closing minutes of Super Bowl LII, Simpson called his father and told him to turn the game on.
“He did and was able to witness something that is truly very special,” he said. “Congratulations to the entire Philadelphia Eagles organization, to the City of Philadelphia and to the loyal fans!”
Calling the Super Bowl victory “an intense, fierce and powerful game,” Kennett Township Manager Lisa Moore said that the win is representative of what “unity” and “a sense of community” means.
“The Eagles' victory brought tears to my eyes, because I was so proud of our city, not only the amazing players but all of the fans. There is no other city with such passionate fans. It represents how unified we truly are, regardless of what is going on around us.
“My grandmother was the person who made sure the 'torch' was passed on from generation to generation,” she added. “When I feel proud of my achievements or those of our community, I always think of her. Unfortunately, she is not physically with us, but she is always here.”
Describing himself as a lifelong Eagles fan, London Grove Township Supervisor David Connors said that the Super Bowl victory removes the 'dark cloud' hovering over Philadelphia sports teams, “and finally provides a championship to our area,” he said. “Let's face it, the Eagles are the only team that matters in Philly. For me personally, this win means I may finally watch a game without that deep-rooted feeling that we will lose. This year's Eagles were impressive in many ways, and they proved that football is the ultimate team sport.”
Calling the Super Bowl victory “a lifelong dream come true,” Chester County Press Publisher and Eagle fan Randy Lieberman said that the Eagles' victory is proof that with hard work and determination, anything is possible. It's been a long time coming, he said.
“Philadelphia football has never been given the respect it deserves, but with this win it changes everything,” he said. “Football fans from all over now know we are for real.
“I have spent my whole life in the Philadelphia area, and Sunday football was and still is a time to come together with family and friends and cheer on the Eagles. That's what my Dad did, and that's what I do. Most years were incredibly disappointing, but we never gave up hope. I am happy that my whole family, and especially my Dad, got to see this victory.”
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email [email protected].