By Taylor Bradford
It should come as no surprise that the New England Patriots are going to the Super Bowl this year. What might catch you off guard, though, is that Gordon College is full of Philadelphia Eagles fans.
Sunday will mark the second Super Bowl that the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles have competed against each other. The first time around the Patriots clinched the title in a close game, 24-21. Now that the Eagles have a second chance to claim the Vince Lombardi trophy, they are hungry for revenge and have the fan base to prove it.
There was no question as to which team Peter Spangler (‘19) was cheering for when he sat down for an interview with the Tartan in a blue long-sleeve with the word “EAGLES” in big green block letters across his shirt.
“I’m wearing my Eagles gear so I can rep my team and so I can get hyped for the game,” said Spangler.
An Eagles fan since birth, Spangler was raised to love football. He said, “I just remember growing up Sunday afternoons, we would get back from church put our jerseys on. If the game starts at one, you better get downstairs and on your knees by the tv. If it started at 4:30 we would go outside and play football for awhile.”
John Sheldon (‘21) and his brother, Sam (‘19), are willing to go to great lengths to support their favorite team. Sheldon said, “My brother and I are thinking of driving seven hours for the Super Bowl.”
Natives to New Jersey, the Sheldon brothers have loved the Philadelphia Eagles for as long as they can remember. For them, driving seven hours to watch the game is an expression of that love.
“It’s worth it,” said Sheldon.
Even Patriots fans have to admit that this year’s Super Bowl might be a close one. “I’m expecting a close game, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the team that ends up having the last drive of the 4th quarter wins,” said Zach Brown (‘18).
Super Bowl LII will mark the Patriots 10th appearance at the Super Bowl. Only two years after Tom Brady was drafted in the sixth round by the New England Patriots, the Patriots had their first victory when they defeated the St. Louis Rams, 20-17, in 2002. Sixteen years later, the beloved quarterback has five championship rings and is looking for a sixth.
Porter Sprigg (‘19), a devoted Pats fan, said, “So many people expected that this would be the year that Brady would fall off the proverbial cliff and lose his ability to make big plays. The man is 40 years old so that wasn’t necessarily an unreasonable expectation. And yet… He’s Tom Brady. This whole season, he has proven all the doubters that he still has a lot left in the tank. He is the favorite to win the league MVP award. At the age of 40! That’s just absurd.”
This will be the Philadelphia Eagles third appearance at a Super Bowl and are looking to claim their first ever Super Bowl championship title. Don’t be fooled, however, by their lack of rings. While the Patriots may have Brady, the birds have some key players that will make it difficult for the Patriots to walk off with the trophy.
“[Fletcher Cox] is one of the best defensive linemen in the league and he has put a lot of pressures on QBs to make bad throws and to get sacks. He will be instrumental against Tom Brady,” said Spangler (‘19).
Jennifer Jukanovich, vice-president for Student Life, said “Even though, I am rooting for the Pats, I love how the backup quarterback has now turned into a potential hero for the Eagles. So, I’d say to watch out for Nick Foles to surprise us.”
In addition to the game, fans from both teams have expressed excitement for the festivities and traditions that will occur this Sunday. The main requirement for most fans: lots of food.
“My ideal super bowl celebration is a party with close friends which includes a cookout with lots of food and pregame activities,” said Alex Kauffman (‘21).
Elizabeth Lyons, the resident director of Wilson and Lewis Hall, said that her ideal Super Bowl party involves “ a touchdown dance competition and a door prize for the people who predict the most accurate score and winner.”
Whether you are in it for the love of the game or the love of Doritos, you can be sure that Gordon College’s campus will be animated come Super Bowl Sunday.
Super Bowl LII is scheduled to kick off on Feb. 4 at 6:30pm ET at Minneapolis’ U.S. Bank Stadium.