Melissa Hadfield spent Friday night packing her Jeep Compass for the longest drive of her life.
Hadfield, 41, who lives near Reading, was about to embark on an overnight road trip to Chicago to attend the Eagles' wildcard game Sunday against the Bears at Soldier Field.
“I napped today, so I should be good,” Hadfield said shortly before beginning her planned 10-hour drive — she has never made one of more than five hours — with three fellow Eagles fans.
Any way they can, die-hard believers are making their way to Chi-Town with hope for a victory that could lead to a Super Bowl repeat.
Hadfield and her friends arranged at the last minute for a hotel room, a tailgate party, and a game ticket through the Green Legion, a Philadelphia-based Eagles fan travel club.
Michael Diaz, who directs social media for Craig “Quimby” Chenosky, the club’s owner, said a pep rally was scheduled for Saturday and a tailgate for Sunday, both at Hopsmith Tavern on Chicago’s Gold Coast.
The bar’s owner, Eric Baylis, is an Eagles season ticket holder and flies to all the home games, Hadfield said. “Crazy, right?” she added.
Hadfield is devoted in her own way, having gone on four Green Legion excursions this season to away games. And it was her 15th year of such trips.
She was on the Green Legion charter bus after the Eagles demolished the Washington Redskins on Sunday by 24-0. The Bears then pounded the Minnesota Vikings, 24-10, which was all that was needed to keep the Birds’ playoff hopes alive, and Quimby announced: "We have [another] game to go to.”
Because of the short time between games, Green Legion travelers had to arrange for their own transportation to Chicago, Diaz said.
J.P. Lutz, 40, of the Queen Village section of the city, said he booked a flight as soon he was certain that the Eagles were making a return trip to the playoffs.
“I had the laptop open as I was watching the game,” said Lutz, who flew out on Thursday and was staying with a friend. He plans to attend the Green Legion events and the game itself.
Lutz, a former Eagles employee, said this game is particularly exciting.
“It was so improbable that the Eagles were going to make it,” he said.
The Eagles sputtered during the season until quarterback Carson Wentz was injured and replaced by Nick Foles. He repeated his late-season heroics from last year, when he led the team to its first Super Bowl victory, a 41-33 win over the favored New England Patriots.
Lutz and Hadfield are just two of the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of area fans headed to Chicago to watch their Iggles take on Da Bears, who are favored by 6½ points by Vegas Vic. One person who will not be going is 49-year-old Dale Sourbeck, who was arrested after, police say, he broke into Rock Street Music in Pittston, Pa., about 3 a.m. Thursday and stole some guitars.
After he was nabbed, the Pittston man told the TV news cameras one thing: “Go Eagles!”
When last heard of, Sourbeck had been charged with burglary and other counts, and sent to the Luzerne County prison.
Kickoff on Sunday is scheduled for 4:40 p.m. and the game will be televised on NBC. Game-time temperature is forecast for the upper 30s with a low chance of precipitation.
Staff writer Rob Tornoe contributed to this article.