Updated: Tuesday, February 27, 2018, 1:53 PM
Nick Foles Way? Hmmm, I like the sound of that.
So does Larry Swetman, a diehard Eagles fan who not only dreamed up the idea but launched a petition on Change.org calling on local politicians to get behind his suggestion to rename a portion of Ninth Street after the Super Bowl-winning quarterback. He wrote, “While we, the undersigned, would prefer a statue of him be placed on top of City Hall, at the lectern in Independence Hall, and at the top of the steps of the Art Museum, we will settle for renaming Ninth St. Nick Foles Way.”
Swetman, who lives in West Philly, started the effort over the weekend and already is close to reaching his goal of getting 1,000 signatures. He’ll have no problem getting way more signatures than that. You don’t need me to point out that the Eagles’ winning the Super Bowl for the first time was the biggest thing to happen to the city in a very long time. A feat like that will never be repeated. A franchise can only win for the first time once, and that happened under Foles’ impressive leadership.
“I, like the rest of the city, was very inspired by Nick Foles, his personal character, his story, his overcoming adversity,” Swetman, 32, told me on Monday.
“Nick Foles embodied being an underdog. The team was an underdog. He was that. He embodied that. He was that symbol,” he added, referring to the quarterback’s earlier struggles, which included a period when he thought about quitting football. “This is the stuff of legends. If this were the gladiatorial games, we would be writing about it in a Homerian epic.”
But first there are the usual bureaucratic hurdles to overcome. This is a fun idea that needs a champion at City Hall.
The last street to be renamed was a portion of South Broad Street between Christian and Carpenter. It’s called Boyz II Men Boulevard and is near the Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts, where the group got its start.
There’s a proposal by the daughter of the late boxing champ “Smokin’ Joe” Frazier to get Glenwood Avenue renamed in his honor.
As for Nick Foles Way, getting approval for that would be pretty much like that epic Super Bowl play known as the Philly Special. Think about it: What business wouldn’t want to have Nick Foles Way on its official stationery? Any resident who truly bleeds green would love for a home address on Nick Foles Way.
It doesn’t have to be Ninth Street, although that would be a good pick, since that’s his jersey number.
“When I think about the No. 9, forever I’m going to think about Nick Foles,” said Swetman, a community organizer who also works with Restaurant Opportunity Center United, which tries to improve wages and conditions for restaurant workers. “That’s why I chose Ninth Street.”
Renaming all of Ninth Street might be a bit much, but I don’t see any harm in giving a couple of blocks on the strip this special designation. Which blocks? It doesn’t matter.
This is something we can all can get behind, just like we supported the Eagles. All we need is the right cheerleader in City Hall to introduce a resolution calling for the honorary renaming of a specific street or block. According to the Streets Department, a street renaming begins with a City Council ordinance.
Anne Kelly King, chief of staff for Councilman Mark Squilla, said her office typically requests that a petition be created to show support for a street renaming and a letter of support be presented from a neighborhood group. Then, if there’s no opposition, it may be considered.
“Usually, it’s for a person who has died,” King told me on Tuesday. “We just had [a request] for Jimmy Tayoun for the block he lived on.”
Renaming a few blocks of Ninth Street Nick Foles Way should be an easy touchdown.
I’ll pretend I’m quarterback and I’ve got the ball. The ball is the idea to rename a street after the Eagles Super Bowl’s Most Valuable Player. My arm is cocked back. My eyes are scanning the field. Who’s open?