Rendell: On my mind, wins, losses, parades

Vikings Eagles Football
FILE – In this Oct. 29, 2017, file photo, San Francisco 49ers' C.J. Beathard (3) is sacked by Philadelphia Eagles' Brandon Graham (55) and Mychal Kendricks (95) as Malcolm Jenkins (27) looks on during the second half of an NFL football game. One team has a suffocating defense. The other has the NFL's No. 1 unit Defense should win at least the NFC championship. (AP Photo/Michael Perez, File)

 

On Thursday night, I was watching the 11 o’clock news and I saw a feature about the owner of the “Eagle One Recreational Vehicle.” It’s an RV that’s covered with life-sized decals of Eagles players and all sorts of Eagles paraphernalia. The owner was interviewed and he said that he planned to have Eagle One on Broad Street for the NFC Championship Game, in Minneapolis for the Super Bowl on Feb. 4, and then back on Broad Street Feb. 6 for the parade. As I’ve walked around town this week, people have stopped me and said, “We’re going to win this Sunday, right? We’re going to the Super Bowl!” Truth is, I think we will win Sunday. When New Orleans’ defensive backs inexplicably blew the coverage on the last play of the game against the Minnesota Vikings, the Eagles fortuitously escaped a match up against Drew Brees and the high-powered Saints offense. I believe our chances are much better against Case Keenum and a subpar Vikings running game. I think the Eagles win, 19-13, with Jake Elliot kicking four field goals.

I said on Eagles Postgame Live last Sunday that I was beginning to believe the Eagles are a team of destiny. If  they are, the Eagles will win on Sunday, the Jags will upset the Patriots, and we’ll cage those Cats in the Super Bowl, and there will be at least 2 million people lining Broad Street on Feb. 6, including 20 to 30 people most likely packed into Eagle One.

Philly’s hunger for a parade is absolutely insatiable. The memories of the 2008 Phillies World Series victory jaunt down Broad Street are fading from our consciousness — and besides almost every other Eastern city has had multiple Super Bowl victories and we have none. Fans from Boston, New York, Pittsburgh and Washington all mock us. So, our hunger for a Super Bowl championship parade is as intense as it can be. That’s known nationally — even announcer Chris Collinsworth said on TV that if Philly won, our parade would be the biggest ever.

To give you an example of how insane we are about a parade, when Smarty Jones won the first two legs of the Triple Crown, in the three weeks leading up to the Belmont Stakes, the good citizens of our town would stop me and ask, “When Smarty wins the Belmont, we’re going to have a parade right?” Despite dealing with thousands upon thousands of Philadelphians during my political career, I was stunned by this question. If Smarty Jones won the Belmont, he’d be worth as much as $100 million in what he could garner after he was put out to stud. Did my fellow citizens believe Smarty should walk down Broad Street risking a life-ending injury in our numerous potholes? Or did they think we were going to put this noble animal on top of a flatbed truck and throw confetti at him? (I thought at least it should be carrots.) Both ideas were absurd, but I understood our craving for a winner. Sadly, like so many other Philly teams, Smarty broke our hearts when he was passed and finished second at the Belmont. But the passion remains. Not only unabated but now cresting at an incredibly intense level.

So, here’s my plea to all Eagles fans: Take a deep breath and think about what you would have said if someone told you that the Eagles were going to go 13-3 in the regular season, win a divisional playoff game against the Falcons, and beat the Vikings in the NFC Championship, but lose in the Super Bowl itself, would you have taken that season-long result? Of course you would have! Let’s be honest. If the Eagles get to the Super Bowl without Carson Wentz — our bona-fide franchise quarterback who many still consider a viable candidate for the league’s MVP — that in and of itself will be a miracle. So, if per chance, we lose on Sunday to the Vikings (which I don’t think we will) or we win and advance to the Super Bowl but somehow come up short, don’t be crushed. Reflect on what an amazing achievement this season has been, regardless of not winning it all. Understand, with this Eagles nucleus, and with Wentz as the leader, my guess is the Eagles will be in a number of Super Bowls in the next decade — and even have a couple of parades as well.