After their 38-7 victory over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, the Eagles have plenty of celebrity fans professing their longtime love for the team. But few have been in the Birds’ bandwagon as long or as in such a high profile way as Philadelphia’s own Bradley Cooper.
A Rydal native, Cooper, 43, is a lifelong Eagles fan thanks to his late father, Charles, who passed away in 2011. As Cooper told the Inquirer during a visit to an Eagles practice at the NovaCare Center in 2012, he and his father were “drawn together” by the team. Meals sometimes even revolved around games, with Cooper recalling the time the Eagles beat the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Championship after the 1980 season.
“We brought the TV into the kitchen so we wouldn’t miss anything,” Cooper said, adding that he has been a big fan of Randall Cunningham, Reggie White, and Donovan McNabb over the years. Heck, he was even “happy when Andy Reid came in,” as he told the Inquirer.
That father-and-son relationship continued to revolve around the Eagles up until Charles’ death in 2011. However, Cooper managed to get his dad to a playoff game between the Green Bay Packers and the Eagles that year, just six days before Charles’ death, as Cooper told the Daily News in 2012.
Cooper’s fandom however, isn’t exactly news. The Daily News was on his fandom as early as 2007, when the Germantown Academy grad was spotted taking in Eagles game with then-girlfriend Cameron Diaz in New Jersey. In 2015, Cooper was spotted at Lincoln Financial Field for the Birds’ win over the New York Giants, and was even caught singing the Eagles’ fight song with team owner Jeffrey Lurie.
Get insights on the Eagles delivered straight to your inbox with Early Birds, beat writer Zach Berman’s newsletter for Eagles fans. Click here to sign up.
Cooper drew on his experience as an Eagles fan that year for Silver Linings Playbook, which was based on author Matthew Quick’s book of the same name. In the film, which was shot locally, Cooper plays Pat Solitano, a bipolar Philadelphia-area man who struggles with his mental health. His character also happens to be a huge Eagles fan thanks to his own father, played by an Eagles-obsessed Robert DeNiro.
“Such a big part of this movie is the sports aspect, and the Eagles, specifically,” Cooper told the Daily News in 2012. “There’s such a great sports angle to this movie. And we tried to be as authentic as we could to the reality of what it’s like to be in a sports town.”
Growing up in such a sports town, Cooper knows what it’s like. But as an Eagles fan, he also knows what regular, crushing disappointment is like. But even during the Eagles dismal 2012 run, he didn’t lose hope, and encouraged other fans not to, either.
“The Eagles aren’t done. That’s the only thing that frustrates me about us as fans,” Cooper said. “We just write everything off so fast.”
In 2014, Cooper’s support for the Birds took the form of a pump-up videos for fans, including ones released prior to games agains the Cowboys and Giants.
“This is a football feast-ival, a Mayflower matinee between our Birds and those lasso-tossing rodeo heads from Dallas,” Cooper said in one promo. “Save me the wishbone, fellas. This year, there’s more than even to be thankful for, and it’s time to show the world how hungry we really are.”
Cooper cropped up again in promotional materials for the Eagles last year, voicing a snowball tasked with convincing Santa Claus that Philly fans don’t actually hate him. A sendup of the infamous incident in which Eagles fans pelted late fill-in Santa Claus Frank Olivo with snowballs during a game in December 1968, the video promoted a game between the Eagles and the Oakland Raiders.
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) December 22, 2017
“It wasn’t even you they were upset at,” Cooper-as-a-snowball says in the commercial. “It was the team.”
Cooper’s Eagles fandom today, it seems, is as strong as ever, judging by his presence at Sunday’s game agains the Vikings:
— Anne Caprara (@anacaprana) January 21, 2018