Happy Friday, Philadelphia. We’re two days away from Super Bowl LII. Let’s not forget about the players we’re rooting for under the helmets. The judge who sent Meek Mill back to prison has hired a lawyer, and the settlement amount paid to Rep. Pat Meehan’s sexual harassment accuser has been revealed. Today’s also Groundhog Day. Are you hoping for an early end to winter? There’s plenty to discuss, so let’s get started.
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With their faces covered (sometimes by wrestling masks), it’s easy to forget who the players are donning midnight green and seeking to bring our city its first Super Bowl title. My colleagues have worked to peel back the underdog masks to get to know the players.
- Columnist David Murphy examines Malcolm Jenkins. He gained national attention when he used the national anthem as the setting for demonstrations to draw attention to racial inequality and injustice in America. Even at the Super Bowl, that message lives on.
- Carson Wentz’s passion for the game lives on despite him not being able to suit up on Sunday. The love for him also endures in the North Dakota town that will forever root for the hometown kid. Columnist Mike Sielski visited Fargo.
- Reporter Frank Fitzpatrick has hit the road and made a stop in Cincinnati to learn a little more about the longest tenured Eagle, Brent Celek.
- One of the newer members of the squad, Alshon Jeffery will take the field at the Super Bowl and line up across from his college roommate — and groomsman at his wedding.
- It isn’t supposed to be easy to make it to the Super Bowl, but don’t tell the Eagles rookies that. Players like Jake Elliott and Derek Barnett are preparing to play on the biggest stage and experience is not on their side.
- Most Birds fans probably couldn’t pick Nate Sudfeld out of a lineup, but he’s one injury away from taking the field against his idol Tom Brady. The two share more similarities than you might think.
On the road
Those stories are just a snippet of what my colleagues have been collecting from Minnesota and several stops along the way. The Philadelphia Inquirer is on the road for the Super Bowl and you can see what we’re seeing right here.
On newsstands today
Grab a copy of our 24-page special section on the Eagles vs. Patriots in today’s keepsake edition of the Inquirer and the Daily News, with exclusive insights from our 24 sports reporting pros on the ground in Minneapolis. See the special “Episode LII: A New Hope” cover for yourself.
Things have not quieted down for the Philadelphia judge who sent rapper Meek Mill back to prison. If anything, things have only gotten louder and now Judge Genece E. Brinkley has hired lawyer A. Charles Peruto Jr., and is ready to fight back.
Peruto denies allegations that Brinkley tried to extort personal favors from Mill and used his sentence as a means to lash out at the rapper, calling it “a ridiculous and outrageous claim.” He added that his client is prepared to sue.
In an effort to fight one accusation, late last week, Brinkley unsealed a transcript of a meeting she had with the rapper which was the subject of a serious allegation lodged against her by Mill.
According to sources familiar with the case, the former aide who accused Rep. Pat Meehan of sexual harassment last year, received nearly $40,000 in a settlement funded by taxpayers.
Meehan announced that he will not seek reelection as criticism intensified around the settlement. He stated that he would repay the public funds if the ethics committee finds that he actually committed sexual harassment.
The married Meehan, 62, has maintained that he did not sexually harass the former aide and never sought to have a romantic relationship with her. He claimed that he saw the aide as a “soul mate” and developed strong feelings due to their close working relationship.
What you need to know today
- It took less than three hours for a Philadelphia jury to deliberate and convict Edward Archer for the ISIS-inspired ambush attack of Philadelphia Police Officer Jesse Hartnett.
- Commuters are getting a freebie today. Following days of frustrating delays, PATCO is offering free rides from 6 to 9 a.m., during the Friday morning rush.
- Several major road projects have been in the works for quite some time across the Philadelphia region. President Trump’s comments on transportation and infrastructure left some planners uncertain about how they’ll be paid for.
- The University of Pennsylvania has announced it is revoking honorary degrees given to Bill Cosby and former trustee Steve Wynn due to claims of sexual assault brought against both.
- U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff told Penn students on Thursday that President Trump poses a greater threat to the American political system than any foreign adversary.
- Rep. Bob Brady announced this week, he is not running for reelection. Reporter Holly Otterbein takes a look at his weirdest, funniest and most quintessentially Philly moments.
- Architecture Critic Inga Saffron breaks down two recent ideas to bring clever workarounds to the “depressing” apartment situations along Philadelphia’s rivers.
- A year ago Sunday, Jim and Evelyn Piazza lost their son Tim, who succumbed to injuries after a fraternity party at Penn State. Parents of children who died as a result of hazing are now coming together in an effort for change.
- Following a season where he donated all of his game checks to charity, Eagles defensive end Chris Long has won the NFLPA’s Byron “Whizzer” White Community MVP Award for charitable efforts.
- Temple University is moving forward with its plan to build an on-campus football stadium. Neighbors in the surrounding area are saying “not so fast.“
Through Your Eyes | #OurPhilly: Eagles Edition
The Eagles are headed to the big game, so here’s your chance to show them your support. Send us your photos showing your Eagles pride: we’re looking for displays of super-fandom with a good luck message to the team.
Tag your photos #OurPhilly on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram and we’ll pick our favorite each day this week to feature in this newsletter and give you a shout out!
- Is missing the Super Bowl your worst nightmare? It must be Haley Parks’. The 21-year-old is going viral after this video shows her waking up from wisdom teeth surgery, fearing that she missed the big game.
- Today, SportsRadio 94WIP is holding Wing Bowl 26 and you can follow along right here.
- Written on the Skin, an operatic love triangle with real people more or less devouring one another, arrives at the Academy of Music for four shows next week.
- Sixers guard Ben Simmons racked up some hardware as he’s been named the Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for January. And his teammate Joel Embiid has been added to the lineup for the skills challenge at All-Star weekend.
- There is Philly flavor all over the Super Bowl – and the halftime show. University of the Arts grad and Trenton native Adam Blackstone says it couldn’t get much better than backing up Justin Timberlake at Super Bowl LII.
- First it was Whole Foods and now Amazon might be looking to broaden its brick and mortar footprint by taking over Target or Kohl’s.
- While Amazon continues to search for a home for a second headquarters, LGBT activists are demanding it moves to a state that protects LGBT people from discrimination, meaning Pennsylvania isn’t on their list.
- Last night, the Flyers gave up two goals in the third period on their way to a 4-3 loss to the Devils.
- Barry “the Hatchet” Vagnoni is known as the Pope of Eagles fandom and he showed us his man cave, which is nothing less than a cathedral to the Birds.
- Philadelphia’s “Year of DuBois,” will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of W.E.B. DuBois. The author published the groundbreaking study on blacks in the city, The Philadelphia Negro.
“I hope that by giving voice to Clyde Waite’s humiliations it may somehow humble us all into accepting that society — that means us the people — have heaped an unfair burden on good people like him. We are better than that. At least we should be.“ — Columnist Maria Panaritis writes about the first African American ever elected to a countywide post in Bucks County who was approached by police, suspected of burglarizing his own home.
- Columnist Marcus Hayes writes that it wasn’t just cheating that made people start to hate the Patriots. “It was arrogant, entitled, pervasive cheating.”
- Columnist Will Bunch will be rooting for the Eagles like most of us, but he’ll be particularly focused on Malcolm Jenkins and Chris Long who he says saved him from giving up on football.
What we’re reading
- What’s with the bell peppers? With the Eagles in the Super Bowl, cheesesteaks are all the rage, but as Billy Penn examines, out-of-towners keep adding peppers.
- Even the founding fathers have a wager on the Super Bowl. WHYY explains the bet between the American Philosophical Society, founded by Benjamin Franklin, and Massachusetts’ American Academy of Arts and Sciences established by John Adams.
- Patriots coach Bill Belichick is probably finding privacy hard to come by this week as he readies for the Eagles. The Boston Globe shows us how and why the coach has built a private compound on Nantucket as an escape.
- TIME Health breaks down a new study that claims that if you want to lose five pounds a year, all you have to do is stand up.
- Following President Trump’s first State of the Union, FiveThirtyEight takes a look at how many of those bold policy statements from presidents, actually wind up becoming law.
Your Daily Dose of | Beagles
No, not the dog. Philly’s Spread Bagelry is dyeing their Montreal-style bagels green to honor the Eagles.