When the Phanatic heaved himself up on that parade float on Halloween 2008, he did so with best friend, Tom Burgoyne, who remembers the scene perfectly:
"There's only one word I can think of when Brad Lidge threw that ball past Eric Hinske to win the World Series - JOY! These fans were so ready to celebrate another champion in this city. I remember talking with Greg Dobbs. He was a California guy and wasn't familiar with how this city celebrates a champion. I said to him, 'Greg, you have no idea what you are in for tomorrow - you won't believe how crazy it's going to be!'"
"I had the pleasure of riding on the first truck with the Phanatic. He stood on his perch overlooking the parade for three and a half hours enjoying the mass of humanity. When our truck came to the turn around City Hall - I looked up and saw a bunch of kids on top of that same statue. I thought, 'That was me 25 years ago!' I made sure the Phanatic gave them the thumbs up!"
The parade was the perfect culmination for a party that seemed to last for all of October, and needless to say, stole the majority of our focus. It may seem impossible, but there were actually other things going on in Philadelphia and the world in 2008. When the Phillies were plowing down Broad Street, the rest of the sports scene just kept on playing.
A young Mike Richards was named Flyers captain; his bright, enthusiastic career in Philadelphia ahead of him. Wanting to make a dominant statement to the league after the previous season's minor success, the Flyers did in fact make a statement, failing to win any of their first six games. On October 30, they were tied for the league lead in shorthanded goals. A rookie named Claude Giroux was working to establish himself as a top talent in the league, in hopes of reaching the ultimate dream of becoming a disappointing bust who is nothing without Jaromir Jagr.
"The Flyers saluted the Phillies' World Series win with a 60-second video tribute on the ArenaVision screen midway through the first period."
11,717 fans in attendance watched as the Sixers began the season by getting everybody cheeseburgers with a 100+ point victory at home, featuring lead scorer Elton Brand. Coach Maurice Cheeks was thrilled with the defensive effort. It was going to be a magical year.
Coming off their bye week, Andy Reid's Eagles stomped the Falcons for their unprecedented third home victory of the season. Brian Westbrook was especially paramount to their efforts, willing his broken ribs and bad ankles back into place through sheer force of will in order to run 167 yards and score two touchdowns after sitting out for two weeks.
"Fans wearing red Phillies caps added some color to the usually green-and-white crowd. The packed stadium filled up a little later than normal with fans probably getting some extra zzz's after the Phillies' 5-4 Game 3 World Series win over Tampa Bay ended at 1:47 a.m. -- only 11 hours before kickoff."
The world was a different place in 2008...
- Presidential hopeful Barack Obama campaigns in Philadelphia before the election, calling for more respect from both parties in the final stretch, a plan that was so good that it never happened and never will.
- The Jonas Brothers help make purity rings a thing, while enjoying their exploding fame. "How can they ever break up?" we wondered. "They're brothers!"
- Pillow Fight Day becomes the largest international flash mob in human history.
- Hungary gets a $25 billion bailout from the EU, with the knowledge that this is definitely the last one of these before the world economy is fixed forever.
- Delta Air and Northwest Airlines combine to create one giant airplane company, with their mission statement being to delay the Cardinals' plane to Boston during the World Series within five years.
- Several days after the parade, national media tries to shoehorn a story about America electing its first black president into bigger news than a local sports team winning a championship.
- An extra "leap second" is was added in 2008, for what time experts agree is some sort of "reason."
- The world was introduced to Taken, a movie in which Liam Neeson says he will do terrible things to some kidnappers on the phone, then finds them and does terrible things to them at break-neck speed, including breaking their necks. Somehow, moviegoers deemed this not better than Twilight.
- Heath Ledger's "Joker" in The Dark Knight changes the world's until then universal appeal of clowns forever, grossing over $500,000,000.
- Three teenagers rob the grave of an 11-year-old who died in 1921, break off his skull, and use it as a bong.
- A pair of amateur Bigfoot hunters revealed they had the monster's carcass to prove his existence, then disappointed everyone when it turned out to be very obviously be a gorilla suit stuffed full of roadkill.