‘Unimaginable’ Season Relived by Merrill Reese

Merrill Reese and Larry Kane | Photo by Mark Kogan

The sanctuary of Old York Road Temple-Beth Am became a sea of green on Feb. 26 as guest speaker Merrill Reese shared insights and commentary on the best Eagles season yet.

From Nick Foles jerseys to Eagles kippot, the 300-person crowd erupted in cheers and “E-A-G-L-E-S” chants as Reese explored how player and personnel changes — goodbye Chip Kelly, hello again Foles — helped the stars align.

Recognition of players like Alshon Jeffery, Jay Ajayi, Jake Elliott and, of course, Carson Wentz — “He can throw the ball from here to Dresher,” Reese marveled — were met with loud applause.

He noted which games and victories took us to the promised land, all the while reliving the standout plays that helped along the way, like Elliott’s 61-yard field goal.

As for Reese — like just about everyone else — he’s basking in the afterglow.

“You never recover from something like that,” the voice of the Eagles admitted.

After all, who would’ve thought we’d be celebrating an Eagles Super Bowl win? Reese certainly didn’t in the beginning.

“Going into the season, I didn’t think this was anywhere near a Super Bowl team,” he said. “But, after they beat Minnesota and went to the Super Bowl, I did believe they were the better team.”

So how did he celebrate?

“Sleeping,” he laughed. “After the game, I really went back to my hotel. It was an exhausting week.”

All season, many have noted how this team seemed different from others. From their outward commitment to social justice, — forgoing their salaries, raising money for the School District of Philadelphia — to their dedication to the game, there’s a lot to be learned.

“There wasn’t a selfish person on that team,” Reese said. He noticed most the unity the team displayed and their respect for head coach Doug Pederson. “The players respected him, they wanted to win for him, they wanted to win for one another. It was just a wonderful atmosphere.”

As for what’s next, what with some players not returning next season and the question of what will happen with Super Bowl MVP Foles, only time will tell. But he hopes the team will rekindle the hunger they had this year — and remain healthy. Either way, however, this is a team that will be ingrained in the memory of Eagles fans forever, he said.

“It’s a wonderful feeling of accomplishment,” he said. “This is something they achieved, and there hadn’t been a world championship in Philadelphia in 57 years. So for them, this was remarkable. They will always be remembered by this city. The 2017 Eagles are immortal.

“For Eagles fans everywhere, it’s an unimaginably great year.”

While he waits for training camp, Reese will remain busy with his radio station in Bucks County and playing golf — and just enjoying the feeling of announcing a Super Bowl win, which didn’t sink in for him immediately.

“The whole moment, the whole night from that point on was almost out of a dream,” he said. “You know when it sank in? Monday morning when we went to the airport and we got onto the charter to fly home and everybody’s seat had their name on it, including mine, and it said ‘Merrill Reese, Super Bowl champion.’ And everybody had that on their seat. Then it sank in.” 

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