In the aftermath of the Philadelphia Eagles’ historic Super Bowl win last weekend, commentators left, right and center haven’t exactly been devoid of options when piercing the 41-33 victory over the New England Patriots in search for meaning. Nick Foles’ vanquishing of Tom Brady — and, to a lesser extent, Doug Pederson’s outmaneuvering Bill Belichick — was the ultimate David vs. Goliath story, for instance. And Brady’s refusal to shake Foles’ hand after his ignominious defeat provided a lesson for children everywhere on the ugliness of bad sportsmanship.
But as far as what the outcome of Super Bowl LII means for us as Jews, as Philadelphians — as Jewish Philadelphians — it can be summed up in a text sent to one of our staff members by her boyfriend, who spent most of his life far from the City of Brotherly Love: “It’s an unbelievable feat for such a suffering people.” Like the travails of our ancestors in Egypt and our journey through the wilderness in search of the Promised Land, we know more than a thing or two about disappointment. We feel it in our bones, it’s a part of our DNA: In every generation, a team — the Dallas Cowboys, the Oakland Raiders, the Green Bay Packers, the dreaded Pats — has risen up against us. (Note to the entrepreneurs out there: If there isn’t an Eagles-branded haggadah out there, there should be!)
But as sure as the ancient Israelites conquering the land of Canaan, our Eagles proved that Philadelphia need wander in the wilderness no longer. It was the perfect moment — save for the missed extra point and the failed two-point conversions, it was the perfect game — to show us that we rank right up there with New Yorkers. We are a world-class city with the world championship football team to match. That Foles, Brandon Graham, Alshon Jeffery, Zach Ertz and all the others accomplished what they did despite an injury-plagued season unequaled in the annals of the National Football League just underscores this truth. (Jeff Bezos, if you’re reading this, Amazon’s new headquarters belongs here.)
Some will say that we shouldn’t need the Vince Lombardi Trophy to prove our worth. We hosted the pope, for crying out loud, as well as the Democratic National Convention and the NFL Draft. But year after year, it’s been the Super Bowl that has been the missing jewel in Billy Penn’s crown (yes, we know he wears a cap, but every metaphor deserves a little stretching).
Now that we’ve triumphed more convincingly than a magical armored blue knight in search of beer, we all should walk a little taller and brush off our shoulder that chip at least one observer has remarked was larger than the crack in our Liberty Bell. Even better — and it’ll admittedly be a bit hard — let’s make confidence a new trait of Philadelphians. We predict that like our Eagles, our city and its people will soar ever higher.