By Alex Lloyd Gross
The Philadelphia Eagles have waited a long time, more half a century, to win a Super Bowl. They did and today, February 8 2018 was the party. People knew that estimated numbers of 2,000,000 and up to 5,000,000 fans would show up. That meant people staked out their spots early. Some arriving by 2:30 AM around the Art Museum ,while.others chose Broad Street as their destination.
By 6:45 AM, there were already a few hundred thousand spread out across the parade route. Around city hall, people started to spill into the streets and it was not long before all roads were closed. It was not even 8:00 AM. By 7:30 AM a line of several hundred waited to get into the Reading Terminal for food. If the breakfast club thought they would eat and then saunter up to the parade route for a position, they were in for a rude awakening. By 8:15 the cue was 35 deep around the city hall area. It was that way for most of the parade route.
To keep warm, the crowd did what they could, including having a football catch with a Philly cop named John Brady. The Eagles started out on Broad Street early. However, the timing of the parade was starting to get behind the procession. Members of the team decided to leave the buses and hang out with the crowd in some spots. By the time the parade would reach city hall, it would be closer to 1:00 PM. No players left their bus in this area. The buses rolled by at about 10 MPH and made a turn towards the Parkway. It went by way too fast.
They were running late. They would arrive at the Art Museum almost 40 minutes late . The celebration part of the program started and remarks were made by Governor Tom Wolf and Mayor Jim Kenney, who received a loud “Boo.”. The politicians kept their remarks short and soon Eagles Announcer Merrill Reese was talking to the crowd. Reese is a respected broadcaster and the crowd wanted to hear what he had to say. However, they wanted to hear from the players more. Nick Foles, Carson Wentz, gave their remarks. When Jason Kelce stepped in front of the mic, it was anything but tame.
He led the crowd in a new chant littered with “F bombs” and read criticisms given to his team mates and coach about how bad they are. It was a great Philly way to say “F You” to those same critics. Oh, wait, he did that too, with a rousing flip of the bird. The celebration was less than one hour long. It was complete with a military flyover and fireworks.
Some suggestions on how to make this better next time, and yes, there will be a next time:
Get rid of the double decker buses for the players.Use a flat bed instead. This gives fans on the street, a cleaner view. Remember, most of them are looking up. Have the players restricted to their own buses and have them in uniforms. That way, fans won’t be asking each other who is who. Make at least 700 media credentials avail, with all requesting outlets getting at least one and increase the media riser size. This affords more coverage, more publicity and gets more angles of the teams history covered.
Each fan in the crowd has a story to tell. Some are simple and boring. Others are captivating. Many people watching this parade are Philly fans that moved out of the region. They flew back into town specifically for this parade.
The police did a very good job with the crowd not chasing after the parade. Instead, as the parade left their area, the majority of them simply left. Others stuck around and partied .Lines to get home using the trains were long.SEPTA and individual townships in the suburbs deserve accolades for dealing with so many people.