I've had season tickets since they moved into the Linc. Initially we had only two seats we split with my wife's sister and her husband. At the beginning of every season, we'd do a "ticket draft" and split up the games alternating who picked first. If the Eagles made the playoffs, we'd do a "playoff ticket draft" with all potential games on the table even if they got knocked out. We did not have the tickets yet for the 2002 game vs STL. I don't remember how things got decided in 2003 and 2004 but I (fortunately?) did not have the NFC Championship those years for the losses to TB & CAR.
I did, however, have the tickets for 2005 vs ATL and future Eagles QB, Mike Vick. Since we were at our 4th straight NFC Championship, it was not a surprise, but the thing I remember most about the win and the celebration was the overwhelming relief of finally getting over the hump and being so happy for Dawk and the rest of the team that were finally going to the Superbowl, great experience.
The 2018 NFCC vs MIN was a little different. Philly had finally ended the championship drought in 2008 but it had been 10 years and we were now dogs after losing our starting QB and relying on Nick Foles and barely squeaking by ATL because they couldn't score at the goal line. MIN was coming off that miracle against NO and some were saying were a team of destiny. That game started out pretty rough. MIN goes right down the field in 9 plays and scores a TD. Eagles first drive they go 4 and out. Sphincters start clinching. MIN starts marching and gets another first and then it happens, the most electric play I've even witnessed live at the Linc, Patrick Robinson picks off Case Keenum and the place goes nuts, but that's not all. Robinson takes the ball the other way and the crowd noise continued to build and build until TD! If the Linc had a roof it would have blown off, still get a few goosebumps thinking about it. The rest is history but that was definitely my favorite moment at the Linc (and I was there for the 4th and 26 game) and probably my favorite game. It helps that the "Foles" chant to reply to and mock the "Skol" chant happened at that game too.
Yesterday felt a bit different than those. Maybe because it wasn't my first rodeo, maybe it was because we were favored in the game and playing a rookie QB, maybe because it was a bit of an odd game with a great start but brutally slow-moving 2nd Q up until the 2nd and 3rd TDs, maybe it was because it was just about decided by halftime. It was still an awesome experience being there with ~68,000 of my fellow Eagles fans losing their minds. This time, for me, it was more about taking in the whole scene around the game and seeing the old-timers excited to go back to the SB and seeing new fans and people that weren't there before celebrating their first in-stadium SB party.
I hear folks talking about kind of the same thing on talk radio this morning. It being a different feeling when you're expected to win vs being the upstart underdogs. One of my favorite Philly runs was the 1993 Phillies, completely unexpected and maybe a Mitch Williams meatball to Joe Carter away from winning a WS. The 2008 run was awesome too especially with things like the complete absurdity of Brett Myers not only beating CC Sabathia but homering off of him too. The morning after winning the WS was the happiest I've seen people in the area in decades, random high fives with happy strangers all day, hell all week. The underdog Nick Foles run culminating in beating Tom freaking Brady in a "revenge" SB was awesome. Similar feel on the streets the next day. I don't feel like favorites in this SB but from the oddsmakers it looks like we are, slightly.
Maybe it feels different because I'm actually starting to trust the teams or trusting it can actually happen over always believing the rug is going to get yanked out from under us like 1984-2007 and 100 seasons of the big 4 not winning the big one. But I'm still really enjoying this team and this run and doing my best to make the most of it because who knows when it might happen again. Go Birds! 🦅