Saturday, February 11, 2023

Still Life with Robin: Fly Eagles Fly!

by Peggy Robin

Let me start by admitting I have never in my life watched a Super Bowl game from start to finish. Most years, I've tuned in around the time of the half-time show and maybe happened to catch a bit of the game before and/or after. Or I've turned it on for a while, just to view one or two of the much-ballyhooed commercials and ended up watching some of the game-play in between. 
But this year, I'm going to put the game on TV, at least for a while, to root for the Eagles. That's what can happen to a mom who's a non-sports-fan after a daughter who has made her home in Philadelphia, has adopted all its teams, and wants all of her family to be on the same side. We do it for love. 
Once you take on a team, you quickly start finding other things to love about them. Their young quarterback, Jalen Hurts, for example. He's got a good, scrappy underdog story. Great work ethic. Also, a huge supporter of women in sports, so much so that he's surrounded himself with women professionals -- as his sports agent, his publicity team, and all the other support-staff positions. And he's known for some snappy quotes, too -- like, "Rain, sleet, or snow, the Eagles gonna go.” Doesn't hurt that he's cute, either.
Then there are those Philly fans. Some people want the Eagles to win because they're scared of how they'll tear up the town if they lose, Um, Eagles fans are so crazy, they'll tear up the town just as much if they win! City officials are already planning to grease the light poles to stop reckless fans from climbing them. But they know it's a futile effort. Those wild-in-the-streets fans won't be stopped by a little grease; it just makes them more determined. 
Another reason to root for Philly is that they've got the bounciest, catchiest fight song. It's Fly, Eagles, Fly - you can see it here: Just to see what the competition has to offer, I took a look at the Kansas City Chiefs' fight song, and was flabbergasted to see they've got a bogus "Native American" war-drum number that sounds like something you'd hear in a 1940s Hollywood Western, as the pioneers in the wagon trains are nervously preparing to fend off an attack by "savages." You could call it cultural misappropriation -- but that would be to insult the actual culture of Native Americans. Listen and judge for yourself:  
Here are three fascinating bits of  trivia about the Eagles you might not have known (all from "20 Super Facts about the Philadelphia Eagles" on Mental Floss:

  1. The team's name and logo are tributes to FDR's National Recovery Administration, whose mission was to rescue the economy from the Great Depression: "From 1924 to 1931, the Philadelphia area had an NFL team called the Frankford Yellow Jackets. After they folded, another club was established by league veteran Lud Wray and businessman Bert Bell. Their new franchise played its first game in 1933—the same year that saw Franklin Roosevelt create the National Recovery Administration. This New Deal agency enforced industry codes that were designed to set minimum wages, promote union membership, and encourage fair competition. The NRA’s emblem was a blue eagle carrying a gear and three bolts of lightning. Taking a cue from this symbol, Wray and Bell decided to name their team “The Philadelphia Eagles.”
  2. The Phillies played in the first game ever broadcast live on TV: "On October 22, 1939, the Eagles lost to the Brooklyn Football Dodgers (a club which no longer exists) by a final score of 23-14. NBC sent an eight-man crew to film the contest, which was broadcast on one of the network’s New York City affiliates. Roughly 500 New Yorkers tuned in to watch the game. Altogether, the broadcast lasted for two hours and 33 minutes. There were no commercial interruptions." Wow! I did not know that there were 500 TV sets in existence back in 1939 -- much less that football fans were tuning in!
  3. The current team logo is the only one in the NFL to show a left-facing animal. That's because the white/gray feathers coming from its neck form an E. Look at it closely:

There are 17 other marvelous bits of trivia in the Mental Floss article "20 Super Facts about the Philadelphia Eagles" - but the thing I find most endearing about the team is not something I saw on anyone's list: It's the way true Philadelphia born-and-bred citizens say the team name. They're not the "EEEEGLES." They're always the "IGGLES." That's right -- it rhymes with "giggles" and "wiggles" and "higgledy-piggles." How can you not love 'em, just for that?

Still Life with Robin is posted on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays.

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