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Spadaro: Eagles are the pride of Philadelphia and the U.S.

Can the Eagles be America’s Team?

By Dave Spadaro

We’ve heard it a million times. The Dallas Cowboys are “America’s Team.” For some time, maybe, it was true. Dallas was a winning team, a Super Bowl-winning franchise and in the 1978 Dallas highlight film, narrator John Facenda dubbed the Cowboys as such: “They appear on television so often that their faces are as familiar to the public as presidents and movie stars. They are the Dallas Cowboys, America’s Team.”

Times have changed.

The Eagles are the Super Bowl champions and they’re all over national television in 2018. With young stars (quarterback Carson Wentz) and older standouts (Fletcher Cox, Malcolm Jenkins, etc), the Eagles are as recognizable as any team in the NFL. The head coach, Doug Pederson, is an “everyman” with the guts to call the “Philly Special” on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line in the Super Bowl.

The Eagles are the underdogs. They captured the Lombardi Trophy after a 57-year wait for a championship.

Doesn’t America love that kind of story?

And so that leads to this question: Can the Eagles be America’s Team?

“We just want to be Philly’s team,” tight end Zach Ertz said, laughing. “Eagles fans are the ones we care about.”

Understood. But in these heady June days when anything in the NFL is possible, why not shoot for something a bit more, uh, prominent? Isn’t every NFL fan going to follow Wentz’s plight as he recovers from his knee injury? Wentz, already a star-in the-making in the court of public love after his widely shown ESPN video piece “Dutch Destroyer” aired, depicting the relationship he made with a young boy suffering from terminal cancer, is a humble, God-loving man who is a role model in every sense of the word. The team has a unique blend of personalities and inspiring stories to which every person can relate.

How about making the Eagles fans part of the “America’s Team” theme? Has any group of fans suffered more than Eagles fans? All of those years of losing, followed by Dick Vermeil’s close-but-no-Trophy trip in 1980 and then the Andy Reid years of teasing in the 2000s when the Eagles reached the NFC Championship Game five times — including four seasons in a row — and played in Super Bowl XXXIX and never brought home the hardware? America can relate to that, right?

Ah, it’s just silly dreaming. At the end of the day, Eagles center Jason Kelce got it right when he made his speech at the steps of the Philadelphia Museum Of Art during the Parade of Champions four days after the Super Bowl victory. “Nobody likes us, everybody hates us and WE DON’T CARE,” Kelce said.

He’s right. We don’t care. If you can’t like the Eagles and what this team is all about and have a soft spot in your heart for a team that overcame all the odds last season, well, that’s on you. The Eagles are the Super Bowl champions, they’ve loaded up for another run in 2018 and the whole country is going to watch them.

WE ALL WE GOT. WE ALL WE NEED. As long as the Eagles are Philadelphia’s team, that’s really all that matters at the end of the day. ••


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