There are a lot of huge Eagles fans in the area.
None are bigger than Tony Leneghan.
The Father Judge High School football coach was selected as Eagles Fan of the Year because of his love and devotion to the franchise. But it’s more than that.
Leneghan, who was nominated for the honor by his daughter Bridget, has always been a huge football fan, and it’s something the longtime season ticket holder has shared with his family and friends.
“I nominated my dad as Eagles Fan of the Year because of his love for the Eagles and the game of football and how that has positively impacted our family and our community of Eagles fans,” said Bridget, who was a star cheerleader at St. Hubert before graduating in 2019. “My dad made me the Eagles fan I am today, and you can ask anyone who knows me best that the Eagles are my favorite sports team all around. My dad has made me a sports fan in general, I love all sports, especially Philly sports, but the Eagles are very near and dear to my heart.
“Since the time I could form memories, I have been in Eagles gear, Eagles onesies, cheerleader uniforms, snow suits, etc., and attending Eagles games.”
Obviously winning fan of the year of your favorite sports team is a massive honor. He was told that he won at a Father Judge football practice. The event included a visit from Swoop. He joined Leneghan’s family and friends, and of course the entire Crusaders football team that he spends plenty of time with to prepare them for battle against the best teams in the Catholic League.
But what made the honor more special is what his friends and family said about him.
Sure, his devotion to the Eagles plays a huge part in him earning the honor, but it’s how he treats others that made him a winner.
It’s about being loud, boisterous and singing “Fly Eagles Fly” when the Birds are playing, but that alone isn’t going to get you this honor.
“He lives and breathes football, and the Philadelphia Eagles are a massive part of that. He has loved football and the Eagles since he was a very young child,” his wife Patricia said. “He is a sports guy through and through, but his favorite is football without a doubt. He spends his free time when he is not watching the Eagles helping as an assistant coach on the football team at Father Judge High School.”
“My dad has been the most influential person in my life,” said his son Anthony, who played football for St. Joe’s Prep. “His love for the game of football was evident to me at a young age, whether it was him up late watching film of his upcoming opponents and the Eagles’ upcoming opponents, while he was coaching or taking me, my siblings or any other lucky person to an Eagles game.
“From a young age going to Eagles games with him he really started to teach me a lot about some of the ins and outs of the game, whether it was personnel, run schemes, defensive fronts, whatever it was he was always talking football to me.”
He did the same for his son Brendan.
“There is a lot I can say in regard to my dad being the biggest Eagles fan,” said Brendan, also a St. Joe’s Prep grad and former football player. “Whether it is him bringing me to games in the pouring rain, burning heat or even the biggest snowstorm game in the Linc, these are the many reasons why I think he is the biggest Eagles fan.
“Only one time he let us leave the game early because of the weather and my complaining, other than that, my dad taught me to stick it out because those games would be the games I remember for my lifetime, and he is not wrong about that.”
Luckily, dad forgave his son for missing the end of that game because family always trumps football.
“He comes home from coaching and all he talks about is football,” said his youngest daughter Jenifer, a cheerleader at St. Hubert. “I always love going to the Eagles games with him. When I can he always gets me Chickie’s fries and my hot dog before we even sit down so he won’t have to get up again.
“I could come home from my own practice late at night and I get stuck on the couch talking to my dad about his practice, the way the Eagles played and what plays he loves. Football is what makes him happy. Anytime he talks about it his face lights up and it couldn’t make me happier.”
Football is his true love. Other than of course his family.
And just because he’s the biggest Eagles fan, doesn’t mean anything is more important than family, and that’s why this honor was so special.
Winning was nice. Being picked by his family was the real honor.
“I think this means a lot because of our history of sports in the family, but also the contributions that we make towards the football community,” Bridget said. “We had a lot of successes in sports in Northeast Philadelphia in the past and used our talents to contribute back to these sporting communities by coaching and contributing to fundraisers.
“My dad has a strong history at Father Judge High School as a player and as a defensive coach.”
Leneghan is now battling it out with winners of NFL teams for fan of the year. To vote, visit https://www.nfl.com/honors/fan-of-the-year/2023/vote?fbclid=IwAR2GfCgfLiK2ElNgWGJg-UPlBAMMle8BpDBv-9_IPAzcWcFZ75rmRoEwwbo.