Fly, Dragons, Fly: Drexel University Students Chime in with Super Bowl Excitement
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The Philadelphia Eagles are headed to the Super Bowl, and an entire city is holding their breath to see if they can stay on the road to victory. The skyline is lit up green, “Go Birds” is a more common greeting than “Hello” and poles are just a few days away from being greased again. Of course, Drexel University has its own beloved winged mascot in Mario the Magnificent, but the Eagles have soared into the hearts of many Dragons.
Since the Eagles last won the Super Bowl in 2018, a whole generation of Drexel University students has come, gone and graduated, so there are some new kids on the block. But bleeding green is contagious in Philadelphia, so even new students have quickly become Eagles fans. Three Drexel students who weren’t Eagles fans before starting at the University shared their journeys as fans and what they’re thinking about ahead of the Super Bowl.
First-year Hannah Desmond moved to Philadelphia from Los Angeles in August, and though she didn’t pay much attention to sports before she moved here, her dad and brother were actually fans of the Washington Commanders, one of the Eagles’ National Football Conference (NFC) East rivals.
“My cousins live out here in Philly, so they’re big Philly fans, and whenever we would have reunions, my dad would be like, ‘Oh yeah, Washington’s got it this time,’ and my uncle would be like, ‘No, the Eagles got it,’” Desmond said. “Then I told my dad, ‘Yeah, I’m celebrating the Eagles’ win,’ and he was like, ‘Traitor!’”
Sorry to her dad, but it’s hard to live in Philadelphia and not become an Eagles fan. Desmond started paying attention to sports more when lots of members of her sorority, Delta Gamma, kept talking about the Eagles and she wanted to be able to keep up. She started watching games, mostly for the social aspect. It’s an easy thing to bond over, and she likes hanging out with people during the game.
Like many Philadelphians, she went to Broad Street after the NFC Championship win on Jan. 29 to revel in the atmosphere of the big win. People honked their horns, screamed, chanted for the Eagles and of course climbed poles. For the Super Bowl, she’ll be wherever her friends’ watch party is — and of course, be prepared to make the trek back to Broad Street.
“It’s going to be wild, but I’m really excited,” Desmond said.
Junior Andreea Buzatu just moved to the U.S.A. from her home in Romania a year ago and she’s only been in Philadelphia for about six months. She’s a football fan back home, too — but in the European sense.
“I was a little sad because you refer to football as American football, but when I came to Philly and saw how the teams are and the community along with it, I was very excited because that’s how it was back home too,” Andreea said. “We were a very close community and even if you didn’t know each other, it was a thing that bonded us. When I saw Philly and everything about the Eagles, I was very excited about it. I was like, ‘I’m going to learn about it.’”
Her roommate, already an Eagles fan, taught Andreea everything she knows about football and the Eagles and said Andreea turns into a “really Philly” fan during games. She’s loved watching this whole season.
“The whole season was a win,” Andreea said. “They played beautifully every single game.”
Of course, she went to Broad Street after the NFC Championship game and plans to do so again if the Eagles win the Super Bowl. As much as she’d love to go to the actual game, she knows it’s not possible. So, she and her roommate installed a projector between their beds and will host a watch party for the big day.
“It literally gives me a festival-like feeling,” Andreea said. “You can’t describe it if you’ve never been there. My friends back home were like, ‘Isn’t it unsafe to go there? It sounds like they’re crazy.’ I was like, ‘You don’t understand.’ It’s just a community that celebrates and they’re happy and joyful together. Everybody is so nice to each other. Everybody understands.”
Senior Parke Simms is from York County, about two hours away from Philadelphia, but it wasn’t until he came to Drexel that he started rooting for the city’s teams. Before that (and still, though the joy of the city’s sports teams sometimes takes over) he was actually a Baltimore Ravens and Orioles fan.
“The Ravens and Orioles will always be number one to me, but my five years at Drexel has led me to adopt Philadelphia’s teams as well,” Simms said. “There’s always a special feeling around the city when their teams are playing well. It’s been a great year as the Union, Phillies and now the Eagles have all made their respective championships.”
Though the San Francisco 49ers injuries at quarterback led to a less exciting game than would usually befit the NFC Championship, Simms enjoyed the rest of the season.
“This season has been great for the Eagles, and they’ve been quite dominant throughout the season,” Simms said. “I don’t think the majority of fans were expecting the team to make this large of an improvement in the second season for Jalen Hurts starting at quarterback and Nick Sirianni coaching the team.”
Simms didn’t make it down to Center City after the NFC Championship, but he’s ready for the Super Bowl. He and his roommates will be hosting a party with some friends.
“It’s always a good time, and it’ll be nice to have a stake in one of the teams this year,” Simms said. “Hopefully there will be a win to celebrate at the end of the night.”