By Kyler Gammon:
The Philadelphia Eagles. To people it is just simply a team in the NFL, but to my family and I, it goes way beyond just a simple NFL team.
The story starts when my Dad was about 8 or 9 years old. Growing up, he loved sports and especially football, but he didn't have a favorite NFL team. So one day, he put all of the NFL teams in a hat and drew out the Super Bowl 52 Champions, The Philadelphia Eagles. Ever since that day, it's made a huge impact on my family. Not just spiritually and emotionally, but financially with all the games and travels we've taken for this team. The reason why I love sports is simply because of Dad. I will always remember growing up and watching the birds play. This team goes way beyond a simple NFL team, it's a huge passion for myself and my Dad.
People have said to me in the past "It's just a game" or "Why do you get so tore up about the Eagles"? Quite frankly, I can't stand those statements. The one thing I love about sports is how it can connect so many people and all those people are on different paths of life, but yet whether it's on social media or personally, sports has a way of connecting strangers to great friends just by an interest in sports or your favorite team, so no it's not "just a game" it is a bond that brings people of all ages and demographics together and it's even more special when it's your own father, and for that I will always be thankful for the bond that my Dad and I share.
You're probably asking, what is the significance behind this picture? Well this picture alone has been monumental to my family and I. In 2011, my Dad had sent this picture to the Eagles twitter page, just to try and get some recognition, or maybe even a retweet. The following Sunday, he gets a tweet from the Eagles and it says "@kagammon.... what is the name that we are leaving the tix at under will call at the comcast gate, kevin gammon"? Obviously Dad was really confused reading this tweet, little did he knew that he actually entered a contest without knowing it, and actually won tickets to the following Eagles home game. We lived in Kentucky at the time and there was no way we could make it to the game on the day of. We then got into contact with Chris McPherson
who is the Senior Manager, Digital Media for the Eagles today. Ever since then he has been such an amazing family friend, not just because of the Eagles, but has been so helpful with any questions I have with me pursuing my degree in sports media and always there to chat and just talk about our personal lives. I can't say enough things about him, he an amazing guy!
As a kid you're always looking for idols and heroes that you want to replicate when you get older. For me,
that person is my Dad. I love all four of my parents deeply don't get me wrong, but ever since I was little I was watching the likes of McNabb and Dawkins to Vick and Jackson and getting a little older and remembering Foles and McCoy and finally today Hurts and Smith all with my Dad. One of my earliest memories of Eagles football I have was the NFC Championship game against the Cardinals in 2008 and I can vaguely remember Dad being crushed by the loss, not really understanding why, but to me my Dad was the guy that hung the Moon, so it had to be that devastating. I can even remember wanting to learn about the history of the Eagles and trying to impress Dad so badly, one weekend I pulled a little Eagles
marathon watching "Philadelphia Eagles: The Complete History". All in one weekend, and to this day I still remember all the early history of the Philadelphia Eagles because of that DVD, needless to say Dad was
incredibly impressed given I was about 9 or 10 years old at the time.
"The Philadelphia Eagles Are Super Bowl Champions"
Growing up, the Eagles had never won a Super Bowl Championship, the most covenant prize in all of football. The last time the Eagles had won a championship was in 1960, the Eagles had been to two Super Bowls, one in 1980 with Dick Vermeil and another in 2005 with Andy Reid, both of those games the Eagles came up a bit short. Year after year, season after season, for my Dad and I it was heartbreak or disappointment. We had always asked the question of "Why can't we just win one?" "Are we ever going to experience this moment together in case one of us passes away"? Looking ahead into the 2017 NFL season we had hopes for the Birds, but I can promise you we never in our wildest dreams expected the outcome of that season.
In that 2017 season, Eagles fans, including myself and Dad had every emotion you can think of. Happiness, joy, excitement, frustration, sadness, confusion and everything in between. Eventually the Eagles dominated their way to the 2018 NFC Championship game, I was at my Mom's house that night so Dad and I texted each other all day anticipating the game coming up. Needless to say, the Eagles flat out dominated the Vikings 38-7. Joy had reached our family knowing that the Eagles are back in the Super Bowl, I remember calling Dad right after the game ended and saying "Dad we're going to the Super Bowl!"
Fast forward to Super Bowl 52. The Philadelphia Eagles against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. Our emotions during this game were through the roof and we were unbelievably nervous. All leading up to the 4th quarter where Brandon Graham stripped Brady and Derek Barnett recovered the football to really give the Eagles a big advantage. And finally, at the end of the game, Brady throws up a Hail Mary to the end zone and it is..... INCOMPLETE. The game is over, the Eagles finally did it. Finally they are Super Bowl Champions. As soon as the clocked reached zero, I ran over to my Dad and we hugged and cried saying "I love you". That's all we could do. All the years of heartbreak and disappointment and asking is this going to be our year? Finally, as Merrill Reese said "The Philadelphia Eagles are Super Bowl Champions, Eagles fans everywhere, this is for you! Let the celebration BEGIN"! I will never in a million years forget that moment with my hero. That moment for me will easily be a top five moment in my life. I'm so grateful and blessed to have experienced the moment with Dad, I can hardly describe the feeling in all seriousness, it meant that much to our family and I.
I cherish this bond with my Dad, because I recognize that not a lot of people are fortunate to experience a special type of bond with a family member or with someone else in general. The Philadelphia Eagles have and always will be in our lives until the end of time. Again, I'm just so incredibly thankful and truly blessed with my relationship with all my parents, but especially the man who only missed two games ever in all the years I played football, the man who has pushed me since the beginning, the man who loves Jesus and his family more than anything in the world, the man who is the best storyteller, the man who is there to give me the best advice possible, and the man who I will sit down and watch the Eagles play every year. That man is my father, and he is my hero. Fly Eagles Fly, and Go Birds! E-A-G-L-E-S EAGLES!