We are the champions, my friends.

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I started this blog on October 5, 2004, because I wanted to write about Eagles, Philly, Hoboken, and everything in between. The same time that I started my blog, I founded the Philadelphia Eagles Club of Hoboken

It has been a long journey to get from there to here. I moved up to Hoboken in spring of 1995, when a fraternity brother from Villanova, "Brian T.", told me about Hoboken. I never heard of it. He needed another roommate, and thought of me. Once I moved to Hoboken, I was always on the lookout for a place to watch Eagles football, but it was difficult, since the NFL Sunday Ticket was pretty new back then. Some bars only had cable, and not DirecTV. You actually had to find a "sports bar" that had a satellite dish, which were different than your regular bars, that only had local TV channels. 

Eventually I met friends though bars or through the early days of social media - like on hobokenchat.com - and I had about 6-10 Eagles fans that I would watch the game at The Farside on Sundays. We had our own little section of the bar, with our own TV - usually without any sound, and we could watch the Eagles. Even if the Jets and Giants weren't playing, the bartender was a surly Irish guy and he would put on music instead of putting on our game. These were 10 people in a mostly empty bar and he refused to cater to the tipping customers? That was the first step in trying to pick a new place to watch the games.

The second step was Eagles vs Panthers NFC Championship game in January 18, 2004. I was watching the game at my friends new Penthouse apartment next to the old Maxwell factory. He was hosting a party and it was about 20 people who hated/disliked the Eagles (or just Philly) and about two people rooting for Philly. 2002 and 2003 were both disappointments, but I felt that 2004 would be the year we finally made the Superbowl with Donovan McNabb and Andy Reid. The loss was crushing, and even compounded when I had to endure the taunts/jokes from people at the party. I'll be first to admit I have a thin skin. But it was literally after that party I decided that the next time i'm watching the Eagles in a Championship game, i'd rather be around fellow Eagles fans.

I basically had the idea to start "The Eagles Club" because the Steelers had their own club in Hoboken. I thought if the Steelers could get enough fans to pack a bar, so could I.  I got the word out from word-of-mouth, various websites in town, and walking around on Sundays and handing out flyers. What started from 10 people at The Farside morphed into a fully packed bar at McMahon's Ale House by the end of 2004. We were expanding at a rapid rate and I needed a larger bar.

We moved it from McMahon's to Dipper's (now Mikie Squared). I was already bartending there, and it was more centrally located. After that - the "club" took off even further. The bar changed hands and the new owners were huge Giants fans. They had zero interest in hosting the Eagles on Sunday, so I had to find a new place. Though a friend of mine, Tina G and her brother Steven, they knew about Mulligan's. The bar literally had a back room that was completely unused on Sunday football games. I approached the owner, Paul, and spoke to him, pitching my idea. I told him we wouldn't really bother the other side of the bar (ha ha ha), and that it was a win/win. He had unused space that I could fill with paying customers.

Well that was 2007 when we moved to Mulligan's and have been there ever since. 

How I feel right now is a bit odd. While I am incredibly happy, I am also a bit sad. I keep thinking of the friends and family that I would have liked to celebrate this championship with. Some have passed, like my father. Others have moved on in their lives to new jobs, families or otherwise. Some friendships have simply ended. I would have liked to celebrate in 2005, rather than 2018 and in some ways i'm jealous of the fans who are in their 20's and 30's who get to enjoy this. It's something many of us have waited for so long for. Now that it is finally here, it has just felt like its been too long. 

Also, this year has been the most fun I have had in a long time. The Eagles Club has lots of turnover - we get new faces that come and old faces that leave. Some old veterans come back to the club from time to time. I won't forget standing on top of the bar with a few of the regulars spraying champagne into the crowd, stomping on the bar and yelling until hoarse. 

Nick Foles? Very few people that saw that performance coming. I was hoping Nick could be a competent game manager, and the Eagles defense might carry the day like the Giants in 2007 or the Ravens in 2012. What I did notice earlier in the season is that the Eagles reminded me a lot of the Villanova Wildcats under Jay Wright. People talk all the time about "team", but you often get a bunch of prima donnas on football teams that ruin the chemistry - like OBJ on the Giants. Yes, OBJ is supremely talented, but the Eagles learned that mistake with T.O. in 2005. 

This team, this year was lightning in a bottle. I personally think fate and destiny just came together this year, and I have been telling people if you look over the last 2 years a lot of unpredicatable things have happened: Brexit, Cubs win a World Series 2016, Cleveland Cavaliers win an NBA championship 2016, Houston Astros win the World Series 2017, Trump wins the White House, Patriots beating Falcons by coming back 28-3 in 2017. I'm not a conspiracy theorist, it just seemed like with the way the Eagles were playing and how a lot of other teams have won in recent memory - I was thinking it felt like fate in December when the Eagles lost Carson Wentz and Nick Foles stepped in. In other years, we were doomed. I still believed that we had a chance in every game. 

I don't know what the future holds, but I have to say I can die a happy man that I was able to witness one Superbowl with the Eagles. For someone like me who has put blood, sweat and tears into this team - it feels like finishing a long marathon. Eagles fans aren't front runners. We don't expect to win every year - and you still have an extremely passionate fan base that came out in droves for the parade. I hope this is the beginning of a new dynasty. But I won't be greedy. It was just wonderful to experience this first one.

To all my friends and family, living and dead, past and present - We are winners.
 

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This page contains a single entry by Furey published on February 20, 2018 12:25 AM.

I pity the fool that doesn't take the AirTrain to JFK from Hoboken was the previous entry in this blog.

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