As Super Bowl LVII approaches, I find it worth mentioning that when the game begins I will be watching for and cheering on the one and only team that has not let me down over the past 26 plus years. That team is the Philadelphia Eagles.
I lived in New York from July 1985 till January 2022. On October 27, 1986 the New York Mets won the World Series against the Boston Red Sox. Now that you know where my baseball loyalties lie, you may or may not know that the Mets have not won the World Series since that day. So we can check the Mets off as a team that has come through for me.
Next, we have the Philadelphia Flyers. Having lived in Philly between the 1969 and 1976, I can confidently say that if you were a fan of Ice Hockey during the 2 straight years the Flyers won the Stanley Cup in 1974 and 1975 you are a Flyers fan for life. But with no Stanley Cup victory since, it might as well be called a life sentence.
I am a New York Knicks fan. No need to elaborate there.
I lived in London from 1976- 1980 at which time I picked Tottenham Hotspur as my team. I didn’t pick Chelsea, a team that has won the Premier League 5 times in the 21st century. I also didn’t pick Arsenal, a team that has won the league 3 times since the late 90s and is on track to win it again this year. No. The London team I chose to support is Tottenham Hotspur, arguably the most consistently mediocre team in the Premier League, and certainly less successful than the other 2 London teams I just referenced. In fact, the last time they won the championship was 1961, when I wasn’t born yet and the Premier League was yet to be formed. Thanks a lot Spurs.
And finally, as a fan of international Soccer, and the son of Dutch parents, I have had the pleasure of cheering on The Netherlands men soccer team, widely referred as the best team to never win the World Cup. While their victories to get to those finals brough me some joy, ultimately, they too let me down in the game that mattered most.
So that brings me to the Philadelphia Eagles. When the Eagles beat the New England Patriots and Tom Brady 5 years ago, they became the first team since 1986 to give me a championship to celebrate. Since then, while all the other teams I root for have been back to their old tricks, the Eagles have rebuilt to the point of being considered the better of the 2 teams to play in Super Bowl LVII. Although I am perfectly aware that the Kansas City Chief and Patrick Mahomes, coached by former Eagles Head Coach Andy Reid are no joke, just getting to this point is something that brings me and many other fans of the team great joy. I expect victory tomorrow, and will not be happy if we lose, but regardless of the result, they’ve done more for me than any other team I’ve invested time in supporting.
So I finish this self-indulgent, somewhat narcissistic piece with just 3 words.
Finding myself overcome with appreciation and compelled to write something in acknowledgment of your organizations actions, I decided to go straight to the source and thank the individual I believe most responsible for very publicly showing the world the value of all lives, but in this particular case, a Jewish life.
I tend to write these letters more as a means of expressing my displeasure with the actions or words of individuals in a position of some influence. However, given the opportunity to recognize exceptional actions is something I am always extremely happy to do. With that in mind and I am sure I speak for many when I say thank you to you and your New England Patriots organization for the beautiful tribute you made tonight for Ezra Schwartz.
The words spoken by the PA announcer, remembering and honoring all the recent victims of terrorist attacks was moving and appropriate. I have no doubt that the same thing would likely have been done for any young 18 year old Patriots fan and resident of Massachusetts had they too been murdered under similar circumstance and the fact that Ezra was Jewish is not the main reason for the ceremony, but as a Jew that does not matter to me. You see Mr. Kraft, in this day and age far too many people, Jew and non-Jew alike, don’t seem to put enough value on Jewish lives and it is not so much the fact that it was done because he was Jewish that matters, it’s the fact that this tragedy wasn’t ignored even though he was Jewish, something the Jewish people see far too much of these days. For that I thank you personally.
As the camera cut to you during the ceremony I saw the genuine sadness in your face and couldn’t help but think how we need more Americans and more Jews like yourself who use their position to honor those who would otherwise be ignored. I also couldn’t help but think something that my fellow Philadelphia Eagles fans might find unacceptable but I was thinking nonetheless, and that is, Lets Go Pats.
Thank you Julian Edelman. In a society where it is not particularly fashionable for people to stand up for Israel, the New England Patriots Wide Receiver is seen in this picture showing his support for Israel. Although unlikely, perhaps this will send a message to those celebrities who have been conspicuously quiet over the past few months.
The NFL (National Football League) is not exactly an organization from which you expect or require a political voice, so for Edelman to make this statement, albeit subtly, shows true strength of character and conviction. With a last name like his, Edelman’s father is Jewish, we shouldn’t be that surprised, but in my opinion it’s still great to see. Nicknamed Minitron as a reference to his exceptional talent as a much smaller Wide Receiver than the superstar Receiver Calvin Johnson of the Detroit Lions, Edelman has become a favorite target of Quarterback Tom Brady over the past 2 years. Now he’s become one of my favorites as well. My one regret is not holding on to him when I had him on my fantasy football team. Sorry Julian. I thought I was getting good value in the trade. I clearly made a mistake.
With the world the mess that it is, it seems to be a lot easier to find a negative or sad story than it is to find a positive and uplifting one. Even if I were to focus on the positive contributions made by Israel, many people, myself included, tend to be more interested in the events of the region that focus on the fight and exposure of the enemy than the inspirational stories. It’s not a criticism, it’s human nature. However, I felt that this story, even though it has nothing to do with Israel, the Jewish people, or the fight against terrorism, is such a wonderful story, that it would be uplifting and positive. And it is a story of humanity and decency from the most unexpected of sources. The National Football League.
It begins with the NFL’s New England Patriots making a grand display of love and kindness worthy of the greatest praise. Last night the Patriots’ opponent was the Cincinnati Bengals. In a display of support that showed the world an understanding of what is truly important in life, the Patriots’ Cheerleaders each wore the jersey of Bengals player Devon Still. Still’s daughter Leah is suffering from pediatric cancer, and these cheerleaders, cheerleaders of the opposing team, wore his jersey and number to support him and his family during this incredibly difficult time. What’s even more remarkable is that in addition to this beautiful display of class from the Patriots organization, Stills’ team the Bengals, recently added him to the practice squad in order to make it possible for him to get health insurance and take care of his little girl.
In a world desperately looking for acts of kindness and reasons to be positive, we saw just that, from none other than the National Football League. It’s possible that the biggest cynic might chalk this up to good public relations, but these acts did so much to help this family that I hope we only see the positive. In the world we live in today, this goodness is a healthy break from all the bad and should be seen that way.