Penn, Philly and Beyond: Celebrating the Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl LII Victory

University of Pennsylvania students, staff and faculty members took to the streets to celebrate the Philadelphia Eagles’ first Super Bowl victory after the team defeated the New England Patriots on Sunday, February 4. Some also joined in the parade celebration on Thursday, February 8. 

Penn made the decision to suspend normal University operations. All classes and University-sponsored events were cancelled as hundreds of thousands descended upon the city of Philadelphia for the Championship Parade. Only designated essential personnel were required to report to campus that day (Almanac Between Issues February 8, 2018).

In the pre-Super Bowl era, the Eagles used to play at Penn’s own Franklin Field. Before this year’s victory, the last time the team won an NFL Championship was at Franklin Field on December 26, 1960. The Eagles defeated the Green Bay Packers and famous coach Vince Lombardi, capturing the team’s third NFL title.

caption: Chuck Bednarik, Class of 1949, was considered Penn’s finest athlete. He played 12 seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles after playing at Penn.

One of the standouts of the 1960 team, Penn Alum Chuck Bednarik, known as “Concrete Charlie,” played for the Quakers from 1945 to 1948 and was a two-time all-American player at Penn before being selected first overall by the Eagles in the 1949 NFL draft. He played both center and linebacker, as he did at Penn, and was all-pro selection at both positions during his 14-year professional career. Mr. Bednarik, who also was part of the Eagles’ 1949 championship team, received his greatest acclaim for his play during the 1960 NFL Championship game, where he was on the field for nearly every play. 

caption: Chuck Bednarik, Class of 1949, next to his statue inside Gate 2 on the north side of Franklin Field in 2011 when it was unveiled.

Mr. Bednarik, who passed away March 21, 2015 (Almanac March 31, 2015), was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1967 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1969. A statue honoring his legacy was erected on the north side of Penn’s Franklin Field in 2011 (Almanac November 8, 2011).

Additionally, Quaker Quarterback Bert Bell (1914-1919) went on to become co-founder, co-owner and coach of the Eagles. He served as the NFL Commissioner from 1946-1959 and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. John Heisman, namesake of the Heisman Trophy, played for the Quakers from 1890-1891. He returned to Penn as head coach from 1920-1922.

The Philadelphia Eagles called Penn’s Franklin Field (above) home from 1958-1970.