As soon as the sun came up on Thursday morning, Eagles fans began to line the streets of Philadelphia in anticipation of the Super Bowl parade. The 4.8-mile parade would not begin until 11 a.m., but some fans had been waiting their whole lives for this moment.
The same could be said for Eagles tight end Zach Ertz, who brimmed with anticipation as he posted to social media the night before the parade. But as happy as he was to bask in the glow of a championship with a city that had long starved for one, Zach also had a promise for Philly fans, that this is the beginning of something, not the end.
“We’re world champions,” Ertz said. “And I promise this ain’t the last time we’re going to be partying on Broad Street.”
An estimated crowd of about 700,000 Eagles fans attended Thursday’s parade, which stretched from Broad Street and Pattison Avenue to City Hall and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The large crowd witnessed the first Super Bowl parade the city has ever hosted on a beautiful, chilly February day in Philly. The Eagles’ last championship came in 1960, before the Super Bowl era, so fans and players alike were thrilled to finally celebrate with the Lombardi Trophy.
Flanked by his wife Julie and several of his teammates on one of several buses, Zach was one of the stars of Philly’s parade day.
— CBS Philly (@CBSPhilly) February 8, 2018
— sarah wargny (@sarah_wargny) February 8, 2018
— Ally Ciesielski (@allyciesielski) February 8, 2018
I had to sit through a whole parade just to see my favorite @julieertz!!! Oh and also @ZERTZ_86 and the Eagles! #SuperBowlChampions #ImStillInShock #PinchMe #IsThisRealLife #SoEffinHappy #WaitedAllMyLifeForThis #WeAllWeGot #WeAllWeNeed #BirdGang pic.twitter.com/JatCRZ5ndl
— victoria ayres (@vayres1422) February 8, 2018
— knellwolf (@knellwxlf) February 8, 2018
— Katherine (@3_doghouse) February 8, 2018
my aesthetic is @ZERTZ_86 simultaneously eating a soft pretzel and fist pumping while on the eagles bus
— autumn (@autumnmccl) February 8, 2018
— Hunter Eife (@huntereife) February 8, 2018
— Sam (@Samspv1013) February 8, 2018
What a epic parade @Eagles @NFoles_9 @TorreySmithWR @TheWorldof_AJ @nelsonagholor @ZERTZ_86 @JayTrain @LG_Blount @fcoxx_91 @cj_wentz @greengoblin #JasonKelce thankyou for the most memorable parade ever. #SuperBowlChampions pic.twitter.com/IAO8zTa5j0
— BRiAN MULLEN JR (@TheViGiLanteMMA) February 8, 2018
— Patti Schoen (@patti_quinn) February 8, 2018
— Nick Varano (@N_Varano4) February 8, 2018
— eric delgado (@PillowPantzzz) February 9, 2018
— Shane Flaherty (@ShaneFlaherty6) February 9, 2018
— Luis-Manuel Morales (@machophillykidd) February 9, 2018
Thank you @philadelphiaeagles @cj_wentz @NFoles_9 @greengoblin @ZERTZ_86 @brandongraham55 @JohnTory @JOEL9ONE for bringing a Super Bowl to Philly. This was an amazing day and I love this team more than any team ever. What a group of men & champions! #flyeaglesfly #superbowlchamps pic.twitter.com/tbAvQMWDOL
— Carl Thomas Jr. (@carl_t) February 8, 2018
— Evan (@evanoriot) February 8, 2018
— Ray (@RayRay_610) February 8, 2018
— Danny Pommells (@DPommellsNBCS) February 8, 2018
— Jenn Reali (@CoachReali) February 8, 2018
— Jeff Kerr (@JeffKerr247) February 8, 2018
— Tut in ur butt (@Jay_tuthill) February 9, 2018
— Albert McLaverty (@AMcLaverty) February 9, 2018
@doeboy_99 @mariah_dineen & I are in @TheWorldof_AJ Insta story. Awesome you and @ZERTZ_86 & other players got up close and personal with the fans. Definitely worth getting there at 6:30am. See you at next years parade #FlyEaglesFly pic.twitter.com/QzrLoQvn31
— Nick Newell (@BackUpSwag73) February 9, 2018
— Brendan Keyser (@brendan_keyser) February 9, 2018
— Manda (@harley091) February 9, 2018
— Eric Giusini (@EGiusini) February 9, 2018
— BHav (@bhav1028) February 9, 2018
Awesome day. Thanks for stopping. pic.twitter.com/8FIwL0oDOP
— mr (@rueggistalking) February 9, 2018
— Lauren Masciantonio (@LaurenMasc) February 9, 2018
— Ryan Neal (@Rwilliamneal) February 9, 2018
— Edward M. Fidler (@PPDCrimeScene) February 9, 2018
— Paige Desris (@PDesris) February 9, 2018
— Loretta (@rett47) February 9, 2018
Yesterday was one of the best days days of my LIFE. Thank you @Eagles @NFoles_9 @cj_wentz @ZERTZ_86 @TorreySmithWR @greengoblin @TheWorldof_AJ @brandongraham55 @JOEL9ONE @nelsonagholor #EaglesNation #Eaglesparade #FlyEagleFly #SuperBowlLII #Weallwegotweallweneed pic.twitter.com/TI9xwOAOTi
— Victoria Kiki Aguiar (@keeksneakx3) February 9, 2018
Once the Eagles made it to the end of the parade route, several members of the organization spoke to the crowd about their thrilling Super Bowl victory over the New England Patriots and many were amazed by the turnout at the parade.
“Is this what heaven’s like?” general manager Howie Roseman said.
“I’ve never seen so many people in one spot, celebrating one thing,” Nick Foles said.
However, it was center Jason Kelce who stole the show with his passionate speech that portrayed this Eagles team as a bunch of underdogs that nobody wanted.
“No one wanted us! No one loved this team. No analyst liked this team to win the Super Bowl and nobody likes our fans,” Kelce said.
The Eagles defied expectations all season long. Through injury and adversity, whenever they were doubted, they turned to each other in the locker room and blocked out the outside noise.
The team believed in each other and pushed each other to be better every day in practice and it showed on the field.
“We wanted it more! All the players, all the coaches, front office. Jeffrey Lurie, everybody wanted it more. And that’s why we’re up here today,” Kelce said. “That’s why we’re the first team in Eagles history to hold that freaking trophy.”
Zach was set to follow Kelce’s unbelievable speech, so when he took the mic, No. 86 joked, saying, “How can I follow that?”
The Eagles will be facing a similar question next season, but Zach, his teammates, and the entire organization pledged on Thursday that their work is not done. Once they are done celebrating this championship, a monumental accomplishment in their team’s history wortyhy of a lengthy celebration, they will pick back up and fight to bring another trophy to Philly.
“We brought you guys a world championship and just like Mr. Lurie said, we are not done yet,” head coach Doug Pederson said. “We have more to go, more to prove. This is our new norm. This is our new norm, to be playing football in February.”