It’s impossible to fully grasp what it means to be a true Philadelphia Eagles fan with just words. You just have to see it with your own eyes. Even the biggest Eagles fans in the world can’t put into words what their fandom means to them.
The ‘Maybe Next Year’ documentary, directed by Kyle Thrash, gives you a first hand perspective from the most magical season in Eagles history — the 2017-’18 Super Bowl season.
The film follows four Eagles fans: Shirley (AKA Eagles Shirley, a regular caller to WIP’s morning show), Bryant (Better known as EDP on YouTube), Jesse, and Barry. Four lifelong Birds fans who’ve all had their fair share of adversity throughout their lives.
Shirley, a passionate Christian and hard working woman, does what she has to do to put food on the table for her family. EDP, a man trying to work through his anger issues while just wanting to find peace and happiness in his life. Jesse, a father to a young autistic boy and a son to his father battling cancer. And Barry, a heart attack survivor who has to take medication daily to help with the pain.
The adversity these four feel throughout the film is personified by the city itself. A city that’s always been defined by its past greatness. Philadelphia used to be the capital of the United States, now it’s typically overshadowed by the city just north, New York. A city full of sports teams that used to be great — The Eagles of the 1960’s, the Broad Street Bullies of the 70’s, and the magical Dr. J 76ers.
Before 2017, and even now three years later, most fans have to cite past successes in order to stay relevant in sports conversations. “We used to be good,” “We were the best.” Statements I’ve uttered countless times throughout the past decade.
Philadelphia has been marred by adversity throughout history, but despite that, the people of the city still get up in the morning, go to work, and continue to be hopeful through the tough times. The 2017 Eagles truly exemplified what the life of a Philadelphian is like. Once the fans got their hopes up, once they started saying ‘this might be our year,’ the rug got pulled out from under them when the team’s MVP quarterback tore his ACL after clinching the NFC East title.
The infamous phrase, and the title of this film, ‘maybe next year’ was a common sentiment around the city following Carson Wentz’s injury. But, for the first time in my life, and for the first time in nearly every Eagles fans’ life, the adversity facing the team didn’t matter. They went to the Super Bowl, they defeated the most prolific dynasty in NFL history, and they did it when no one gave them a chance.
For the first time, we could triumphantly say, ‘we ARE the best.’ There was no more past tense, and there was no more ‘maybe next year.’ That team gave hope back to this city. They proved that even when the chips are down, hard work and perseverance can achieve anything.
Like the four super fans that this film follows, I was dealing with some adversity myself during that time. I was at a dead end in college, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, and I was in the midst of a gut wrenching breakup. It may sound corny, and I don’t expect non-Philadelphians to understand, but that team injected hope back into my life. If they could achieve the impossible, I can achieve the impossible.
We’ve all heard the saying ‘anything is possible.’ My parents used to tell me all the time that I could do anything I wanted in life if I worked hard enough at it. But up until February 4, 2018, I never truly believed it. That team made me believe in myself again, and watching this beautiful movie brought me right back to that moment. For the four fans that are followed throughout the movie, they felt the same way at the end of it.
The Eagles may never win another Super Bowl in my lifetime. But truthfully, it doesn’t matter. My life was changed the day the Eagles won the Super Bowl. I created this blog during that season, and here I am still writing on it three years later. And all it took was hard work. The 2017 Eagles showed me that this was possible. I’ll forever be thankful for that.
Kyle Thrash did a masterful job depicting the life of an Eagles fan and I think a documentary film like this is the only way to fully encapsulate it. Every Eagles fan should watch this film, it’s really a no-brainer. Sit down, reminisce, and maybe shed a tear or two like I did. You won’t regret it.