There was a line of antsy fans outside the Eagles Pro Shop at Lincoln Financial Field waiting to get their hands on the new Super Bowl memorabilia on Tuesday at 2 p.m. One step inside the store and it rings with crowds and the occasional “E-A-G-L-E-S, Eagles!” chant.
Believe it or not, the excitement started Monday morning where over 100 people stood outside in a line that dragged out to the parking lot waiting for the Pro Shop to officially open at 10 a.m.
It was a similar story on Tuesday.
“As soon as we opened, there’s been a line through the front of the store,” said Emily McNichol, the team’s merchandise director. “Lunchtime has definitely been the busiest time that we’ve had. Anywhere from like 11-2, it’s been kind of crazy.”
Walking around in the festivities, one can overhear the excitement surrounding Thursday’s parade, find people trying out sizes, and witness a busy but excited staff. So far, the most coveted item has been the locker room T-shirts – the ones the players wore during Sunday’s trophy ceremony – which is only available at Eagles Pro Shop locations, the Pro Shop website, and the NFL Shop. The Super Bowl knit hats, as well as the regular Super Bowl hats, are also fan favorites.
Be prepared to spend time bonding with fellow fans, however, because checkout could take you anywhere from 15-35 minutes.
“Our staff has been kind of crazy until dinnertime and then everybody gets a break. Then there’s a little rush after dinner too but nothing as crazy as during the day,” McNichol said.
The long lines that wrap around the store haven’t kept the fans from coming in. Lifelong Eagles supporter Ernie Ferretti flew in from Palm Beach County, Florida to take part in all the frenzy. Originally from South Philadelphia, Ferretti was hauling in some gear for his wife, kids, and himself. He couldn’t miss out on the opportunity to bask in Eagles glory.
“I told myself if they ever win the Super Bowl, I’d be on one of the first flights out and I’m going back home to experience it,” Ferretti said. “Football is life to the people in Philadelphia. This team is everything to us. We’ve got our families but it’s like our prized possession. That’s what being a fan is about and that’s why I flew 1,500 miles to be here.”
Recently married Nicholas and Jessica Creamer drove about nine hours from their home in Dayton, Ohio to gear up for the parade. It’ll be a quick turnaround back to Ohio afterward since Jessica has to be to work early Friday morning. Still, the couple intends to make the most of the drive.
“The feeling coming in was kind of surreal,” Nicholas said. “It’s hard to explain.”
“God forbid if for some reason we don’t see another one or we can’t get to the next one, we’re not holding back for the first parade,” Jessica said.
Even local Eagles fan Karen Grace, who normally has off on Tuesdays, drove down from the packed Eagles Pro Shop located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey to stock up on merchandise for the family.
From far and wide, fans are flocking the store in preparation for Thursday’s celebration down Broad Street and up the Parkway to the Art Museum. William James, one of the store’s security guards, was taken back by the crowds.
“It’s been pretty hectic. We’ve never seen this before ever in Eagles history,” he said. “Never have we seen this many people.”
Just wait until Thursday.