Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf sat in the upper level of U.S. Bank Stadium and witnessed the Eagles' first-ever Super Bowl triumph on February 4 over the New England Patriots. He saw the emotion pour out of fans who waited a lifetime to see their team capture the elusive Lombardi Trophy.
Two days later, he presented the state's budget in Harrisburg. Beaming with pride from what the Eagles accomplished, he opened the speech by pulling out an Eagles hat and putting it on much to the delight of the lawmakers in attendance who gave a standing ovation, some even waving midnight green rally towels in approval.
"It was fun to put that hat on," Wolf recalled.
Eagles President Don Smolenski thanked Gov. Wolf for the Commonwealth's support on Friday by presenting him with a Super Bowl commemorative gift. Enclosed in a picture frame was the image of quarterback Nick Foles hauling in the touchdown on the play that will forever be known as the Philly Special. Below that iconic snapshot was a deconstructed Super Bowl ring, that had "Commonwealth of Pennsylvania" on the side where the player's name goes. Gov. Wolf smiled as he held the frame and looked over to a member of his security detail, a New England Patriots fan, and pointed out the Patriots players who watched in disbelief as Foles strolled through the end zone.
It's not only the Commonwealth that Smolenski and the Eagles have honored for being a part of the Super Bowl in recent weeks. In August, Smolenski bestowed the custom gift to Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney (shown below) as well as the Sports Complex Special Services District. Smolenski recalls how legislators from the local and state levels worked with the Eagles 20 years ago to turn Lincoln Financial Field from sketched artwork, designs, and blueprints into a reality.
"It was a billion-dollar project at the time. You needed believers. You needed the support of the city. You needed the support of the Commonwealth and the belief of all the people that we could make it happen," Smolenski said. "There was a tremendous investment in the project. The project has been an ideal model of a private-public partnership. All of the projections and all of the commitments and promises made by the various parties have been upheld and not only upheld but exceeded over the years.
"It's been a win-win-win."
The Eagles' success benefits the city and the state in ways that can't be measured adds the Governor.
"We don't take into account the bragging rights and the pride," Wolf said. "People say that I want to be in a community that knows how to win. People notice us over other cities that they might want to go to. All we need people is to kick the tires. Once they do that, they really like what they see."
The word FAMILY is inscribed on one side of the Super Bowl ring that Wolf is bringing with him back to Harrisburg for all of the constituents to see. The Eagles understand the leap of faith that the city and the state took to give the franchise a new home. That's why they are thrilled to be able to share this Super Bowl triumph with those who helped make it possible.