State College-Based Eagles Fans Prepare To Travel To Super Bowl LII
The Philadelphia Eagles advanced to the Super Bowl for the first time since 2005 last month with a resounding victory over the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship Game.
Diehard supporters of the team instantly took to the streets of downtown State College and sung the team’s now-famous anthem through the night. A select few fans and their families made plans to take a weekend trip to Minneapolis and attend the big game — including Penn Staters.
State College is certainly not the most convenient starting point for travel, so Eagles fans are getting creative with their travel plans in order to get to Minneapolis ahead of their team’s first Super Bowl appearance since 2005.
U.S. Bank Stadium is about 976 miles — a 15 hour car ride — away from State College. Though Penn State football fans are used to long-distance away trips, the most efficient option in this case is flying from a larger airport nearby.
Junior Jake Klein is driving home to New Jersey and flying out of Newark Saturday night. He’ll touch down in Minneapolis a little before midnight, just in time to get some much-needed sleep ahead of the big game.
“It’s a once in a lifetime experience,” Klein said. “My dad texted me after the divisional round, saying, ‘If they win on Sunday, we’re going.’ They won, we got great seats, and we’re headed [to Minneapolis] on Saturday. Go Birds!”
While Klein and his dad chose to take the four-hour trip to New Jersey for the game, sophomore Jack Raynor will fly out of Philadelphia. Raynor and his family are flying into Chicago, then driving six hours to Minneapolis, which will end up being much cheaper due to increased airfare prices for those flying directly to the Land of 10,000 Lakes. The course of the next 48 hours of Raynor’s life depends on the result of the Sunday’s championship.
“We’re flying out Monday night at around 9,” he said. “If they win, the parade should be either Tuesday or Wednesday. If the parade is Wednesday, I’ll come back [to State College] by bus Wednesday night. If they lose, I’ll come back Tuesday morning.”
If there’s any sporting event worth missing class for, it’s the Super Bowl. Or the Rose Bowl. Or the Big Ten Championship. Actually, I take that back. It’s always worth it.
Like many others at Penn State, Klein and Raynor have been Eagles fans for as long as they can remember. Both have fond memories of the last time the Patriots and Eagles met in the Super Bowl in 2005, a season that was especially difficult for Klein, a second-grader stuck in the heart of Patriot Nation while growing up in Connecticut.
“Our second grade teacher put up two poster boards in the hallway that said, ‘Who do you want to win the Super Bowl?'” Klein said. “I was the only person to sign on the Eagles’ side despite all of my friends begging me to go with the Patriots.”
Raynor, who would regularly attend a few Eagles games per season before coming to Penn State, actually went to Jacksonville for Super Bowl XXXIX and has fond memories of the trip, despite an ultimate loss for the Donovan McNabb-led Eagles.
“My first Eagles memory is driving from Philly to Jacksonville for Super Bowl XXXIX against the Patriots,” he said. “We were trying to get tickets, but we couldn’t, so we just attended all the pre-game events, watched the game on a huge projector outside with approximately 10,000 other fans, and had the most depressing 16-hour car ride home the next day.”
Raynor has never attended an Eagles postseason game, so Super Bowl LII will give the sophomore his first in-person experience of playoff football. While they have no plans set in stone, he and his dad will likely soak in the sights and sounds of the Mall Of America that day.
“We’ll be [in Minneapolis] all day Monday,” he said. “If they win, maybe we’ll go live it up in the Mall of America and let all the butthurt Viking and Patriot fans wallow in sorrow.”