The Philadelphia Eagles winning the Super Bowl was especially exciting for Clarks Summit resident Phil DeSarno who was in the parking lot at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis with his friend Tom Snyder when the game ended.
DeSarno was thrilled to be there to honor the memory of his late father Pat DeSarno, who passed away two days after the Eagles lost to the New Orleans Saints during a playoff game on Jan. 4, 2014.
“After the loss, I called my parents’ house to talk to my father about the game but, as usual after every loss, he didn’t want to talk,” said Phil. “When he finally did come to the phone, his last words were, ‘All I ever wanted to do was live to see the Eagles win a Super Bowl.’ That was the last conversation I had with my father.”
Pat DeSarno had been an Eagles fan since he was a kid in the 1940s.
“My father loved the blue collar work ethic and toughness that Philadelphia sports represented, “said Phil. “He also loved the ‘underdog’ mentality.”
When Phil knew the Eagles were going to the Super Bowl, he saw an opportunity to honor his father by being in the same city as the big game.
“When the Eagles won the NFC championship game, words could not describe how happy I truly was,” he said “I was actually full of emotions because I, with my father, was there to see them back to the Super Bowl.”
DeSarno and Snyder flew to Minneapolis on Feb. 3, the eve of the Super Bowl. After they landed, they went straight to the Mall of America. Inside the mall, they took photos with an Eagles #18 jersey that was on display. After they had lunch, they took an Uber over to the U.S. Bank Stadium.
“We hung out there, and tried getting tickets to the game, but they would not drop below $3,000,” DeSarno said.
The two ended up at a bar two blocks from the stadium where they watched the game, then celebrated outside of the stadium with fellow Eagle fans when the game ended. There were no tailgating parties in the parking lot because it was so cold. The weather was -5 degrees with a wind-chill factor of -10.
“My friend Tom is also a huge Eagles fan,” DeSarno. “He and I have gone to at least one Philadelphia Eagles game with a group of our friends for the past 13 years.”
DeSarno is an eighth-grade learning support teacher at Abington Heights Middle School. He also coaches boys seventh and eighth grade junior high basketball teams.
“My classroom students and basketball players were both excited and happy for me,” he said. “They know how much I love the Eagles and they know how much a Super Bowl victory would mean to me.”
DeSarno has pictures of former and Eagles current players, as well as plaques dedicated to his favorite Eagles, such as Brian Dawkins, Randell Cunningham, Brian Westbrook and Reggie White. He also has a helmet signed by LeSean McCoy.His favorite two items are pictures of him and his wife with McCoy and Westbrook. He also has a signed Dr. Julius Erving warm-up shirt from the 1980s given to him by his close friend Lisa Imbriaco, complementing his love for Philadelphia sports.
“I have been an Eagles fan for as long as I can remember,” he said. “My father loved Philadelphia sports his whole life and raised me to love them, as well. Trust me, at times, it’s really hard to always root for teams that aren’t very good, but when they are, there’s something special about Philadelphia sports teams and the city of Philadelphia. The thing I love most about this year’s team is how they are a complete team. It is apparent that this year’s players truly like each other and have bought into the ‘team first’ concept.”