A Letter From Inside the Super Bowl
As many of you know, my wife, Anne Gordon, has been the Senior Vice President of the Philadelphia Eagles football team for the past six years, in charge of marketing, media, and communications.
For those of you who know Anne, and for my friends, I sincerely hope you accept my apology for the lack of word over the past week. I received so many texts and emails from friends, family, and TMC clients I’ve just been unable to keep up. Wow, the Eagles are the Super Bowl Champions!
The experience in Minnesota was amazing. It began a week before the game for Anne, who flew out with the team to prepare. Our Sales Manager here at TMC, Andrew Holland, and I flew out the Friday before the game on a team chartered plane for family and friends. The plane was packed with the families of the Eagles players, team executive spouses, and some additional Eagles staff.
Left: TMC President Phil Berman celebrates with Eagles’ offensive lineman, Halapoulivaati Vaitai and his family who all came in from Samoa.
Right: TMC Sales Manager, Andrew Holland, with Brandon Graham, Eagles defensive end and second team All-Pro, who made the strip sack of Tom Brady that turned the tide for the Eagles.
On arrival I was taken to the team hotel to stay with Anne. It was a total lock-down situation of intense security with Humvees and armed guards at hotel entrances. The entire Radisson Hotel was reserved for the team and family of players and Eagles executives – I honestly cannot imagine all of the planning and effort that went into it all.
We were fortunate that the Mall of America was connected to the hotel because it was around negative 3 degrees outside! On the first night we attended a performance by hip-hop artists, Migos and Gucci Mane, at an Eagles’ family and friends party at the Hard Rock Cafe. All of the players and coaches were in attendance, and at one point I was standing and enjoying the music next to the Eagles’ tight end, Zach Ertz and his wife Julie. Andrew was able to grab a picture with Eagles’ coach, Doug Pederson. It was such a blast.
On Saturday the players were preparing for the game and had no evening plans other than relaxing.However Anne and I were given an NFL SUV to drive with the Eagles’ game-day announcer, Merrill Reese and his wife to a party at the Contemporary Art Museum in downtown Minneapolis hosted by the Eagles’ owner, Jeffrey Lurie. It was an amazing party, ending with a private performance by Cheryl Crow that we unfortunately missed. Anne and I and Merrill wanted to get to bed early before the big day, as they were still working after all.
Then it was game day. The team hired several buses to take friends and family to a massive pre-game tailgate party at an indoor amphitheater. Andrew and I went to an area called the Depot and heard a range of performers, including Kelly Clarkson. The room had more or less several thousand people eating, drinking, and partying for four hours before the game. It was a crazy scene.
When we got to the game it was fantastic to see that the Eagles’ staff managed to get most of our friends sitting together in the same area, including our company accountant, Jack and Annette McGovern, who are lifetime Eagles fanatics. When the game began it was jitters and nerves for all of us. We were amazed to see the ensuing shootout and back and forth of the two teams fighting for the crown. It is impossible to say enough about second string quarterback, Nick Foles. He performed to an all-star level, tossing bullets left and right as the Eagles took command of the game. It was dicey at the end, but Foles confidently marched them down the field to toss a game-winning TD to Zach Ertz. It was truly an OH-MY-GOD moment when the final Brady pass fell helplessly to the ground. The Eagles conquered Goliath.
Left: Holland with the Eagles head coach, Doug Pederson on Friday night at the Hard Rock Cafe.
Right: Berman with wife, Anne Gordon, and Eagles Offensive Coordinator, Frank Reich and his wife, Linda.
After the game, we all made our way to the Eagles team party, and I must say that was the most amazing, crazy, happy party I have ever attended in my life. As it turned out, one of my Philadelphia friends was at the game and texted to see if I could get him into the party. Thinking it was unlikely, I told him probably not, but by some luck another friend had three extra party badges he couldn’t use from his younger children. By the time I got through security I noticed Zach Ertz’s parents were not being let into the party as they lacked the proper badges. I pleaded with security to let them in, but they wouldn’t budge. Their son had just scored the winning touchdown of Super Bowl 52 and they couldn’t get in to celebrate.
I called Anne, but she was tied up in a press conference back at the stadium. I now had given away two passes and only had one left to give. I needed one more. I got a call from a friend inside the party, saying that she had to go early and wanted to say goodbye, so I moved through security, was given her pass, and went back to get the Zach’s parents inside. I felt that I finally made some small contribution to this great magical weekend the Eagles had offered me!
Now it was time to party. Inside it was the most jubilant crowd of people I have ever seen – a massive open bar with everything from fantastic food to a top flight band to entertain. It was most electric when the players finally arrived and got on the stage. Everyone passed around the Lombardi trophy and was jumping, singing, and dancing.
Left: Holland and Gordon celebrate the Eagles’ victory at the Sunday night after-party.
Right: Gordon and colleges dancing up a storm at the after-party in celebration for years of hard work.
Anne arrived a bit later from work and I began to realize that for her it was a time to celebrate with all of her staff; all of the Marketing team, PR staff, and creative web and media crew she oversaw at the team. I decided it was time to become the family photographer and followed Anne around to take pictures on my iPhone of her hugging everyone, dancing, and screaming with joy. I have never seen her so happy and that, of course, filled me with joy.
We stayed at the party until 3am and took a team bus back to the hotel. Eagles’ General Manager, Howie Roseman and his wife Mindy were hanging out, celebrating and living in the moment.
I read 4 AM on my watch and, knowing I had to board a bus to the airport at 5 AM, dismissed the idea of sleeping.
When I arrived back in Philly I went home, grabbed a bite to eat, and turned on the TV to see that they were filming the arrival of the team plane with the players – and Anne, of course. There was a huge group of well-wishers cheering on their Super Bowl Champions as if the Beatles landed in the US for the first time. Wow.
After a few days of rest we had the Victory Parade throughout the city of Philadelphia, with around an attendance of 3 million people I was told.
What an experience. What a week. What a thrill. Anne is going to get her Super Bowl ring and a memory of a lifetime for both of us.
Warm wishes to all, and thank you all for your messages to us.
Phil Berman is a former Hobie Cat World Champion and the owner of The Multihull Company, a global catamaran yacht brokerage firm. He is also the owner of Balance Catamarans, a boutique brand of high-end performance voyaging catamarans. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.