By Tim Kelly
Super Bowl Eve, which most years is just another night to Eagles fans, was anything but this year. Plans were being formulated for parties, trips out to local establishments, and even for the trek to Minneapolis for the fans fortunate enough to be there.
We reached out to about 10 local sports people and we heard back immediately from three of them
Bill Whiteside, of Ocean City
We reached Whiteside, quarterback, running back, and defensive back on the Notre Dame National Championship team of 1949 in Florida, where he will watch the game, and he says, an Eagles victory.
Whiteside, who correctly nailed his prediction of New England over Atlanta in last year’s game for OCNJDaily, sees a close, tense and low scoring game, with the Birds emerging victorious, 24-21 on a late field goal.
When asked if this call is based on his football expertise or his love of the Eagles, Whiteside replied, “both.”
“I think it would be great for the city, the organization, and the players and of course the fans, to finally win it, and I think they will,” Whiteside said. ‘I just think the Eagles have the better team. If they show up and play as they have in the playoffs, its going to be a good outcome.”
Kevin Smith Ocean City High School Head Football Coach
Smith, who coached the Red Raiders to a playoff berth this year, stopped short of predicting a win but said they have an excellent chance to bring home their first Lombardi Trophy.
“I think the Eagles have the better team on both sides of the ball,” he said. “The Eagles’ challenge is to believe they can do it and to overcome that New England mystique. That’s a big part of it,” Smith said.
“I know New England has a great team and they have been great for a long period of time. But if you look at both rosters from top to bottom, the eagles have the better personnel.”
Smith said he also liked the way the Eagles team has responded to the approach of second-year head coach Doug Pederson.
“He comes off as a level-headed guy and I think he is the right personality for this team.”
We’ll take that as another pick for the Eagles, coach.
Bill Kehner, Sea Isle City Running Legend
Kehner a lifelong Eagles fan and summer resident of Sea Isle, was a national class marathon runner and last August, finished his 40th consecutive Captain Bill Gallagher 10-mile island run.
The key to winning? “Running the ball,” Bill said, understandably.
“I think they will get a score off the defense, but they will grind it out with the running game on offense. Then Foles can take his shots down the field. But the run will set up the pass.”
Kehner feels tomorrow’s outcome will lift the cloud Eagle fans have been under since their last NFL championship in 1960.
They are going to do it and they are going to do it for all of the loyal fans and for all of the fans who came before us who never had the chance to see a Super Bowl win,” he said. “All of that frustration and heartbreak of years past is going to be completely wiped away.”
From Bill, Kevin and Bill’s lips to the Football Gods’ ears.