MINNEAPOLIS — All these years later, the Eagles truly are the gold standard.
Jeff Lurie was right. It just took a little longer than he wanted.
In his 24th season as owner of the Eagles, Lurie finally got to hold the Lombardi Trophy high over his head Sunday night after his Eagles beat the Patriots — a team he once tried to buy — 41-33 in Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium (see breakdown).
Lurie said this championship was extra special to him because of how much this team was doubted outside Philadelphia and how much adversity it overcame, including the loss of Carson Wentz (see story).
“When I talked to the team on Friday, the first thing I said was, 'I’m so proud of the men who are part of this,'" Lurie said.
"This is the most unique and impressive groups of young men, whether it’s the players, the coaches, [the scouting] staff, just incredibly resilient.
"In life today, it’s so polarized. To have people who can actually work together and solve big issues, like how to win a world championship, it’s impressive what caring and trust and camaraderie and high energy and focus and discipline can do, and that’s what this team was all about."
The Eagles have been very competitive during most of Lurie's tenure, reaching the playoffs 13 times in the last 23 years and going 206-160-2 during those 23 seasons, the sixth-best record in the NFL during that span and second best in the NFC.
But all those seasons ended in losses.
This one will end in a parade (see Roob's observations).
“For me, when I picture moments when we were about to win a world championship, I think first of all the generations of fans," Lurie said.
"People want to be buried in Eagles paraphernalia, Eagles uniforms, Eagles flags, and [you think of] all the players who came before, you think about that. In that moment.
"The heart and tears that have gone into it for so long. I’m just so happy for our fans. I have to keep saying that.
“To be able to do that with the adversity that we had, basically doubted the whole season, yet we were the best team in football really wire to wire, it’s a credit to all these people. An incredible group of young men.”
Lurie hasn't always been treated the best by Eagles fans, who saw him in earlier years as just a rich guy from Boston who had deep pockets but didn't know how to win.
The reality is that Lurie has spent an incredible amount of money on free agents over the years, he got the Linc and NovaCare Complex built, and most importantly he saw qualities in Doug Pederson that maybe few others saw, and he built a culture in which someone like Pederson, who preaches teamwork and team-first concepts, could come in and have tremendous success.
Maybe now those fans will see Lurie for what he really is. A good man and exceptional owner, who wanted nothing more than to win a championship for his adopted hometown.
"I'm just so happy for our fans," Lurie said. "It's been something that I live every single day for. When I bought the team, all I wanted was to bring a championship to the most deserving fans in sports."