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Meek Mill's 'Dreams and Nightmares' is now officially the greatest Philly sports anthem ever

Meek Mill's 'Dreams and Nightmares' is now officially the greatest Philly sports anthem ever

A city's best sports anthems come about organically but quickly feel destined. They seem timely but not ephemeral. They feel deeply rooted in a team's geography and identity while remaining highly accessible to outsiders. They're stirring, exciting and maybe even a little bit intimidating. And when things are truly meant to be, they end up soundtracking championship celebrations. 

Before last night, Meek Mill's "Dreams and Nightmares" qualified for all but the last part of that description. And now, its resume is complete: The 2017 Philadelphia Eagles both came out at Super Bowl LII to the song's iconic beat switch, and spent the post-game locker room celebration after their 41-33 win over the New England Patriots rapping along with the entire song. And now, it almost has to be considered the greatest anthem that Philly sports has ever known. 

https://twitter.com/SInow/status/960367580555997184

Not that it doesn't have decently stiff competition. McFadden and Whitehead's disco classic "Ain't No Stoppin Us Now" soundtracked the indomitable 1980 Phillies' World Series run, breaking a title drought decades longer than even these Eagles. A decade later, Tag Team's "Whoomp! There It Is" propelled the sh*t-stirring '93 Phils to the Series with appropriate sha-ka-la-ka swagger. Fresh Aire's "Here Come the Sixers" is as deliciously funky and timestamped a '70s jam as the eventual title-contending 76ers teams of the late decade could've asked for. And of course, Bill Conti's "Gonna Fly Now" will exist throughout sports culture for as long as their late-game timeouts in high-pressure situations. 

But none of them have ever felt quite so important to Philly culture as this. It helps, of course, that Meek Mill is not only a native and proud Philadelphian, but that he's become a local cause as a result of his recent imprisonment, which ranks somewhere on the scale between "unfortunate," "wrongful" and "cartoonish." And while McFadden and Whitehead were local products who played a key part in the city's epochal '70s soul scene, Meek is the only performer of the bunch who's become downright synonymous with Philly on a national scale -- the guy filmed one of his first music videos at Lou Williams' house, damn it. 

And even more important than Meek's cultural significance to Philadelphia, the song quickly become inextricable with this Eagles team because it seemed to fit their story so well. The song's not a linear narrative by any means, but it's an obvious underdog anthem in both lyrical and musical theme, almost a before-and-after of the Eagles turning from wide-eyed aspirants into devil-eyed agents of destruction. When the bass drops and everyone shouts along to the "HOLD UP WAIT A MINUTE/ Y'ALL THOUGHT I WAS FINISHED?!?!?" section, it's pretty clear why the team written off by so many going into these playoffs adopted it as their theme song. 

Even though the song has already been a huge part of Philly and hip-hop culture for a half-decade, its association with this team permanently ensures its local immortality, even for those who don't keep Power 99 on their radio presets -- and means we'll rarely think of one without the other for some time to come. The 2017 Eagles did it without an album. The 2017 Eagles did shit with Mariah. They gon' remember the 2017 Eagles. 

Tim Jernigan rocks Tim Jernigan jersey in Tim Jernigan rap video

Tim Jernigan rocks Tim Jernigan jersey in Tim Jernigan rap video

Back in April, Eagles defensive tackle Tim Jernigan began a rap career with Good Boyz Music and now he’s back with another track and video. 

In this one, entitled “Come Thru” Jernigan is wearing his No. 93 Eagles jersey for his verse, which he drops under the name Stud Muffin (h/t PhillyVoice). At one point, Jernigan is holding a black umbrella in one hand and a wad of cash in the other. 

OK then. 

Check it out, but be warned: There’s some NSFW lyrics in there. Jernigan’s verse starts around the 38-second mark. 

As PhillyVoice pointed out, Jernigan does drop a David Akers lyric in the song — “like my name David Akers or I play rugby.” That seems to be a reference to the previous line when Jernigan mentioned kicking and punting. 

While Jernigan rocked his own jersey in the latest video, back in April, in “Hustle Harder” Jernigan was wearing an old-school Grant Hill Pistons jersey. Here’s that track: 

Believe it or not, his budding rap career wasn’t one of the topics of conversation when a few reporters caught up with Jernigan back in May.

Jernigan signed a one-year, $1.25 million deal to return to Philadelphia this past offseason. That came after what has been a wild couple years for Jernigan in Philadelphia. He was traded here, became a big part of the defense, signed a huge contract, suffered a mysterious injury and then the Eagles declined his option this offseason before he returned at an extremely discounted rate. 

The Eagles this offseason also brought in Malik Jackson, who will likely take over as the starting defensive tackle next to Fletcher Cox. That, of course, was Jernigan’s old position. 

“I don’t care,” Jernigan said in May. “I believe in me. I believe in Timmy. Straight up. I believe in Timmy. I hope nobody take that the wrong way.”

He even believes enough in Timmy to wear his jersey in his rap video. 

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Bryce Harper meets some Philly sports legends at the Sixers game

Bryce Harper meets some Philly sports legends at the Sixers game

The new big man in town, Bryce Harper, went to the Wells Fargo Center on Thursday night to take in the Sixers game against the Milwaukee Bucks. He rubbed shoulders with some of the previous biggest (little) men in town.

Harper was in attendance and rang the bell prior to tip-off — something he'll surely do many times during Phillies games across the street this summer.

When Harper made his way to his seat in a suite, he was seated alongside Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz. Rhys Hoskins was also in the suite as were all of the aforementioned players' significant others. Talk about some serious Philly sports firepower right there.

And then later in the game, the Sixers shared an image of a couple of legendary No. 3s meeting in the bowels of the Center. I'd love to hear the conversation between Allen Iverson and Harper.

Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery was also in the building, sitting a bit closer to the court. Rapper Meek Mill was also in the building and took a photo with A.I. Which got me wondering: What's the perfect storm of Philly sports stardom in a Rat Pack sort of way? Obviously you had Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid on the court last night. In terms of the Flyers, aside from Gritty, you'd have to go Claude Giroux or maybe a fun-loving guy like Scott Hartnell from years past? Recently retired players that could fit the bill from other teams would have to include Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins and maybe Pat Burrell just for fun. Is anyone in recent Eagles memory a bigger name than Brian Dawkins? He'd fill the fedora quotient. Nick Foles could be fun in a clean and wholesome sort of way.

My Philly sports Rat Pack would consist of A.I., Simmons, Embiid, Kendall Jenner, Wentz, Jason Kelce and Gritty. We got a good portion of that in the building last night.

Who is in your Philly sports Rat Pack?

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