Powered by

Eagles expect home-field to help against the talented 49ers

Doug Pederson

Photo Credit by John McMullen/JAKIB Sports

ThrivePHILADELPHIA – In the aftermath of the Eagles Super Bowl LII win back in 2018, All-Pro center Jason Kelce made a guest appearance on “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” the long-running FXX sitcom that follows the exploits of “The Gang”, a group of narcissistic, dive bar owners in South Philadelphia.

Over the years sports have been a common theme in the show with Kelce’s cameo being one of the highlights when, during a dream by a delusional Charlie Kelly, Kelce confirmed that everything fans do matters when it comes to their favorite team winning or losing.

Obviously, that’s not the case in the real world (trust me, jinxes aren’t real) and the Eagles beating the San Francisco 49ers in Sunday’s NFC Championship Game is going to have absolutely nothing to do with jersey selections or obsessive-compulsive disorders.

But fans can help Sunday, especially when it comes to rattling rookie quarterback Brock Purdy.

Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon knows firsthand about coming to Philadelphia for a big game.

In the 2018 NFC title tilt Gannon was the assistant defensive backs coach with the Vikings when he and All-Pro safety Harrison Smith caught eyes during pre-game warmup.

“He looked at me with a look in his eye like, ‘whoa,’” said Gannon on Tuesday. “I said, ‘whoa,’ back. You could feel the energy, and it’s awesome. This is one of the best atmospheres that you’re going to get in the National Football League, and obviously being the championship game, it’ll be heightened.”

Back then Gannon was fresh off the Minneapolis Miracle in the divisional round when Stefon Diggs set off U.S. Bank Stadium, one of the loudest venues in the NFL.

“I was like, wow, I don’t know if there will ever be a stadium more electric than that that I’ve been a part of after Diggs has a walk-off.,” said Gannon. “When we were here in warmups [for the 2018 NFC title game] it was like, whoa, this is as electric – it’s more electric than that place was.”

The Vikings actually started off well in that game, scoring the first touchdown before a Patrick Robinson pick-six ignited the crowd and set off noise that was heard across the Delaware River in the heart of South Jersey.

It’s hard to imagine Purdy handling that kind of atmosphere seamlessly.

“I think it’s one of the best venues, actually not one of, I think it is the best venue in the NFL, coming here and playing here,” said offensive coordinator Shane Steichen. “Shoot, the first time I was here was coaching here. I never got to play here because the divisions switched over.

“I never got to come into (the Linc) until I started coaching here, but obviously the first game I coached in here was incredible, and just to see the passion, the atmosphere that these fans have for this team, it’s incredible, so I’m excited for Sunday.”

If fans really want to help, forget the superstitions but pack the vocal cords.

“I’ve always wanted to be a part of a Philly team to play in playoff games at that stadium because that’s how it stood out in my mind,” Gannon said, “but you have to lock in and do your job, but it’ll be fun.

“We’ll enjoy it.”

Join the conversation