99-year-old Eagles fan with incredible rags-to-riches story celebrates historic Super Bowl victory
Being an Englishman, there's plenty of things about the NFL that I just don't get. Firstly, why do you call a sport which you play with your hands, 'football'? C'mon, it's ridiculous. Change the name. Secondly, how on Earth do you sit through a whole game? There are way too many commercials, it gets so boring.
But aside from the NFL, I love sport. Sport has the ability to unify communities and is undoubtedly the language of the world. Whether you're into it or not, there is no denying the power of sport and this story just helps heighten those feelings.
Last night's Super Bowl was incredible for a variety of reasons. The Philadelphia Eagles won the title for the first time by beating the New England Patriots 41-33 in an incredible encounter in Minneapolis. The game saw various records tumble and the expected norms of an NFL game went out of the window. The Eagles, who were led majestically by quarterback Nick Foles, produced a brilliant offensive display to deny the Patriots a record-equalling sixth Super Bowl crown.
However, one of the more incredible stories to emerge from the occasion is the story of Phil Basser. Basser is a 99-year-old, Philadelphia native who is commonly known as Philadelphia Phil. He turns 100 in March and saw his team win their first-ever Super Bowl title last night.
Phil was made known to Eagles fans after his 18-year-old grandson Josh Potter tweeted about him in response to the news that the Minnesota Vikings had a 99-year-old fan called Millie.
After the Eagles beat the Vikings in order to advance to the Super Bowl, the Eagles ensured that Philadelphia Phil got tickets to the actual game so that he could watch his team attempt to win their first-ever Super Bowl title.
Phil has been around for longer than the Eagles have, with him being 15 years old when the team played their first game in 1933. But it's not just his age that makes Phil such an incredible human, his story is just as fascinating.
According to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, he was born to a poor Jewish family back in 1918. His mother died when he was four and his sister passed away when he was eight, meaning that Phil spent a lot of his childhood at the local Jewish Orphanage, only seeing his father on the weekends.
After serving in both World War II and the Korean War, Phil achieved success through founding his own advertising agency and has got four children, 14 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren to his name.
"One could look at my life and see the hurdles and the tragedy," he said in an interview with the Philly Voice. "These were all devastating, but I choose to wake up each and every day seeing the best that life has to offer."
Speaking about the bond between him and his grandpa, Josh Potter said:
"Win or lose, it is something that I can share with my grandpa," said Potter. "There are times that I wish that I could remain as composed and even-keeled as he does during the games, but I imagine when he was much younger he might have yelled at the TV too."
It's a lovely story and Phil can now add seeing his team win the Super Bowl as one of the best things that life has to offer.