From time to time in life, we may hear a word, phrase, or quote that speaks to us deeply. Philadelphia Eagles’ head coach Doug Pederson coined the phrase “The New Norm” shortly after the his team defeated the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII. While the front office, coaching staff, and players have no choice but to move on and prepare to defend their title, fans have spent months reveling in this new reality, a reality unlike anything we have ever felt before – The Philadelphia Eagles are Super Bowl Champions.
When I first heard Pederson address “The New Norm,” it struck me as a notoriously powerful statement, one that means winning championships is the new expectation. Recently, speaking at a press conference during offseason Organized Team Activities, safety and team captain Malcolm Jenkins expanded on exactly what the head coach meant:
“When I hear the term ‘the new norm,’ I’m not thinking about the end result, I’m not thinking about the championships and the parades and all that. I’m thinking about the work that it took to get to where we were. How we started last year in April and grinded and competed all the way throughout. So, for me, that’s kind of the new norm. That’s the standard and the base we’re trying to start from to try to defend that title.”
For the players, “the new norm” is an approach, a mindset. It’s maintaining a desire for more and approaching each meeting, film session, workout, and practice with the same intensity and “underdog” mentality that brought a championship to Philadelphia last season.
However, for the fans, “the new norm” takes on an even deeper meaning – it is a whole new life. We now carry ourselves differently, we now watch our teams differently, we have tasted what it’s like to be on the mountaintop. No more are the days of sitting around and watching cities like Boston or New York win title after title, wishing that could be us.
Philadelphia, as the fifth-largest market in the nation and arguably the most passionate fan base, has had too little to cheer for for far too long. Outside of a stretch from 1975-1983 that saw the Flyers, 76ers, and Phillies win championships, there has been little to celebrate since the pre-Super Bowl era. Yes, the Eagles had exciting stretches such as the early 90’s with Reggie White, Jerome Brown, that fearsome “Gang Green” defense, and Randall Cunningham. Yes, Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb made it to five NFC Championship Games and a Super Bowl, and we got to watch Brian Dawkins’ Hall-of-Fame career in that same time. But at the end of the day, us fans still had to deal with all the jokes and humiliation, all the mockery from other teams and cities hoisting trophies, all the ring-pop memes when comparing Super Bowl championships.
All this is no longer, there is a “new norm” in the Philadelphia. The most passionate all-around sports city has all four teams on the (rapid) rise, and the Eagles’ Super Bowl victory is only the beginning.
I believe the Eagles will win at least one more title with Carson Wentz.
I believe The Process will yield a title.
I believe the Phillies will win a World Series under Gabe Kapler.
I believe the Flyers, with a core consisting of Nolan Patrick, Ivan Provorov, and (eventually) a true goaltender, will someday bring a Stanley Cup back to Philadelphia.
The rise has been fast. The Eagles won a Super Bowl in the second year of the Doug Pederson era. The 76ers won 52 games and a playoff series only two years after going 10-72. The Phillies, in the blink of an eye, are a top team in the National League and certainly have the talent and leadership to continue to legitimately contend for the postseason.
This is the current state of Philadelphia sports. As fans we can finally walk around with our chests out, so to speak, as a city of winners with four rising sports teams (and a champion) to back us up. With all the young superstars currently blossoming on these teams, the staying power of all this winning is real.
We are truly now in a new era. As a city in which the sports are truly the heartbeat of the population, this newfound success has changed lives. Philadelphia is now a city of winners, and it just so happens that Doug Pederson, in three words, perfectly stated this change:
“The New Norm”