WILKES-BARRE — Philadelphia Eagles fans who flocked to local bars on Sunday night to see their team secure a spot in Super Bowl LII were not disappointed.
The Eagles defeated the Minnesota Vikings, 38-7, in the NFC Championship Game in Philadelphia to advance to the Super in two weeks in Minnesota. They will face the New England Patriots, 24-20 winners over the Jacksonville Jaguars earlier in the day.
Dukey’s on North Pennsylvania Avenue was filled with football enthusiasts, with Eagles fans front and center.
Eagle fan Joe Bevevino, of Dallas, said football was a family tradition, but that he and his father cheered for different teams during the season.
“I don’t know how it happened,” he said, “But my dad’s a Steeler fan.”
He said although the team lost quarterback Carson Wentz to injury more than halfway through the season, backup QB Nick Foles successfully carried the team through the last quarter of the regular season.
“Foles will finish the job,” he said.
Across the bar, patron Joe Shumoski and bartender Colleen Gallagher said their friendship has been cemented by a love for the Eagles
“He’s here every Sunday night,” Gallagher said of Shumoski. “I pick him up and sometimes give him a ride home.”
Across town at the Riverside Café on Old River Road, Eagles fans were equally enthusiastic and confident.
Owner Bob Hogan, who happens to be a Redskin fan, said he was especially pleased to see a new addition to the bar, geared toward sports fans and complete with more than 10 new television screens, be so appreciated.
“We always get a good turnout for the Eagles,” he said. “All of South Wilkes-Barre are Eagles fans.”
Hogan’s wife, Barbara Shemanski, was watching the game from her a seat at Lincoln Financial Stadium in Philadelphia with her brother.
Shemanksi, decked in Eagles colors from head to toe, said she was a lifelong Eagles fan and couldn’t turn down the tickets.
“I haven’t gone to a game in a long time, and this season’s been so great,” she said before leaving for the game. “We had to go.”
Mark Dimirco, of Wilkes Barre, was enjoying both the games and the opportunity to spend time in front of the wide screen.
“I was 5 years old when they last won a championship,” he said. “It wasn’t the Super Bowl because it didn’t exist yet.”
Mike Gorham, whose father was a longtime, very successful football coach at Meyers, said it was great to see a Philadelphia team make it to the Super Bowl.
Hogan is looking forward to patrons filling the bar for the Super Bowl on Feb. 4, when the Eagles go up against the reigning Super Bowl champions.
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