Our view: A reason for all of NEPA to celebrate Super Bowl

The Philadelphia Eagles’ reign as world champions ended last night with the Super Bowl.

For some in the area, the reign coming to an end came with profound sadness. For others, it was probably reason to celebrate.

But take heart Eagles fans — and really everyone living in Northeastern Pennsylvania — there is still plenty of reason to walk around with a little pride in your step after Sunday night’s big game.

Just remember, there has never been a Super Bowl played without the help of one of our very own native sons.

As highlighted in Sunday’s Times Leader by staff writer Bill O’Boyle, Edwardsville native George Toma has been getting the playing field ready for all 53 Super Bowls.

“And please tell all of the people back home that their fingerprints are on every Super Bowl field,” Toma told O’Boyle during a break from work last week.

Toma, who had served as the head groundskeeper for the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals for decades, should be an inspiration to us all.

He turned 90 on Saturday, yet he spent the last week outworking colleagues decades younger than him.

Just listen to what Pete Wozniak, working his 24th Super Bowl with Toma, had to say about the man known as the “Sod God.”

“I’ve said this many times, if I could do half of what he does, I would be thrilled,” Wozniak said. “It’s unbelievable to see his energy level and his enthusiasm. And his knowledge goes without saying.”

Wozniak is 37 years younger than Toma.

Just remember that the next time you are having a rough time getting up for work on Monday morning.

Toma learned his trade when he helped his Edwardsville neighbor, Stan Scheckler, at Artillery Park in the 1950s, according to O’Boyle’s story.

And he has never forgotten his Northeastern Pennsylvania roots.

“Every Hall of Fame I’m in and every award I’ve received has the fingerprints of every person from Wyoming Valley on it,” Toma said. “May their good fortunes be as numerous as blades of grass.”

So take heart NEPA football fans, even if your favorite team had a less than stellar year this season.

There’s always next year and Super Bowl LIV.

And rest assured when it roles around, George Toma will be sure that it has a little Northeastern Pennsylvania flavor no matter who is in the game.

— Times Leader