Jordan Spector gave Rob Schimek quite the wedding gift.
The two met in 2018 at a fund-raising event featuring Brian Dawkins and NBC Sports analyst Michael Barkann held at Schimek’s home in Bucks County. Schimek, a lifelong Eagles fan, commissioned Spector after that night to paint something to commemorate the team’s Super Bowl LII victory.
It took Spector, a 28-year-old Upper Moreland native, the better part of three years to bring their collective vision to life. And the timing proved to be fortuitous. On July 1, Schimek’s wedding day, he unveiled the painting, 38 inches high and 15 feet long. It was displayed in his living room and depicts roughly 40 Eagles players and coaches across several eras celebrating the 2017-18 championship.
Chuck Bednarik, Steve Van Buren, and other Eagles greats start the timeline-like painting on the far left, partly painted in black and white. Moving left to right, the 1980s and ‘90s era features Reggie White and Randall Cunningham, and gives way to the 2000s era, which includes Dawkins, Jeremiah Trotter, Andy Reid, and others. The piece ends on the far right with the championship generation, including Nick Foles, Jason Kelce, and Zach Ertz. Broadcaster Merrill Reese, holding up The Inquirer’s Monday print edition following Super Bowl LII, is the final piece.
In the reflection of the Lombardi Trophy that is held aloft by Foles, there is a depiction of three pivotal plays from the Eagles’ 41-33 win over the Patriots: Foles catching a touchdown pass on the “Philly Special,” Brandon Graham strip-sacking Tom Brady to seal the game, and Ertz diving for the decisive score in the fourth quarter.
Brady can also be seen in the background between Foles and Fletcher Cox, sulking on the ground.
“That was one of the last additions,” Spector said. “I thought of that toward the beginning, and as I created it I more and more thought about whether should I do it? Should I not? How could I put him in there without giving him too much spotlight, and I feel like that was a perfect spot, right behind Nick Foles.”
Spector, who started a business called Spector Sports Art, has been doing artwork focused on athletes since around 2015. He was a walk-on for Temple’s football team in 2012 but gave up the sport after suffering one too many concussions. He started his career as an artist doing work for teammates, including eventual NFL draftees Tyler Matakevich, Dion Dawkins, and Haason Reddick.
He said the most difficult part with his most recent work wasn’t the process of painting but the decisions on which players would make the final cut and how they’d be organized. In true Philly sports fashion, Spector and Schimek texted back and forth debating which players to include.
“As far as hours go, I stopped counting,” Spector said. “The longer more detailed part was figuring out who is going to be in it and where they’re going to be in the piece. The hardest part was narrowing down the list of players. Who is out, and who is in. That came down to research, research, research. Talking to other people whose opinion I value. I actually did some surveys, too. I wanted to see what fans would vote on.
“Probably the biggest challenge is how does everybody fit together. I wanted to create a scene opposed to just a collage. Collage is easier, I could just cut and paste, but I wanted it to feel like everybody is celebrating it together in a timeline-type manner. … Figuring that out, probably took longer than the actual woodwork.”
The two said the response since the unveiling has been overwhelmingly positive. Lane Johnson was the lone Eagles player to provide feedback, tweeting his approval on Twitter. Spector said Vinny Curry also reached out to give him kudos.
Still, there’s been some discussion about a few players and figures left out. The names they’ve heard the most are players Michael Vick and, Terrell Owens, and broadcaster Howard Eskin.
Schimek, 58, took the lead on picking players from previous generations but said he let Spector have the final say in many aspects in order to preserve his artistic license.
“We definitely had a common agreement on some players and some coaches that absolutely had to be in there,” Schimek said. “Then, in the end, I think it’s always best to say to the artist, ‘You use your own judgment.’ ”