From Andy Reid to Al Gore, ArenaBowl champion Soul fielding congratulations
The flood of congratulatory messages the last few days has taken the Soul's brain trust by surprise. Andy Reid and Joe Banner were among those who reached out to team president Ron Jaworski. Many in the AFL coaching fraternity gave coach Bret Munsey a high-tech pat on the back.
The flood of congratulatory messages the last few days has taken the Soul's brain trust by surprise.
Andy Reid and Joe Banner were among those who reached out to team president Ron Jaworski. Many in the AFL coaching fraternity gave coach Bret Munsey a high-tech pat on the back.
Even Al Gore checked in.
Soul co-owner Jon Bon Jovi shrugged off the cynics who suggest that Sunday's ArenaBowl championship was a minor league title. He understands there are four major sports in this town, but that doesn't diminish the strides his organization has made since it was born in the summer of 2003.
"When we brought the organization to Philadelphia and we did research with [then-television partner] NBC polling people of the Philadelphia area, the awareness factor of Arena football was about 1.5 percent," said Bon Jovi. "Today, I don't think there's a sports fan in Philadelphia that hasn't at least heard of the Philadelphia Soul.
"I know that the players are happy. I know that our fans are happy. I know that the recipients of our philanthropy are happy."
Munsey said he hoped the Soul's first championship begins to take away the ugly, dark cloud that has hovered over Philadelphia since the 76ers claimed that last major title in 1983.
"If this victory can clear the way and get rid of the curse that they've had here for a number of years, I hope it does," Munsey said. "I hope the Eagles now can win it. The Sixers, Mo Cheeks and those guys can win it."
Bon Jovi said he had no idea what kind of turnout to expect from tomorrow's Center City celebration, but the support he has received since the Soul won the title already has opened his eyes.
"It's amazing how many people have texted, or e-mailed or called," he said. "Coach [Tom] Coughlin from the Giants, Andy Reid, Bill Belichick, Bob Kraft, [Doug] Flutie, [John] Elway, Al Gore. You'd be surprised at the people who were glued to their TV Sunday. Charlie Weis.
"So many people that we've run into over the years that just had the best of wishes for what we just accomplished. It was pretty cool."
Players, coaches and executives will gather for a celebratory procession up Market Street tomorrow at 3 p.m. (Note, this is a change from an earlier start time of 4 p.m.)
The gathering will begin at 6th Street and end with a rally at City Hall. Jon Bon Jovi will not perform at the rally, but will address the fans. He said after Sunday's game that the concert he promised if the Soul won the championship would be held before next season's opener. *