Walk through the parking lots before an Eagles game, and you see our community united. The fans tossing footballs and grilling chicken could be from North Philly, South Philly, South Jersey, or Bucks County; any race, any religion, any economic background - everyone looks about the same in a green wig and a LeSean McCoy jersey.
In a world determined to segment and subdivide us at every turn, football's broad appeal is a marvel. Everyone is welcome to be a fan, and we cheer for the team together. For a few hours at Lincoln Financial Field, all Philadelphians have something in common.
The thread that holds that big group together: We all want to be winners. What's the best cheer after things go right? We did it.
From the day we bought this historic franchise in 1994, we've been inspired by the pride and the passion Philadelphia brings to every Eagles game. We've tried to respond to that loyalty with winning teams on the field.
And we've also tried to take that common cause of cheering for our team and grow it into something every bit as special - cheering for each other.
That's the root of the growing field of sports philanthropy - realizing that sports teams can empower that special, passionate base of sports fans to help the community change for the better. Our city is fortunate to have all of its major sports teams embrace the challenge - the Phillies, Flyers, and Sixers aren't just good teams, they're good citizens as well.
In the Eagles' case, we've used our public platform to involve thousands of fans, partners, employees, players, and coaches over the years in causes that make a difference. For instance, our longest-running program, the Eagles Eye Mobile, offers free examinations and glasses to thousands of kids every year - and surgery and follow-up care to kids who need more.
How it works is easy to understand: We roll up to schools every week, test children's eyesight, and then provide glasses and follow-up care. Kids see better, so they learn better, so they do better - and they get an extra boost of self-esteem from seeing that players like DeSean Jackson and Brent Celek wear glasses, too.
But how it connects us is every bit as special. When Philadelphia schools had to cut back on funding for school nurses this year, our crucial first level of eyesight screeners was at risk.
Enter more than 100 amazing volunteers from Lincoln Financial Group, who trained on their lunch hours to learn how to evaluate which kids needed the exams at each school. As they spread throughout the area, those volunteers made friends, learned lessons, made a bond between one part of our community and another.
Just like at the game. Only better.
We've tried to build that same awareness around issues such as breast cancer and environmental protection. We've been humbled to watch our fans donate millions of dollars to breast-cancer care and research in our area - including a dedicated care center at Jefferson Hospital - and see them plant thousands of trees in Neshaminy State Park.
Everyone who helped in these efforts already had the Eagles in common. And now they have more in common as well.
We think that's part of our responsibility to Philadelphia, where fans have shown such amazing love for the Eagles for more than 75 years - to give back, and to keep strong the bonds that unite different people.
A week ago, an international organization, Beyond Sport, awarded us the title of sport team of the year, saying that what we do in the community, we do better than anyone else.
It's not the only championship we hope to win - but it means a lot to us, regardless.
Because it's not enough to perform on the field. We have an obligation to keep our community strong, also. And the more ways we feel connected and united across Philadelphia, the stronger we all are.
There are children reading today, women healing today, families recycling today, because that same group of fans that cheers for the guys in green also took the time to reach out and help each other.
It's something to think about the next time you walk across the parking lot, dodging the wayward passes and bopping to the boom boxes: You're among the very best fans in the entire world. It's the best cheer in the world: Together, we did it.