In a city notorious for combativeness, residents are suddenly chanting happily in the streets. Flags are flying. Neighbors who haven't spoken in a year are stopping by to catch up.
Philadelphia is a town where losing has been a bitter drink before breakfast for about as long as anyone can remember, and where a stadium full of angry fans once rained boos and snowballs even on a hapless Santa Claus. But since the hometown Eagles punched their ticket to Super Bowl LII last Sunday, it has a whole new outlook.
"It's like Christmas morning," says Tom Burgoyne, who for the last three decades has donned the hometown Phillie Phanatic costume at Phillies baseball games. "All hugs and high-fives."
>> YOUR PHOTOS: Eagles fans show off their Super Bowl excitement
In championship-soaked Boston — where eight Super Bowl appearances in 17 seasons have created an increasingly ho-hum response to postseason prowess — it can be easy to forget that such success isn't exactly normal.
In Philly, the last football championship came seven years before the first Super Bowl was played. And fans are hungry. Everywhere is Eagles green. Old men on Broad Street wear beat-up Eagles hats that look like they might've come from under a couch cushion. McGillin's Olde Ale House — "Philadelphia's Oldest Pub" — is serving Eagles-green beer from now till the Super Bowl. Cops, to everyone's amazement, don't even seem to blink at the illegal street-corner hawkers doing quick business with Eagles regalia.
"Even they're happy," says one street salesmen.
Head to the blue-collar barrooms and row-house dens of northeast Philly. No one talks of anything but the Birds. Downtown, the skyscrapers are lit with green. It's Emerald city.
All this … friendliness from fans known for over-the-top unruliness — it wasn't a week ago that a fan allegedly punched a police horse and others cursed the name of a 99-year-old female Vikings fan — seems to have taken the city by surprise.
"The vibes in the city are positive for once," says a chatty 36-year-old selling pink "Underdog" T-shirts at a stoplight who gave his name only as Nicky Boy. "All the negativity in the city, it's forgotten about for the next two weeks."
To hear some tell it, benefits of last weekend's victory stretch beyond improved moods and a citywide politeness.
"I sell cars for a living," says Charlie Mullen of Langhorne, Pa., who joined hordes of fans Wednesday afternoon at Lincoln Financial Field to stock up on Eagles merchandise. "And everyone wants to spend money now. It's great."
Even the city's homeless were reporting a renewed sense of civic spirit. True, the late-night celebration following Sunday's victory had disturbed her slumber, but it hadn't stopped 43-year-old Kristine Yawn from donning an Eagles cap she'd found in an alley, adorning her cardboard sign with "GO EAGLES," and reaping the rewards of a suddenly more generous city populace.
"See?" she said, after a passerby stopped, noticing her hat, and smiled as he slipped her a dollar.
And why not? It's been eight years since the Flyers last played for a Stanley Cup, another 10 years since Cole Hamels and the Phillies blew past the Tampa Bay Rays to win their first World Series in nearly 30 years. And the 76ers? What's it been now, almost 17 years since their last NBA Finals appearance?
Those were good times, of course.
"You had people hanging out of windows, grandmothers crying, people hoisting cases of beer up onto the float," says John Brazer, director of publicity for the Philllies, recalling the team's World Series parade back in '08. "It was like I was a soldier and we'd liberated France."
But such times are rare, at least by New England standards.
"What I would say is this," says Joe DeCamara, a sports-talk host at WIP-FM (94.1). "The dark times in Philadelphia sports — and there have been many dark times — will make the great times all the more special."
Which is not to say, of course, that there aren't those who would be opposed to a New England-like stretch of success.
"It's like if your son did well in school every year," said Joe Lenz, 64, a lifelong Eagles fan. "You'd be just as happy."
Dan Harrell knows, perhaps better than most, just how fleeting success can be. Thursday afternoon, the 74-year-old former custodian shuffled out on the green turf of the University of Pennsylvania's Franklin Field — where, as a high school senior, he'd watched the Eagles hold off the Green Bay Packers in pro football's championship game.
"This is the spot," Harrell said, stopping at a patch of turf near the 8-yard line. "This is where the Eagles won their last title."
He was 17 that day, just a kid, confident it was the first of many Eagles championships he'd witness in his lifetime.