The Valley’s Super Fans: Eagles or Patriots?

BROWNSVILLE — Even in deepest Cowboys country, Patriots and Eagles dwell.

Joe Kenney, a lifelong Philadelphia Eagles fan, hosts a Super Bowl bash every year at Cobbleheads Bar & Grill, the Brownsville establishment he opened in 1996, though this year it’s really a big deal, with the Eagles making it to the Super Bowl for the first time since 2004.

“We always have a party, but it’s a real extra special one this time, when my home team’s in it,” he said.

“It’s few and far between.”

During the Eagles’ last Super Bowl appearance, they were up against the New England Patriots, just like this time.

The Patriots won by three points in 2004.

“In the last drive they threw an interception,” Kenney said. “They were close to winning but it didn’t happen. We don’t have a ring. We just need one.”

Kenney was surprised to learn, when his team went to the Super Bowl in 2004, that there are quite a few other Eagles fans in the Rio Grande Valley.

“Once the Eagles got into the Super Bowl my phone lit up — people I don’t even know,” he said.

These people aren’t all Philly natives by any means. Most are just Valley residents who somehow or other turned into Eagles fans, Kenney said.

“When they had their good years with (head coach) Andy Reid and all, that was a great football team,” he said. “They always got to the championship but never got over the hump to the Super Bowl, except that one time in 2004.”

The Eagles’ only other trip to the Super Bowl was in 1980 with legendary head coach Dick Vermeil. They got there by defeating the Dallas Cowboys in a National Football Conference Championship Game, though the Eagles ultimately lost 27-10 to the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XV.

Kenney is expecting a big turnout today and said he’s got plenty of extra Eagles jerseys to hand out.

“I’ve got over 30 jerseys that I’ve saved over the years,” he said. “I’ve even got a Koy Detmer jersey. I’ve got his quarterback jersey. That’s how far back I go.”

Detmer was a quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1997 to 2006. He also played for Mission High School, leading the Mission Eagles to the 5A playoffs in 1990 and 1991.

The menu for Sunday’s party is standard South Philly buffet: Italian hoagies, meatball subs, sausage and peppers, shrimp and pasta salad, and quarter-pound “Philly Phranks.” Philly cheesesteaks are a given.

“Then we got Eagles and Patriots cupcakes with the Super Bowl rings in them,” he said.

That’s right, even Patriots fans are welcome today.

“We’ll let a few in,” Kenney quipped.

He said his wife and daughter are also Eagles fans, though Kenney’s son roots for “America’s Team.”

“My son’s a Cowboys fan, but he said for (Sunday) he will wear a jersey for his pop, but he hates the Eagles like all Cowboy fans do,” he said.

Kenney has an inflatable Eagles player that will go up for Sunday’s party, though not sooner, since he’s worried about the potential for vandalism at the hands of an overzealous Cowboys fan.

“This is Cowboy country for sure,” Kenney said. “All my best friends are vicious Cowboy fans. We’ve had quite a few fun back-and forths over the years when football season comes.”

Aside from the cupcakes, Cobbleheads will be heavily Eagles-centric today. Kenney said he’s rigging the sound system to play “Fly, Eagles, Fly,” the team’s fight song, each time they score.

“Nobody’s got a fight song like the Eagles,” he said.