Each day when Eagles president Don Smolenski walks downstairs and into the NovaCare Complex lobby, he knows there’s an important piece of silverware sitting in the team’s trophy case.
Yet, he always checks to make sure it’s still there.
Although it’s been more than four months since the Eagles won the Super Bowl, the Lombardi Trophy is just one reminder of the team’s most significant accomplishment in franchise history.
Monday afternoon, PHL Sports honored the Eagles with yet another trophy, giving them the 2018 John Wanamaker Athletic Award to commemorate their success last season in bringing a pro football championship to the city for the first time in more than a half-century. PHL Sports is a division of the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Smolenski, along with head coach Doug Pederson, attended the luncheon at the Wanamaker Building in Center City.
The event was yet another in what Smolenski said has been a “whirlwind” tour around the city ever since the Eagles stepped off their team charter at Philadelphia International back in February.
“There have been many, many moments, and I try to absorb and appreciate every single one,” Smolenski said. “[The parade] was overwhelming. It was just a jubilation seeing millions of people smile and united in one common occasion.”
Swoop, the team’s mascot, and Eagles cheerleaders were at the doors of the Crystal Tea Room, welcoming guests as they entered the annual event. Not only was it an opportunity to celebrate the biggest moment in recent Philadelphia sports history, but also, guests received a first-hand taste of the Lombardi Trophy when it joined the party.
Next season, however, is now closer than last, and both Smolenski and the Eagles recognize that there comes a time to turn the page.
“It’s a delicate balance because you don’t want the moment and the memory of the past season to fade because you want to honor and cherish it,” he said. “You’ve had to look forward [to the offseason and next year], and you’re trying to do it with the appropriate respect for the past.”
After interacting with thousands of loyal fans, it doesn’t seem as if Smolenski will forget it anytime soon.
“For the most part, I walk around with some anonymity,” he said with a smile. “But people do recognize me, and they want to tell you their story. You listen to that story because it reinforces everything – what we do, why we do, and why it makes Philadelphia such a great city.”