A GAME MADE FOR SUPER FANS
Eugene residents near and far took part in football festivities Sunday, when the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots squared off in Minneapolis for Super Bowl LII.
In Eugene, the Good Times Cafe and Bar on East Seventh Avenue was full of game-day fans who took advantage of unseasonably warm temperatures to cheer on their teams with friends in the outside portion of the bar.
While the unofficial high temperature in Eugene reached 61 degrees shortly before 3 p.m., the Riley family of Eugene was in sub-freezing Minneapolis to see the game from U.S. Bank Stadium.
John, Stephanie, Brayden and Mikayla Riley have more than an enthusiasm for the Eagles: They traveled to Minneapolis to cheer on Eagles running back Kenjon Barner.
A former University of Oregon football standout, Barner has been a close friend of the family since 2011, when he met John and Stephanie Riley at a Collegiate Christian Fellowship meeting — a college-age Christian group at the UO.
Barner has come to refer publicly to the Rileys as his second family, and the Rileys view him as one of their own.
The Rileys attended an Eagles private party at the Hard Rock Cafe in the Mall of America on Friday, and John Riley said Barner bought their family the tickets to the game.
“He’s such a blessing,” John Riley texted during the Super Bowl.
Riley also posted photos to his Facebook page, showing not only the beaming members of his family at events throughout the weekend, but one sitting with Barner’s family during the game.
The Super Bowl mood was far more muted back in Eugene, where crowds were slow to arrive at the more popular sports bars, which usually are packed when West Coast teams (especially the Seattle Seahawks) make it to the Super Bowl.
By 4 p.m., Good Times was full of people, however, most of them rooting enthusiastically for the Eagles.
Why not the Patriots?
“They win too much, and Tom Brady looks like an alien,” more than one viewer said.
Cheri Peterson sat among a cheering crowd of regulars at Good Times, sporting Green Bay Packers gear.
“The Packers aren’t in it, so the Eagles are my team today,” Peterson said.
Another Eagles supporter, Trisha Wickman, said she was in a Fantasy Football league and wanted the Eagles to win to secure her third-place spot.
“More importantly, Philly has the hometown connection: Chip was there, a lot of old Oregon players are there now,” she said. “And I like to root for the underdog.”
It might have been prophetic.
The Patriots fans seemed far and few between, but one table of supporters held their own, even when it looked like the Eagles were dominating the game.
Hayden Brown said he’s a Patriots fan, win or lose.
“Tom Brady is the best to ever play the game, and everybody knows it,” he said. “People are just against dignity and great success.”
Apparently, the fates were against Brady on Sunday, too.
The final score: Eagles, 41; Patriots, 33.
Follow Morgan on Twitter @morgan_theophil . Email email@example.com .