That may not seem like something that seems worthy of a dispatch, given Philadelphia had just won its first Super Bowl in the 52-year history of the damn game. But in reality, hoisting a Lombardi doesn't automatically translate to a raucous locker room scene. At least not in the seven years I've covered this event.
Most winning locker rooms are subdued -- sometimes even mellow. I always thought the endless buildup to the game combined with the emotional release of it finally being over had a lot to do with it. The enormous sense of accomplishment takes some time to process, it seems.
When the locker room was opened to the media, Queen's 1977 classic "We Are The Champions" was blaring from a huge loud speaker. Fun, universal, certainly appropriate given the setting. But still. God rest his soul, Freddie Mercury didn't seem to move the needle.
But then someone took possession of the aux cord and clicked on "Rings" by Kap G. Guys started bouncing and nodding their heads. Bottles of champagne were passed around. The defensive backs took swigs from a bottle of premium brown stuff. "Rings" played again. Center Jason Kelce walked by and belted out the chorus, "I just want the rings!" They're coming June, large football human.
Defensive end Derek Barnett stood by his locker with a victory cigar dangling from his mouth. Owner Jeffrey Lurie was doing rounds, a big grin permanently etched on his face like Jack Nicholson's Joker. Players took turns posing with the Lombardi Trophy, smudged up by fingerprints but otherwise in pristine condition. Injured franchise quarterback Carson Wentz -- wait, they get this guy back to defend their title?!? -- seemed to be unsure how to process what had just transpired. He turned down one interview request with a, "Let me celebrate with my damn teammates!"
After the few bottles of champagne were emptied onto the ceiling, and surrounding media folk, players started spraying the room with orange Gatorade. Snacks on a folding table went airborne. Basically anything that wasn't nailed down was tossed up as an impromptu dance party broke out. Everybody was taking selfie videos. These are millennials, after all.
The celebration continued with "MotorSport" by Migos, Nicki Minaj and Cardi B before it was Doug Pederson's time to speak with the team. After the coach shared his words, it was Malcolm Jenkins' turn.
"I've been in the league for f----- nine years, I ain't never been part of nothing like this," he said. "I ain't seen nothin' like this. First time bringing this thing back to Philly! We legendary. That s--- is etched in stone."
As the players broke off, defensive tackle Fletcher Cox shared an idea that seemed to resonate with teammates.
"All bottles on Mr. Lurie!"
The party was headed elsewhere. And it wasn't ending anytime soon.