She’s been calling it for months. Now, it’s on the verge of actually happening.
South Carolina women’s basketball coach and rabid Philadelphia Eagles fan Dawn Staley has been on the record as saying its her hometown team’s year since November. And that was before Philly lost its starting quarterback and MVP candidate Carson Wentz to a torn ACL.
So when the Eagles actually did beat the Minnesota Vikings this past Sunday to advance to the Super Bowl, well, that was just how things were supposed to be.
“Oh my goodness. Oh my goodness,” Staley said Tuesday on her “Carolina Calls” radio show when someone brought up the Eagles. “We could probably do the whole show on the Philadelphia Eagles and us going to the Super Bowl. But I think it’s destiny. I said this very early on in the season and look where we find ourselves.”
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Unfortunately for Staley, she won’t be able to attend the game in Minneapolis on Feb. 4 — her Gamecocks will be preparing to face No. 2 Mississippi State the next day. But she told reporters Wednesday that she and the rest of the team will be up watching the game in their hotel.
Staley also said she saw things coming full circle for herself and her two sports teams as USC faces the same team it beat in the national championship last year for its first ever title in the same week that Philadelphia goes for its first ever Super Bowl.
“I said we were destined to win, very early on. And I didn’t know we were going to sustain as much injuries. But it’s a Philly thing,” Staley said. “We won last year, it’s only fitting that the Eagles win this year.”
Besides being from Philadelphia, Staley actually has another reason to cheer for the Eagles: wide receiver Alshon Jeffery.
Jeffery, one of the greatest Gamecocks in history, and Staley have been friendly since at least 2015, when Jeffery hosted a Final Four pregame party for South Carolina women’s basketball in Tampa, Florida.
Back then, Jeffery was a member of the Chicago Bears. But this past offseason he signed with the Eagles, and before he even took the field, he and Staley shared their passion for their team, as he presented her with a custom Eagles’ jersey with her name on the back to congratulate her on her national championship.
It’s a jersey Staley still wears on Sundays, in addition to the No. 17 jersey that Jeffery wears.
“I’ll wear my jersey proudly,” for the Super Bowl, Staley said. “Alshon actually gave me a jersey before he had even gotten a jersey, so you know, he has a special place in my heart for that.”
That being said, Staley passed up the opportunity to talk trash about Philly’s Super Bowl opponent, the New England Patriots, because another former Gamecock, cornerback Stephon Gilmore, plays for them.
“I’m gonna cheer for Stephon ... but that’s as far as it goes,” Staley joked.
Greg Hadley: @GregHadley9