The last time the Philadelphia Eagles made it to the NFC title game was in the 2017 season, and in that game, the Eagles routed the Minnesota Vikings 38-7 at Lincoln Financial Field to go to the Super Bowl.
Ultimately, Philadelphia would win the first Super Bowl in franchise history two weeks later against the Patriots.
Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon was there when the Eagles faced the Vikings in the NFC title game. At the time, he was Minnesota’s assistant defensive backs coach. On Wednesday, Gannon recalled the energy in the building that day.
“In warmups, a guy that I was coaching, he looked at me with a look in his eye like, whoa. [Minnesota Vikings S] Harrison Smith. I said, whoa, back,” Gannon said. “You could feel the energy, and it’s awesome. This is one of the best atmospheres that you’re going to get in the National Football League, and obviously, being the championship game, it’ll be heightened.
“Yeah, I thought the energy in the building was just phenomenal. Before kickoff, as the game got going, and it’s a tough place to play, and it’s a big advantage for us.”
Playing the Vikings in Minnesota is always challenging, and they have a great fan base. However, according to Gannon, Philly is more electric.
“You know, you kind of think that’s an external factor that you kind of block out, but in ’16 and ’17 in Minnesota when that new facility got built, that new stadium got built, that was a really good atmosphere, too,” he said. “That was the Minnesota miracle, that game, to come here(Philadelphia) to play, and I was like, wow, I don’t know if there will ever be a stadium more electric than that that I’ve been a part of after [former Minnesota Vikings WR Stefon] Diggs has a walk-off. When we were here in warmups, that’s what it was. When we were here in warmups, it was like, whoa, this is as electric — it’s more electric than that place was.
“I always joke about it with Mr. Lurie [Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Lurie] and [Executive Vice President/General Manager] Howie [Roseman]; I’ve always wanted to be a part of a Philly team to play in playoff games at that stadium because that’s how it stood out in my mind.”
San Francisco 49ers rookie quarterback Brock Purdy will experience this environment on Sunday. Will he be ready? We’ll find out soon enough.