COLUMBUS – It brought tears to Will Sanborn’s eyes when his Philadelphia Eagles finally hoisted up that Lombardi Trophy on Sunday.
Sanborn, a Philly native, and longtime pastor in the Columbus area has seen every attempt the Eagles have made at a Super Bowl victory. He even saw the Eagles win their last NFL Championship, but that was 7 years before the Super Bowl was formed in 1967, through the NFL and AFL merger.
The Eagles would go on to make their first trip to the Superbowl in 1980, the year Sanborn moved to Columbus, and for a pastor, watching football on a Sunday is not always an easy task.
“So the Super Bowl’s on, and I had to go to church, and when I came home they were watching the game and we were on a cable TV system, and apparently a squirrel or a gofer chewed through a line, I’m serious, and so all the power went out in our neighborhood,” says Sanborn.
The Eagles would eventually lose that matchup, and their Super Bowl matchup in 2004, but just over 37 years after moving to Columbus, Sanborn got to see his team get one more shot at the top.
“As a Philadelphia fan, you’re always pessimistic, because our teams rarely win championships,” says Sunburn.
Even with a strong performance throughout the game, Sanborn says it was easy to be pessimistic until the very end.
“So it’s an 8 point lead [in the 4th Quarter] and now the Patriots have one more chance to go down there, and that’s exactly what they did last year. They scored a touchdown, got the two point conversion, took it into overtime and won. That’s what I’m thinking, uh, it’s going to happen to us too.” says Sanborn.
The Super Bowl came down to one final play, maybe the most exciting play in football, the Hail Mary.
“When they did that final play, the Hail Mary, and it fell to the ground, I was just. Actually I started crying, to be honest. After all these years, you just live and die with your team, everybody does, and as a Philly guy you don’t have much hope. To see them actually win, it was such a relief and a joy at the same time,” says Sanborn.
Sanborn and his wife Anne, a longtime worker in the local school system, are looking to move to Colorado soon, and will be saying goodbye to Columbus. The city where they raised their four children. But he says the Super Bowl moment, was only one of many great moments he’s had during his stay here.
“We’ve loved it here in Columbus, I mean were still Pennsylvanians at heart, and yet you never lose your home. So were still that but I really enjoyed it here in Columbus, it’s just a good town,” says Sanborn.
Sanborn recently retired as pastor of the Burean Church, here in Columbus, after 18 years of service, and is currently substitute teaching until they can sell their home. Will and Anne both attended Penn State University, and even though they will be moving to Colorado, the Nebraska spirit won’t be far behind, with four children who attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
“I wasn’t happy when they joined the Big 10, not at all. Because we’ve had a lot of fun with that through the years. But still as a Penn State fan here in Columbus, yeah you’re kind of an outsider, [Will chuckles] and I just as soon they never play each other,” says Sanborn.