PHILADELPHIA -- Deirdre Diener's concern was that the embryo transfer was going to be scheduled for Super Bowl Sunday.
Diener, a business executive, was going through the in vitro fertilization (IVF) process and was about to take the all-important next step last February. But she made it known that it would have to wait until after her Philadelphia Eagles squared off against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII.
“I’m like, ‘I’m not available. I’m basically playing in the game,’" said Diener, a die-hard Philly fan from a family of die-hard Philly fans. "But the next morning, I did the transfer.”
Basking in the glow of an Eagles win, she wore her Carson Wentz jersey to her appointment that Monday. Nine months later, a baby girl was born. Diener named her Kelce Alyssa after Eagles center Jason Kelce, who famously gave the "No one likes us, we don't care" speech on the Philadelphia Museum of Art steps while dressed in a Mummers costume during the championship parade.
"I love what I can say about the inspiration behind the name, the year that we had and then the meaning behind the actual name. I think it's just a recipe of awesome." Deirdre Diener, who named her daughter Kelce after Eagles center Jason Kelce
“Before we won the Super Bowl, I [looked at] Jason Kelce as an inspiration. I just love how he is a man of the people, a man of the fans, and that is something I hope is a value for Kelce to have, always thinking about treating people with kindness, treating people with respect. And the name itself means 'brave,' which I think is pretty cool too," said Diener, who explained she would have made Kelce's middle name Joel if Joel Embiid and the 76ers had won the NBA title, as well. "It was kind of a no-brainer for me, but the exclamation point was, of course, his parade speech. It was like, 'OK, this is fantastic.'
"I love what I can say about the inspiration behind the name, the year that we had and then the meaning behind the actual name. I think it’s just a recipe of awesome.”
It has been a year since the Eagles delivered Philadelphia its first Super Bowl title. The party, in many ways, is still going strong. It's not uncommon to walk into a social gathering and see the game against the Pats playing on the television. Cheers still break out when Alshon Jeffery elevates for a touchdown grab or when Nick Foles sprints into the flat awaiting a throw from Trey Burton. Tattoos commemorating the event are everywhere. Flags are still being flown that simply read, "41-33," the final score of Super Bowl LII. The win has been good for business both for the team and the city, as we'll explore below, while providing the fan base unforgettable memories -- especially for those who have an even bigger life event tied to it.
Super Bowl babies
The idea that there was a "Super Bowl baby boom" in Philly isn't supported by data from two of the city's biggest hospitals. There were 317 births at the University of Pennsylvania this past November -- the ninth month after the Super Bowl -- as compared with 320 births in November of 2017. Thomas Jefferson University Hospital reported a slight uptick, going from 147 births in November of 2017 to 164 births this past November.
But those who walked the halls and were inside the Eagles-decorated delivery rooms will tell you that the Super Bowl influence was very real.
"Our patients are definitely telling us that they are Super Bowl babies," said Beth Ann Pyle, nurse manager of the Mother Baby Unit at Pennsylvania Hospital. “We’ve had a lot of babies named Carson. We’ve seen quite a few with that name. We’ve seen some Kelces, as well; kind of getting the girls involved. And then a patient incorporated Foles into a name, as well.
“We’ve had a lot people having fun with it. Our patients are just telling us that these babies were conceived around the Super Bowl, and they’re definitely excited about it, as well. That Philly energy is continuing.”
Diener said she was down the hall from the mom who gave her newborn daughter the middle name Foles. The Eagles connection was a shared experience passed on from room to room by the nurses.
"It was really cool because we haven’t had this. In Philly, we’re crazy fans. And it’s just so great to celebrate the Super Bowl again through the birth of children, relive the whole thing,” Diener said. "What better way to celebrate?"
The Eagles' playoff run was very good for Philly's hospitality industry (though Minnesota Vikings fans might take exception to the word "hospitality" being associated with their stay for last season's NFC Championship Game). During the weekends of the two home playoff games and the Super Bowl, Philadelphia hotels achieved the following, according to Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau director of communications Alethia Calbeck:
A 15 percent sales increase, with an additional 12,500 rooms sold versus the same time the previous year.
More than $3 million in incremental hotel room revenue generated versus the same time the previous year.
There were other events happening during this time to drive demand, Calbeck noted, but the majority of growth occurred on game days.
Philadelphia had a record-breaking year overall in the hospitality industry, as Center City hotels achieved record occupancy (79.6 percent) and increases in average daily rate (up 3 percent from 2017) and revenue (up 9 percent from 2017).
"I don’t think we can correlate it directly to a Super Bowl win (smile), but it could be a contributing factor, given the heightened national and international media attention our Eagles received," wrote Deana Gamble from the Philadelphia mayor's office.
Fanatics Brands, the official designer and manufacturer of Super Bowl LII championship merchandise, created a heat map to show minute-by-minute sales activity in the immediate aftermath of the Eagles' win over the Patriots. What started off as a series of pings turned into a hailstorm of activity across the country. Within an hour, the entire Eastern seaboard was illuminated.
The Eagles broke an NFL record for merchandise sales by a Super Bowl champion, according to Fanatics vice president of communications Meier Raivich. It was the second-highest-performing championship for any sport in terms of merchandise sales, behind only the Chicago Cubs’ World Series title in 2016.
Super Bowl LII also set a Fanatics record for mobile sales following a Super Bowl, with more than 75 percent of all sales coming through mobile devices in the first few hours after the game.
Team, player windfall
Winning the big one is good for a player's personal account. New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton offered a not-so-subtle reminder of this to his squad before the start of this season's playoffs by rolling into the locker room surrounded by armed guards protecting a glass case containing over $200,000 in cash (all singles!), representing the amount of money each player would make in postseason bonuses if the team goes all the way. The official total is $201,000, according to the collective bargaining agreement.
Eagles players made $112,000 each for the Super Bowl win alone. That bonus number for Super Bowl LIII has gone up to $118,000.
Organizations can benefit in a number of ways as a result of their success, including via an increase in ticket sales in the following seasons (assuming there isn't already a lengthy waiting list, as is the case in Philly). Teams typically also see an increase of several million dollars on the corporate partnership side in the year following a title run, according to a league source.
So, while there likely won't be the same type of crazed reaction in Los Angeles or Boston as there was in Philly -- where one of the sport's most rabid and starved fan bases finally got a chance to eat -- tangible benefits will be felt as a result of winning it all, nonetheless. And who knows -- maybe we'll see a spike in babies named "Goff" or "Gronk" come November.