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PHILADELPHIA — Proper across the opening kickoff Monday night time, amid the chants of “E-A-G-L-E-S” rocking Lincoln Monetary Subject, Invoice O’Connell’s life will flash earlier than him.
All-Metropolis defensive again on the 1972 St. James Metropolis Championship soccer staff. Bulldog in particular operations with the FBI. Above all, father of Kevin McConnell, third-round draft choose of the New England Patriots and now head coach of the Minnesota Vikings.
Deep down inside, Invoice O’Connell will likely be such a nervous wreck it’s factor that the man occupying the seat subsequent at Lincoln Monetary Subject is lifelong pal Tony Serge, a buddy at St. Joseph’s elementary faculty pal in Aston and a teammate on that historic Bulldogs title staff.
“Being a Delaware County guy most of my life, moving away, I tell people, ‘hey, I was always an Eagles fan.’ In fact, I got in trouble a couple of times because we were in California and I was watching games and I’d start blaring out a chorus of ‘Fly, Eagles, Fly.’ People didn’t always appreciate that. It’s kind of surreal to be going in there Monday.”
O’Connell’s soccer teammates at St. James can have his again when his son’s Vikings tackle the Eagles. A number of of them obtained collectively Saturday on the Doghouse in Eddystone to rejoice the fiftieth anniversary of the 42-0 metropolis championship victory over Frankford, the one through which Serge rushed for 154 yards and two landing, Dave Lansberry tallied a few TDs dashing for 134 yards, and, um, O’Connell dropped an interception. Perhaps even a pair. All was forgiven and loads of laughs have been had by all watching the video of that sport and others, together with one through which O’Connell picked off a go.
“Run that back,” he quipped to a refrain of laughter, the group together with amongst a number of distinguished others, Joe Gallagher, Gary Barnes and Joe Neubauer, who helped put the anniversary festivities collectively.
“I haven’t seen some of these guys in 50 years,” O’Connell stated. “Gary Barnes, God bless him, he’s been doing loads of the coordinating work.
He’s reached out and obtained this factor collectively. It’s been a labor of affection. And thank God we now have a Doghouse.”
A bunch of Bulldogs are tailgating Monday on the Linc. O’Connell’s brother and sister will likely be there, as will a bit of the youthful generations of Invoice and spouse Suzanne’s households, many from the Delaware Valley space. Suzanne attended Notre Dame Academy, the sister faculty of St. James. If the kin are something like Invoice or Kevin O’Connell, they’ll be locked in each play.
The Vikings are coming off a precision 23-7 win over Aaron Rodgers and the Inexperienced Bay Packers in Week 1. Although that was a house sport this gained’t be Kevin’s first Eagles sport in Philly. He attended video games right here as a child, performed right here within the preseason as a participant with the Patriots and Jets, and coached right here as an assistant with Washington and the Los Angeles Rams.
Kevin O’Connell, now 37, was named head coach of the Vikings shortly after celebrating the Rams’ Tremendous Bowl victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.
Oh, and sure, Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni sees loads of Sean McVay in O’Connell, who was offensive coordinator with the Rams.
“Small sample size, but, yeah,” Sirianni stated. “You’re going to do things the way that you did them when you won a Super Bowl. I have a lot of respect for Coach O’Connell. He’s done a really nice job, and I think he’s a really good coach. He has to put his own spin on things, too. They have different players in Minnesota than they did at the Rams, so there are definitely differences. Definitely, I see the similarities as well.”
Invoice O’Connell is aware of how powerful it’s to win in Philly. He is aware of Eagles followers, the traditions and the way Kevin idolized Randall Cunningham however was simply as pleased with his Wilbert Montgomery jersey. (Montgomery’s son, Derron, is a top quality management coach with the Vikings. Invoice O’Connell is aware of the Vikings are two-point underdogs.
“We’re cautiously optimistic,” O’Connell stated. “We’re playing a heck of a good football team Monday night but we’re very optimistic. All week (the Vikings have) spoken about their experiences going to Philly. I think they’re mentally and logistically ready for the boo birds and the stadium and the noise. They’ve played in some pretty noisy places. Even last year at Sofi, it’s a loud place to play.”
Invoice O’Connell attended Maryland on a observe scholarship, completed javelin thrower that he was and transferred to Villanova College. He resides in Southern California, however has lived everywhere in the nation, from San Diego to New York Metropolis, to Knoxville, Tenn., the place Kevin was born.
Whereas lots of the tales O’Connell has from his days with the FBI are too labeled to inform, soccer has introduced again the hearth. It’s much more than residing vicariously by Kevin. That was apparent, and at occasions overwhelming watching the Vikings’ opener.
“As the dad, and seeing his progression from playing to coaching, it was a very profound moment,” O’Connell stated. “He and I had a few minutes pre-game and we hugged. And I said good luck and I was proud of him. I can’t describe the feeling. It’s right there. Talk about being proud. I mean, I can’t describe it. It was just incredible.”
For Invoice and Kevin O’Connell, life comes full circle Monday once they each get collectively at — what else — an Eagles sport.
To contact Bob Grotz, electronic mail rgrotz@Twenty first-centurymedia.com or @BobGrotz on Twitter
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