Many rooting for newcomer Eagles in Super Bowl matchup

The Eagles-themed garden gnome is just one Eagles piece of memorabilia around the Grand Strand as fans prepare to cheer on their teams to victory in Super Bowl XVII. (Taggart Houck/WPDE)

Super Bowl XVLL is one day away. NFL fans around the Grand Strand cheer for many teams -- the Carolina Panthers, Pittsburgh Steelers -- and this weekend, the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots.

Many tell us they're choosing to cheer on the green team from Philadelphia this year -- some said they're longtime fans. Others said they're tired of seeing Tom Brady and company take home a Super Bowl Championship Ring year after year.

"Philadelphia has been an underdog all year, and they've overcome every hurdle their way," said Mike McLendon. He's not rooting too much for the Eagles this year -- just the lesser of two evils he said.

That "Underdog" status defined the men on the field in green all year. Lou Mascherino owns the Veterans Cafe and Grille in Socastee. The 65-year fan may not watch the Super Bowl this year, but if he does, he's rooting for his hometown Eagles.

"Most of us that are up there in age, say 'Hopefully they'll win one before while I'm still alive," he said.

But many of the folks we spoke with aren't necessarily Eagles fans, as much as they're hoping Brady doesn't win another. That's a sentiment found among some customers at Benjamin's Cafe and Bakery in Surfside Beach Saturday.

"A lot of people refer to us as the evil empire," said Judith Arthur, a New England native, sporting her Patriots baseball cap and a grin.

An empire for a reason. The team has two Super Bowl wins in three years.

"They're confident so that carries over and a lot of people think it's arrogance," said McLendon.

Arthur just enjoys her team's success.

"Belichick, Brady and Bob Kraft...that whole combination there seems to make things work," she said.

The Eagles, meanwhile, haven't been in the big game since 2005.

"It's been thirteen years so I'm pulling out all the stops on this one," said Babs Barshall, an Eagles fan originally from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

That includes the temporary tattoo she sported Saturday, the signature Eagles mascot accompanied by "Eagles" lettering.

"New England's a great team -- Brady (and) Belichick are brilliant. They're great but I'm pulling for the Eagles...even though they did throw snowballs at Santa Claus," said McLendon with a grin.

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