Another post-season appearance for the Philadelphia Eagles and another run for the jerseys, T-shirts, hoodies and all other fan gear to ramp up the underdog base.
Clothes Quarters in the Folsom section of Ridley Township sells more Eagles merchandise than any other business in Delaware County, according to owner Dave Weisen. Rows and rows of green and white frocks (and many other colors and designs) fill the store from front entrance to back wall, not even an entire wall running the length of the building is spared from jerseys for players old and new. Mugs, scarves and hats neatly arranged around the checkout counter are a last minute add-on to the purchase.
It's a common sight all year long and has been for years on end.
“People know that we have the biggest selection,” said Weisen.
Even having the biggest selection wasn’t big enough after the Eagles claimed their first Super Bowl title two years ago when the selection sold out, in part from people who went right to the store after the game with champagne and wine as they imbibed their way to a raucous late-night shopping spree of official merchandise with Super Bowl Champions branded on everything.
Since then, merchandise sales have been good for the small business for some of the beloved veterans (Brian Dawkins, Randall Cunningham and Ron Jaworski among them) and the new faces like Carson Wentz (who will be making his first post-season appearance as an Eagle on Sunday).
This year’s season became a fight with the Dallas Cowboys in the last month to see who would claim the NFC East Division which the Eagles ultimately claimed Sunday with a 9-7 record.
Not a runaway victory for the NFL’s favorite underdogs, but still enough fan momendum to keep the sales going.
“It’s actually been good the whole season,” said Weisen. “People are still excited about this team. The last three weeks have been off the charts.”
On top of grabbing holiday gifts, the Eagles had the nail-biting fourth quarter win over the Washington Redskins that was claimed with less than two minutes to go, and a much needed victory over their archenemies the Dallas Cowboys at home on Dec. 22. The hard-fought victories boosted morale and earned the Birds their wild card berth at home against the 11-5 Seattle Seahawks Sunday.
Weisen expects some division-laced apparel to hit the store by week’s end, “but it’s not as important as a conference win.”
Clifton Heights-based American Marketing company is looking to potentially profit from Sunday's win. American Marketing does licensed T-shirt printing for official sports clubs (they had the jump on Bryce Harper tees in the spring). While Accounts Manager Christopher Bruno Mongiello didn't have much to comment on in regard to sales of merchandise this season, he said the company may have some new merchandise to run on their presses after a presumed victory on Sunday.
Back at Clothes Quarters, Drexel Hill resident Theresa Murphy was all smiles as she tried on a licensed Eagles Cheerleaders jacket, something Weisen saw on actual Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleaders when he was flying back from a game. He ended up adding that to his already vast inventory.
Murphy, a young-at-heart Eagles fan, loves her home team and has her own prediction about how Sunday will turn out.
“It’s going to be very tough,” she said. “They’re gonna win, but I’m not sure.”
Alex Oxner, an unofficial statistician for the Eagles – Weisen says he knows it all - who works at Clothes Quarters, thinks it will be a close call.
“By the momentum, probably, by three (points),” he said. “Conceivably, it could go either way.”
“With home field advantage- fans definitely help them and they have a good chance if they plan to play the way they’ve been,” said Weisen.
He later added that, in true underdog fashion, the Eagles have been having a good run with their new players making for a good narrative to hitch another winning season to.
“All of the young kids and practice squad players are really coming up and performing as well, if not better, than the starters. It’s been exciting,” he said. “People love to hear about the young kids that are giving their chance to shine and they come through. It’s a feel good story when someone’s on the practice squad and goes to the big leagues.”
If the Eagles make it beyond Sunday and win the conference, Clothes Quarters will stay open after the game for another round of Super Bowl-bound merchandise for fans. Until then, the store will accommodate everything from baby one-sies to collared shirts and hoodies all year-round.
“People now except them to do well after the Super Bowl,” said Weisen. “It’s always been a football, Eagles town, and they’ve always done well.”
As Weisen sells off his inventory to a steady stream of customers throughout Tuesday afternoon, Eagles merchandise was some of the best selling stuff on the NFL’s official online store that day. Only the San Francisco 49ers had more men’s merch in the top 10 best sellers, the birds performing just as well for the women’s merch on the same site. Come Thursday, Seahawks, 49ers and Baltimore Ravens sales started to eclipse the Eagles as top sellers.