PHILADELPHIA -- Larry Bowa and Charlie Manuel have been on the flatbed trucks, inching down Broad Street, waving and smiling back at millions of fans who came to say thanks for bringing them a championship.The Phillies icons are part of a select group that can tell the Eagles what to
PHILADELPHIA -- Larry Bowa and Charlie Manuel have been on the flatbed trucks, inching down Broad Street, waving and smiling back at millions of fans who came to say thanks for bringing them a championship.
The Phillies icons are part of a select group that can tell the Eagles what to expect at their championship parade Thursday.
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"No matter what your expectations are, raise the bar 100 more times," Bowa said Monday morning. "It's the most unbelievable feeling ever. You literally will see people crying on the streets. They're telling you how they wish their mom and dad were there. They're telling you how they waited so long. It's the most overwhelmed I've ever been by people."
"It's bigger than you can ever imagine, really," Manuel said. "It's going to be louder, there's going to be more people there than they think. There's going to be a lot of electricity flying around. They're going to show them a lot of love. I guarantee you that the Eagles are going to come out of there thinking that it's one of the biggest events they have ever been to."
Bowa helped the Phillies win the 1980 World Series, the first championship in franchise history. Manuel led the Phils to the 2008 World Series title, bringing the city its first professional sports championship since the 76ers in '83.
Both said they had flashbacks to their championship celebrations and parades on Sunday night, when the Eagles beat the Patriots in a 41-33 thriller. It is the first Super Bowl championship in Eagles history.
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"You know what came back to me?" Manuel said. "I remember being in the dugout and looking up into the stands and watching our players running and celebrating and jumping on top of one another. I remember looking around during the parade and all you saw were people. They were hanging out of windows. You looked to your left, your right, you looked behind you, they were all hollering. They were all cheering. You could see their expressions on their faces and how it was so real. It just seemed like it kept going."
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady had the ball with just nine seconds remaining when he chucked a Hail Mary into the end zone. The pass fell incomplete. Seconds earlier, Bowa, who watched the game in Clearwater, Fla., with former Phillies broadcaster Chris Wheeler, told Wheeler that the game's final moments reminded him of Tug McGraw striking out Willie Wilson with the bases loaded in the ninth inning in Game 6 at Veterans Stadium on Oct. 21, 1980.
"There were certain things that happened during the game, certain calls," Bowa said. "When they go your way, you just say in your mind, 'It's meant to be.' It's like the popup to Boonie [Bob Boone] and Pete [Rose] for the second out [in the ninth inning in Game 6]. When something like that happens, you say, 'No matter what happens, we're going to win this thing.'"
The Eagles won. They celebrated Sunday night in Minneapolis, perhaps thinking it cannot get any better.
Bowa and Manuel know better. They have been a part of a parade down Broad Street.
"It's something you'll take to your grave," Bowa said.
Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast.