In late June, diehard Eagles fan Gina Lewis’ deal with a coworker went viral.
Thanks to a Twitter bet, her colleague agreed to pay for a billboard featuring a scene from Super Bowl 52 right in the middle of Patriots country. After Billy Penn picked up the story, it made a huge splash on TV, not just in Philly and Boston, but across the country. (Rubbing Tom Brady’s nose in it is apparently something of a national pastime.)
Behind all the hype — the original post that started it all was retweeted nearly 8,500 times and pulled in more than 14,000 likes — there was a lingering question. Was the idea just a funny internet gag, or would it actually happen? Answer: it’s gonna actually happen.
The billboard is set to become a reality — as long as Eagles fans step up.
Over the past month, Lewis has been working hard on the details to translate the dream into something concrete. There were a bunch of decisions to make, like choosing a location, and more than a few roadblocks, like the NFL’s strict licensing regulations.
The original photo she wanted to use, of Brandon Graham’s pivotal strip sack in the fourth quarter, ended up being out of reach because of copyright, and issues with logo trademarks made other pics similarly off limits. But Lewis has the help of the huge community in the Eagles Facebook group she co-runs, and they were able to come up with an alternate image.
What is it? She’s not telling exactly (no spoilers), but is sure that “fans won’t be disappointed with our design.”
On the debate about location, there were two factors to weigh, at odds with one another. With the reasonable, “couple hundred dollar” budget her coworker was ready to fork over, Lewis could afford to put the billboard up for a long time in a less-trafficked location near her home in Western Mass., or for a short time in a highly-visible spot in Boston.
Instead of choosing between them, she went for both.
A contract has been secured with an outdoor advertising company for a location right by the city. However, there’s a four-week minimum, so the cost is a big $5,000.
How to cover that? Turn to the fans who made the thing take off in the first place by launching a GoFundMe campaign.
“We did it! We got our billboard to congratulate and cheer on our World Champs!” the crowdfunding pitch reads. “You guys asked for a longer run and a display in Boston! You got it! Please help support the cause.”
As of this writing, the campaign has raised just over $1,850, with donations coming from more than 130 people. Lewis knows chances are good the page will exceed its $5,000 goal, so she has planned ahead: all money beyond that amount will be donated to Carson Wentz’s AO1 Foundation.
So, humiliate Brady, force Boston to ponder their loss on a daily basis for four weeks, boost the morale of the Eagles Nation diaspora, and help Wentz’s charity. Who’s in?