In the cutthroat world of Washington DC politics, there’s apparently one thing that brings together reporters and broadcasters like nothing else:
The Philadelphia Eagles.
A cabal of Birds fans infiltrate all levels of Capitol journalism, per a story published in sports culture outlet The Ringer. It’s all held together by a reply-all email thread — “rather than a Slack channel, because it includes a number of Gen Xers,” reporter Bryan Curtis writes — that’s been going strong for more than five years.
It started after a 2017 game-watching party at a Capitol Hill bar, per the story, and its founders include Philly U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle. The thread has now apparently grown to more than 50 members.
A handful of the best-known members are named in the piece, but The Ringer doesn’t say where their fandom came from, and it’s not always obvious.
We sussed out some details. Read on to find out why these self-proclaimed “Illuminati of Philly sports” root for the Birds.
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Jake Tapper, CNN
One of the highest-profile Eagles fans on the list. Tapper, a CNN anchor and chief Washington correspondent, was born in NYC but raised in the Philly area. He grew up in Queen Village — his father had a pediatrics practice in South Philly — and went to high school on the Main Line. Despite a directory on The Hill listing Tapper’s current residence as Philadelphia, he’s lived in the DC area since the 1990s, per this 2008 profile by Home & Design.
Karen Travers, ABC News
A native of Montgomery County who grew up in Blue Bell, the ABC News correspondent has been an Eagles fan all her life. In a 1999 interview with the paper for her college alma mater, Travers recalled “a strong tradition” of football running through her family. Her parents got engaged at the Philadelphia City All-Star football game, and she helped out on the sidelines when her dad, Bill Travers, was a high school coach.
Eamon Javers, CNBC
Now CNBC’s senior Washington correspondent, Javers grew up in Philadelphia and attended Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, graduating from the private high school in 1990. He’s lived in the DC area for at least a decade, per an author bio at HarperCollins, but still refers to himself as a “born and raised Philly boy.”
Ken Vogel, New York Times
An old bio at Politico, where Vogel was chief investigative reporter through 2017, describes him as growing up “in Philadelphia,” but his current page at the New York Times is more accurate. The Washington bureau reporter is from Cheltenham, Montgomery County. He cut his teeth covering politics in Harrisburg for the Times Leader in Wilkes-Barre.
Hallie Jackson, NBC/MSNBC
The senior Washington correspondent for NBC News and contributor to MSNBC, Jackson grew up in Yardley, Bucks County. She keeps strong ties with Pennsbury High School, where she graduated in 2002, offering current students encouragement. Her Eagles fandom stayed strong throughout, even when was working for WTAE in Pittsburgh (as an old bio disclaims, “Sorry Steeler Nation”).
Justin Sink, Bloomberg News
Like several of the younger members of this list, there’s not a lot of personal info online about Sink — so it’s unclear exactly where his Philly sports ties originate. A White House correspondent for Bloomberg News who previously worked at The Hill, he currently lives in DC, per the White House Correspondents Association, but is most definitely also a Sixers fan.
Ryan Grim, The Intercept
The Intercept’s DC bureau chief who previously worked for Politico, Grim grew up on Maryland’s eastern shore, where he graduated from Kent County High School in 1996. But he started life in Allentown, he told Billy Penn after this story published, and lived there through 3rd grade. He’s “been an Eagles fan [his] whole life” and has tweeted about them since at least 2009.
Kasie Hunt, CNN
Hunt, an anchor and chief national affairs analyst for CNN, was born in Michigan but grew up on the Main Line, in Wayne. She graduated in 2003 from Conestoga High School, and fondly remembers attending Eagles games at the Vet. She returned to Philadelphia last spring to have brain surgery at Penn.
Paul Kane, Washington Post
Kane grew up in Montgomery County, and went to college at the University of Delaware. He got his start at Roll Call, where he won a 2004 National Press Foundation award, and since 2007 has been at the Washington Post, where he’s now senior congressional correspondent and columnist — but still advertises himself as a “devotee of Philly Sports” in his Twitter bio.
Charlie Mahtesian, Politico
When Mahtesian returned to Politico, where he’s now senior politics editor, after two years with NPR, the outlet referred to him in its release as “a Philly native.” He actually grew up in Delco and once worked at Wawa, per his Twitter account, where his bio describes him as a “fan of small towns and big cities. Especially Philadelphia.”
Tony Romm, Washington Post
The congressional economic policy reporter at The Washington Post, Romm was previously a tech reporter, which may explain why he’s been good about keeping personal info off the internet. But there’s enough to discover where his Birds ties come from: he’s from Bucks County, per Levittown Now, which calls him a Bristol Township native.