With the Eagles heading to the Super Bowl, Mayor Kenney was faced with a very important question. Will the city dress up Billy Penn in an Eagles jersey? No, according to his spokesperson.
“They lost the past two times they decorated him,” the spokesman told NBC10. “He’s not risking it.”
As Philly lore states, the city’s professional sports teams were cursed in 1987 when One Liberty Place was constructed. At 945-feet tall, it was the first building in the city to soar over the William Penn statue on top of City Hall and was nearly 400-feet taller than Billy Penn’s hat.
With the “gentleman’s agreement” that the Billy Penn statue remain the tallest point in the city broken, the curse began, beginning a 20-year period in which no Philly sports team won a championship.
The city placed a red Phillies baseball cap on Billy’s head during the 1993 World Series, which the Phils lost. They also dressed Billy in an orange and white Flyers jersey during the 1997 Stanley Cup Final, which the Flyers lost.
The curse was finally lifted after the Comcast Center became the city’s tallest building in 2007 and ironworkers placed a miniature Billy Penn statue on its highest beam. The following October, the Philadelphia Phillies became World Series champions. And just to be extra careful, crews were sure to place another miniature Billy Penn statue on top of the city's newest and tallest skyscraper, the Comcast Technology Center, in 2017.
In partnership with NBC Sports Philadelphia
Yet even with the curse broken, Kenney still doesn’t want to risk “jinxing” the Eagles by dressing him up in a jersey. We understand his concern but to be fair, Billy wasn’t dressed up during the 2001 NBA Finals, Super Bowl XXXIX, the 2009 World Series, or the 2010 Stanley Cup Final either. And we all know how all of those turned out.
So what say you Philly sports fans? Should Billy Penn be dressed in Eagles green or is it best to just leave him be?