PHILADELPHIA -- On the Friday before every Super Bowl, folks in Philadelphia head to the Wells Fargo Center for the annual Wing Bowl.
But this year, the hype surrounding the wing eating contest went up a notch with the Eagles playing in the Super Bowl.
The sun was far from rising as the William Penn statue looked over Philadelphia Friday morning, but the early wakeup call did not keep Eagles fans in bed.
In the shadows of Lincoln Financial Field, where the Eagles just recently punched their ticket to the Super Bowl, people filled the Wells Fargo Center parking lot, tailgating before Wing Bowl 26
For Eagles fans from northeastern and central Pennsylvania, this was the perfect way to kick off Super Bowl weekend.
"Drove down yesterday, stayed at my brother's house over there in Feasterville and left at around 3:30 this morning and now we're here, ready to go!" said Walt Beck of Lehighton.
"With the Eagles in the Super Bowl, this party here at the Wing Bowl every year is like fantasy fest in Key West, Mardi Gras, and an Eagles tailgate all rolled into one. It's just fabulous," said Edward Shurst of Pottsville.
With the Eagles playing in the Super Bowl for the first time since the 2004 season, this year's Wing Bowl provided extra excitement.
The cheers were heard loud and clear outside and inside the Wells Fargo Center. The place was packed for the annual wing eating contest where this year the wings shared the spotlight with the birds.
"Oh, it's crazy right now. I'm pumped. I'm excited, everybody's excited. Eagles chants going all the time. I'm ready!" said Steven Hricko of Bethlehem.
And although the Patriots dealt the Eagles a heartbreaking blow in Super Bowl 39, Eagles fans Newswatch 16 spoke with don't fear Tom Brady and Bill Belichick this time around.
"They jumped the shark, they're done. they're going down," Shurst said. "The Eagles are going to pound them. I look for the Eagles to win this game 27-17."