The Philadelphia Eagles' Fight Song Didn't Originally Feature It's Most Iconic Line

The Philadelphia Eagles fanbase is among the most loyal in all pro sports. The Eagles are set to play the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVII on February 12, 2023, at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. One way Philly fans famously express their dedication to the team is through the official fight song, "Fly, Eagles, Fly" — three words, in particular, chanted in unison by faithful Eagles fans whenever the Birds score a touchdown at Lincoln Financial Field, where the team plays their home games.

In one form or another, the Eagles' fight song, at first called the "The Eagles Victory Song," has been with the franchise since the late 1950s. It really took off, though, in the late 1990s after dipping in popularity, according to Sports Illustrated. Some Philly faithful and followers of NFL football, though, might be surprised to know that the three most well-known words in the song, "Fly Eagles Fly!," are now closely associated with Philadelphia Eagles football and sung by spectators after every Eagles' score at home games, were not in the song lyrics early on, according to Philadelphia Magazine.

'The Eagles Victory Song' was written by Charles Borrelli and Roger Courtland

As PennLive writes, "The Eagles Victory Song" was written by Charles Borelli and Roger Courtland. The words to the song showed up in Eagles' game programs as early as 1957, according to Philadelphia Magazine. Back then, the team played at the multi-purpose Connie Mack Stadium, first known as Shibe Park, a facility torn down in the mid-1970s (via the Society for American Baseball Research or SABR). At that time, Cortland and his band of musicians would lead rousing renditions of the tune at Eagles home games.

With Quarterback Bobby Thomason behind center, the team went 4 – 8 in 1957 and missed the playoffs that year, according to Pro-Football Reference. Simply put, the team wasn't very good in that period, and "The Eagles Victory Song," whether played by Courtland and his band, or later on by "The Philadelphia Eagles Sound of Brass," was not the team staple it is today. By the late-1960s, the Eagles were under new ownership, and "The Eagles Victory Song" began a long, slow fade from team memory.

The song was revived in the late 1990s

Per Sports Illustrated, the Eagles were still not very good in the late 1990s when team ownership attempted to revive the "Victory Song," this time with a few changes. The team's first Super Bowl win in Super Bowl LII against the Patriots came some two decades later via the NFL. By 1999, the team had improved, and "The Eagles Victory Song," retitled "Fly, Eagles, Fly," along with a few other updates, became an indispensable part of Philly fan tradition, both at home games and while tailgating, per Philadelphia Magazine

Namely, the key and tempo were changed in the song, and the content and arrangement of the music, originally around 5 minutes long, were simplified and cut down significantly. But along with the title, "Fly, Eagles, Fly," the lyrics were also changed. As PennLive points out, the original lyrics, "Fight, Eagles fight," were revised in the late '90s to the words everyone knows now. Soon enough, though, "Fly, Eagles, fly," followed by "E-A-G-L-E-S, Eagles!" — an organic addition from the fanbase — was here to stay. At the conclusion of the 2022-23 AFC championship game, when the Eagles beat the 49ers to get to their third Super Bowl in team history, Philadelphia Quarterback Jalen Hurts led the crowd in a sing-along. That footage is available to view now on Twitter (via the NFL).