If you are a fan of team sports, chances are you are disappointed every year. That’s unless you are a New England Patriots fan who seems to win a championship every other year. The Philadelphia Eagles fans know the feeling of disappointment all too well. Then there was the 2017-18 season, where things felt like they could be turning around for the City of Brotherly Love. If you keep up with football, you know very well how that season ended for the Eagles.
Maybe Next Year is not only something a lot of us sports fans say, but it is also the title of the documentary that follows Philadelphia Eagles fans as they root their team on, hoping to see them finally win the big one. Although the documentary interviews dozens of fans, it follows four die-hards in particular. Each fan has a story of why they love the Philadelphia Eagles and a personal story. The 2017 season was a very different one for Philadelphia, who had the hottest start in the NFL at 10-1 and finishing the season with a record of 13 wins and 3 losses. Before the season ended, the Eagles lost starting quarterback Carson Wentz to an injury. Fans had their doubts about backup quarterback Nick Foles. Though their concerns would go away by the time Super Bowl 52 ended.
“Each fan has a story of why they love the Philadelphia Eagles…”
Each of the four personal stories is interesting, but the one that made the biggest impact on me was the super fan Jesse Callsen’s very touching story. He has been a lifelong Eagles fan, which he inherited from his father and also passed it onto his son, who happens to have Autism. Callsen’s story gets more profound when it is revealed that his father is dying from cancer and worsens each day. His biggest wish is for his father to live to see the Eagles win one Super Bowl. Callsen’s father is shown for just mere seconds on camera, but you feel for the guy as he seems unresponsive to his son’s presence. It is clear that the father is in bad shape.
Philadelphia fans are a lot like any fans of big city teams like Los Angeles or New York: loyal fans who will be the first to explain what the team is doing wrong if they are on a losing streak. It is a tough-love type of relationship major cities have with their sports teams. This documentary, directed by Kyle Thrash, captures all of the ups and downs of being a fan perfectly.
Maybe Next Year is the best football documentary I have watched, and also one of the best sports documentaries for that matter. I remember the 2017 season very well, and while I am a Carolina Panthers fan, this documentary still had me pulling for the fans at the heart of the film to see their team become champs. I literally had the chills when each of the fans celebrated. This is done primarily because of their personal stories and how they were captured by the filmmaker.
"…captures all of the ups and downs of being a fan perfectly."