Philadelphia Eagles Fans Say Pope Is Their Only Hope Early in NFL Season

Image: Pope Francis in Philadelphia
Philadelphia Eagles fans James McFadden and Fred Voss have tickets to attend the Festival of Families with Pope Francis on Sept 26. John Brecher / NBC News

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By Elizabeth Chuck, Tracy Connor and John Brecher

With a rough start to the season, Philadelphia Eagles fans are on a wing and a prayer — and at least a couple diehards are hoping the papal visit may provide just the miracle they need.

The Eagles are down 0-2 so far after a 20-10 loss last weekend to the Dallas Cowboys that was so stunning, a Philadelphia Inquirer columnist categorized it as a "sheer nightmare." On Sunday, the Birds face off against the New York Jets, who have yet to lose a game in the 2015 NFL season.

Anxious Eagles fans Fred Voss and James McFadden, 72, of Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, came to Philadelphia on Saturday for Pope Francis' visit there — the final stop on the pontiff's three-city U.S. tour. They wore T-shirts that bore the Philadelphia Eagles symbol with "Pope Francis" written above it in the style of the Eagles' logo.

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Asked whether he thought the pope might bless the football team, McFadden said: "They are beyond a prayer. They've gone to hell."

Voss, on the other hand, said he was holding out some hope. "Well," he said, "they couldn't do any worse, could they?"

The Eagles-Jets game kicks off at 1 p.m. ET Sunday at MetLife Stadium.