When Marie Nee attended the Philadelphia Eagles’ matchup against the Miami Dolphins, the last thing she was expecting was to turn into a social media star.
When Ventnor, NJ, resident Marie Nee attended the Philadelphia Eagles’ week 7 matchup against the Miami Dolphins, the last thing she was expecting was to turn into an overnight social media star. Actually, it was the second to last. That’s because she also turned her daughter into one.
In a now-viral video shared by the Eagles that amassed more than five million views on TikTok and a million views on Instagram, Nee accepts an unmarked envelope handed to her by an Eagles employee while walking to the gates of Lincoln Financial Field from the stadium parking lot where she’d been tailgating. To Nee’s surprise, the envelope contains sideline tickets, which gave her and the friend she was with, Terrence Speights, access to the field to watch the players warm up before the game. The video later shows Nee on the sidelines, struggling to contain her excitement in a phone call with her daughter, Cynthia.
“Cynthia! You’ll never believe where I am,” she says while on the phone. “I am on the sideline!”
As it turns out, Nee’s daughter isn’t just any Cynthia. She’s Cynthia Fillmore, owner of Windfall Gallery and Windfall Gallery II on Germantown Avenue in Chestnut Hill.
“They started making phone calls, and my mom called me,” Fillmore, who lives in Elkins Park, told the Local. “I was in complete disbelief.”
After the game, the Eagles invited Nee and Speights to meet the team and some of its executives at the team’s training facility, the NovaCare Complex, in South Philadelphia. Because of Nee’s now-infamous quote referencing her daughter, the team also invited Fillmore.
“If you read the comments section, everyone is like ‘Who is Cynthia?’” Fillmore told the Local, referencing herself. “It just took off.”
The group met and got pictures taken with a variety of Eagles, including wide receivers A.J. Brown, Britain Covey and Julio Jones, safety Reed Blankenship, defensive end Brandon Graham, kicker Jake Elliott and running back Boston Scott. They also met the team’s executive vice president and general manager Howie Roseman and play-by-play radio announcer Merrill Reese. Even head coach Nick Sirianni, after a press conference he held with reporters that Fillmore, Nee and Speights were allowed to sit in on, made time for a quick conversation with the group.
The trip to the NovaCare Complex resulted in a follow-up video produced by the team.
“It was the experience of a lifetime,” Fillmore said. “I was just blown away by the generosity and culture of the entire organization.”
Nee, who became friends with Speights years ago when the two worked together at the now-closed Trump Plaza Hotel in Atlantic City, was completely taken aback by the organization’s generosity.
“They were all so friendly and down to earth,” she said of the players and Eagles personnel she met. “They make you feel like you're the special one being there. It was incredible what they did for us.”
While Fillmore played an important role, her mother was the one who stole the show.
“Marie has what I call the hesitation hug,” said Speights in a phone call. “When she sees one of the players, her hands go up, she freezes for a second then she grabs them and hugs them and says ‘I love you so much!’”
When she met Jones, a veteran wide receiver the Eagles signed before the current season, she was particularly animated. She’d been a fan of his for years before he signed with the Eagles.
“When we’re going through the hallways, Julio Jones walked right past us,” said Speights. “Marie said ‘Julio!’ and he stopped. Then she said ‘I love you so much.’ She was the happiest woman in Pennsylvania that day.”
When she met Roseman, Nee gave him an attaboy for his decision to sign Jones at the beginning of the year.
“He said ‘next time I’m going to call you, Marie,’” Nee said.
The follow-up video contains a scene of Nee meeting Brown, the team’s other star wide receiver.
“Just keep doing what you’re doing, baby,” Nee tells him in the clip. However, what’s not in the clip, Fillmore said, is Nee putting both her hands on Brown’s shoulders and telling him not to injure himself.
“Don't worry,” Brown responded. “I'm too strong. I’m not going to get hurt.’”
The adventure left Nee, Speights and Fillmore, all of whom are Eagles superfans, feeling like they won the lottery.
“It was such a great experience,” Fillmore said. “We're still reeling from it.”