A student from Temple University’s Fox School of Business is hoping that divine intervention will lead his favorite sports team to “the promised land.”
Senior Pratik Patel initiated an online petition in August to have Pope Francis bless the knees of Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford during the Pontiff’s visit to the city Sept. 26-27 for the World Meeting of Families.
More than 6,400 supporters have signed Patel’s petition, at Change.org, which has received widespread media attention. However, Patel said the digital signatures are inconsequential. He said the online petition is merely the means through which he hopes to spread the word about his intention to facilitate a meeting between Pope Francis and Bradford.
“Pope Francis is a man of high power and great regard, and as a lifelong Eagles fan, I think his blessing on Sam Bradford’s knees would help the Eagles reach the Super Bowl,” said Patel, who will graduate in May 2016 with undergraduate degrees in Accounting and Finance. “I’m Hindu, so this meeting is not expressly about religious beliefs.”
Bradford played in only seven games of the 2013 season and missed the entire 2014 season, then as the quarterback of the St. Louis Rams, with separate injuries to his left knee. The Eagles, who traded for Bradford in the offseason, have gone 54 years between championships.
Patel and his online petition have been featured nationally on a Fox News broadcast and linked to in stories by ESPN and Sports Illustrated. He’s also been interviewed locally by 6ABC, Fox29, and NBC10 in Philadelphia, and he has appeared on a news broadcast on EWTN, a global Catholic television network.
Patel acknowledged it is highly unlikely that Pope Francis, whose Philadelphia travel itinerary is quite thorough, will have the time to meet Bradford. After all, the Eagles will be in East Rutherford, N.J., that weekend for a game against the New York Jets.
“The two will only be 100 miles apart,” Patel said. “While I haven’t heard anything yet, from the Eagles, from (Philadelphia Mayor) Michael Nutter, or from the Pope himself, I’m not giving up hope. That’s what faith is all about, right?”