Carol Cullen had been an executive assistant for the Philadelphia Eagles’ coaching staff since 1985 until she was unceremoniously fired after the 2014 season.
She had worked under seven head coaches during that time, including Chip Kelly for two years until he let her go.
“Chip just said my job was no longer needed,” Cullen told ESPN. “It was very difficult. I had no idea it was coming, so it was very emotional for me. And it took me a while to get over it and get used to another life, really, because when you work in football like that, it’s not 9 to 5 — it’s seven days a week, and I loved every minute of it.”
So imagine her surprise a month or so ago when she received an email from the team saying she would be receiving a Super Bowl LII ring.
This must be some kind of error, Cullen replied to the email. She no longer worked for the team.
“No, it’s not an error,” a team employee replied, according to ESPN. “Call me. We need to get you fitted.”
Cullen was floored.
She had maintained relationships with people in the organization for which she had worked for nearly 30 years. One of them was coach Doug Pederson, who knew Cullen from when he was an assistant under Andy Reid.
One of Cullen’s jobs when she worked for Reid, explained ESPN, was to type the game plan into the computer. She always let it be known that her favorite play was the flea-flicker, and she asked Reid if it was in the game plan every week.
So when she texted her old friend Pederson before the NFC championship game against the Vikings, she wished him good luck and joked about calling her favorite play.
“And I said to him in the text, ‘And I only have one thing to say, and that’s ‘flea-flicker.’ And he texted me back, ‘Actually it’s in the game plan this week. All I have to do is call it.’ And during the game he called it,” Cullen told ESPN.
And what do you know? In the third quarter, the Eagles called a flea-flicker and quarterback Nick Foles delivered a 41-yard touchdown strike to Torrey Smith to put the Eagles up 31-7.
Flea flicker was nice. But let’s talk about this pass from Foles. Absurd. pic.twitter.com/uXJrAdrGf9
— Patrick (@EaglesPMC) January 22, 2018
“Right after the play, [executive vice president of football operations] Howie Roseman texted me and said, ‘That one was for you.’ So it made me feel like I was really still a part of them,” Cullen said.
But the flea-flicker had nothing to do with Cullen getting a ring, said Pederson.
“Ha, no, she is a longtime Eagle,” he said, reported ESPN.
Two other longtime former employees — video director Mike Dougherty and ticket sales agent Leo Carlin — also got rings, Cullen said.
“Great lady. Very deserving. It’s so classy that they included her. Not a lot of organizations would have,” former Eagles head coach Dick Vermeil told ESPN. “To me it just shows the class from the ownership, right on down through the organization, and how much they respect loyalty.”
— theScore (@theScore) June 15, 2018
Cullen attended the private ceremony last Thursday night where the rings, made of pure 10-karat white gold with 219 diamonds and 17 green sapphires each, were handed out.
Her niece, Brianna Wristbridge, shared an image of Cullen’s ring Friday on Twitter.
So my aunt works for the eagles for three decades as the head coach’s secretary.
Chip Kelly fires her.
The Eagles win the super bowl.
I get the below text messages last night.
I’ve never loved and organization more. pic.twitter.com/YaeMrl6TI1
— Brianna Wristbridge (@briannawrist) June 15, 2018
“It was really a special night,” Cullen told ESPN. “And I just feel honored and humbled that I was a part of it.”
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