A shattered heel couldn't keep this Eagles fan from the Super Bowl

Michael Gordon, 39, is our Philadelphia Sports Fan of the Week
Eagles fan Michael Gordon (right) with his wife Lauren and his mobility scooter, outside State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona for Super Bowl LVII.
Eagles fan Michael Gordon (right, with his wife Lauren) wasn't going to let a broken left heel keep him from going to Super Bowl LVII. Photo credit Courtesy of Michael Gordon

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — This is the story of a Philadelphia sports fan who wouldn’t be denied, no matter how many shattered bones were in his left heel.

“They told me they just stopped counting at four because it really didn’t matter after that point,” says 39-year-old Michael Gordon of South Philadelphia — a passionate fan who wears a tailored Eagles suit to games and social functions, including his own wedding.

Gordon and his wife Lauren had a huge trip ahead of them with the Eagles advancing to Super Bowl LVII. She surprised him with tickets to Eagles-Chiefs during the NFC Championship Game.

“She said, ‘This is gonna to be your present for every event, every holiday for the next who knows how many years,’ and I said, ‘I am okay with that. If this is 17 birthdays worth of presents, I'm great.’”

Then, in the week leading up to the game, Gordon, who is 6-foot-2, was grabbing a package for a neighbor and decided to take a shortcut by hopping a fence that was evidently eye-level to him. He landed the wrong way.

Gordon thought, there goes the Super Bowl trip. “Thinking back on it now,” he said, “it makes it even crazier that my first thought was Super Bowl and not, ‘Oh, this is a problem.’”

An outgoing excitement about him 

Gordon grew up in South Jersey, going to more Phillies rather than Eagles games as a kid because of the cost of them. One of his earliest memories of Philadelphia sports is being in attendance for Terry Mulholland’s no-hitter at Veterans Stadium in 1990 with his late father.

“Realizing just how insane our fans are, like so passionate, it was just hard not to get wrapped up in it,” said Gordon, who works in real estate.

As time has gone on, Gordon has been able to afford going to more games — home and away. And when it’s an Eagles game, you’ll likely see him in his tailored Eagles suit, a midnight green outfit with Eagles logos. He also has custom shoes, underwear and Brian Dawkins socks and jersey. Gordon says he simply stumbled across the outfit towards the end of the Eagles Super Bowl LII season.

Michael Gordon, in his Eagles suit, and his wife Lauren in an Eagles jersey, amid the crowd at Super Bowl LVII.
Michael Gordon (right), in his Eagles suit, traveled to Arizona with his wife Lauren to see his beloved Eagles play in Super Bowl LVII. Photo credit Courtesy of Michael Gordon

It has become so customary for him to wear this suit, that he even changed into it during his wedding. And it didn’t bother Lauren at all. She was thrilled. He also wore it at a relative’s wedding, per the bride’s request. The suit is a hit!

Gordon’s stepfather, Henry Winkler — different guy, same name and interestingly enough third cousin of The Fonz— is someone Gordon has experienced a lot of Philadelphia sports with.

“Being with Michael at a game when he wears his Eagles suit, is an experience all to itself,” said Winkler.

Fans, regardless of who they root for, want to take a photo with Gordon, and fellow Eagles fans will request to do so even if they lose.

As far as Gordon’s enthusiasm, it’s next level.

His mother, Gayle Winkler, said Gordon was shy growing up.

“I would have never thought that he would become such a fan with so much passion and so outgoing that he just exudes this excitement,” Gayle said.

Michael Gordon (right) at an Eagles game, with (right to left) his wife Lauren and parents Henry and Gayle Winkler.
Michael Gordon (right) at an Eagles game, with (right to left) his wife Lauren and parents Henry and Gayle Winkler. Photo credit Michael Gordon

This past season, Gayle and Henry, along with Lauren, went with Gordon to the Eagles game at the Arizona Cardinals. Gayle had not been to a Philadelphia sporting event in some time. On this October day in Glendale, there was tailgating, a lot of walking and then the game. For Gayle, it was a bit much, but for Gordon – it was another opportunity for him to scream, stand and take photos with random fans enamored with his suit.

“And I'm sitting there going, ‘This is my kid.’ And it was just amazing. And then the last thing I said to him was, ‘Never again. This is way too much for me,’” she said with a laugh from her and Henry.

Not giving up on a dream 

After his injury, Gordon heard from people that he could simply get surgery and still go to the game. But, an orthopedic surgeon told him that if he got surgery on his left heel ahead of the Super Bowl, he couldn't fly at the risk of getting a deadly blood clot.

Obviously, that was disappointing to Gordon and not what he wanted to hear.
However, there was this option — he could wear a cast and put off surgery until right after the game. Gordon and his wife were assured there was no further risk of damage.

What was his mother’s reaction to the injury?

“Don’t go,” said Gayle. “That was my reaction.”

“Not mine,” Henry responded.

It turns out injuries from hopping fences runs in the family. Henry and Gordon went to the Eagles “double doink” playoff win at the Chicago Bears in the 2018-19 season. Henry, who is 5-foot-11, tried to hop a fence on the way back to their hotel after the game. It led to back surgery.

“[My reaction] was, ‘What did the doctor say?’”

Gayle, understandably, was concerned. “That’s my job,” she said.

Gordon’s wife said it was his call. He knew that if he didn't go, win or lose, it was going to bug him. He needed this boost, especially with the long recovery ahead of him.

“All I wanted to do is go to the Super Bowl,” said Gordon, “and that was my main focus and I just wasn't willing to give up on that dream. I thought it was dead in the water and that dream was gone and I may never get to see one again. So, when I was given the opportunity to go, there was no way I was going to be able to pass that up.”

Well worth the trip — regardless of the loss and, oh yeah, any discomfort 

The plane ride for Gordon was very uncomfortable and painful despite some extra room provided to him. But again, that would not deter him considering he needed this.

“I needed some great moment to kind of ride off into, no pun intended,” he said.

Gordon phrased it that way because he mobilized on a scooter that allowed him to prop one of his knees on a pad. And his injury also wasn’t going to keep him from wearing his signature outfit either. Gordon and his wife were moved to better seats compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Lauren medicated Gordon well enough that he was alert and not in pain.

Michael Gordon sitting with his legs elevated at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona during Super Bowl LVII.
Was it worth the pain and discomfort traveling to Arizona for Super Bowl LVII? Michael Gordon says it was. Photo credit Courtesy of Michael Gordon

As expected, the outcome of the game wasn’t what any Eagles fan wanted, but the experience was still unforgettable – and that’s despite the fact he accidentally fell off his scooter after the game — knocking over his wife — when it got caught in a pothole. Fortunately, no further damage was done.
Gordon and his folks were happy they went. Gordon felt lucky.

“If I had a crystal ball kind of thing and I knew ahead of time that we would lose, and that I and in order to get to the Super Bowl, I had to shatter my heel, I think I still would probably go with the same decision because it was just one of those once in a lifetime experiences,” he admitted.

And we’re happy to report, Gordon is on the road to recovery.

He calls being a Philadelphia sports fan a gift and the best experience you could have.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Courtesy of Michael Gordon