The city that loves you back

When the Kansas City Chiefs kicker kicked the football through the uprights on Sunday winning the Super Bowl against the Philadelphia Eagles, I started getting the teasing text messages from coworkers and distant friends. The gist of the messages: “Oh boy, watch out, Philadelphia is going to burn now. The fans are going to go crazy.”

Ha, ha, yea, yea, $@%?! you too buddy. No, I didn’t say that, but I felt like it. 

Philadelphia, a city notable for its rich history and for serving as the cradle of liberty, often gets picked on for having the unruliest fans. Some of that is well earned, some of it is not. 

Where’s the truth and the lie

Now I didn’t grow up in Philadelphia but I’ve come to understand the city. First let’s get some things off the table.

Yes, in December 1968, Philadelphia Eagles fans threw snowballs at Santa Claus, but it wasn’t the Santa Claus you’re imagining. During the last game of a woeful 2-12 season, which I might add was 55 years ago, the team was scheduled to hold a Christmas-themed halftime show. The team, though, ran into problems. A snowstorm hit the area and prevented the Santa Claus hired to perform from getting to the stadium, so a backup was selected from the crowd. 

Thanks to the horrible season and cold and snow, the fans were already on edge. When team rallied late in the second quarter to take the lead, in essence giving up on a chance to select running back OJ Simpson in the upcoming draft, the fans were upset. Throw in a poorly dressed Santa Claus, who was a bit sauced, and the fans, of course, started bombarding him with snowballs.

So, ever since, every lazy announcer has pulled out the same tired story to poke fun of the fans. Let’s jump to the present, so how did the 5.7 million people living in Philadelphia and the surrounding area react to the Super Bowl loss? There were a few crazies, it’s a large city, but most were solemn and mournful. They hoped to be celebrating and for three-quarters of the game, it looked like they might be.

Tough city

And yes, Philadelphia can be a tough place to play for the opposing team and even the home team if you fail to give your best effort. Philadelphia wears it’s blue collar roots on its sleeves and takes pride in its reputation, but it’s not like Lincoln Financial Field, where the Eagles play, becomes a hellish scene from the movie, The Purge, the dystopian movie where all crime, including murder, becomes legal each year for a 12-hour period.

Let’s get to the heart of the matter. Would I wear an opposing team’s jersey to an Eagles game? Probably not, but I should add, I wouldn’t’ wear an opposing jersey to MetLife Stadium, home of the New York Giants, or any other stadium in the Northeast. You mix cold temperatures, free flowing alcohol, and fans and you run the risk of running across stupid behavior. My advice for visitors would be to cheer for your team, but I wouldn’t bring on added trouble either.

When my kids were young, would I have taken them to an Eagles, Sixers, Flyers, or Phillies game? A 1 p.m. game, yes. I have and we had a great time. However, I passed on taking them to an Eagles Monday night game. Again, I probably would make that same choice in a slew of other cities too.

Warts and all

Do the fans do some silly things? Heck yes, they booed Quarterback Donovan McNabb when he was drafted in 1999. The prevailing thought was that Ricky Williams was going to be a Hall of Fame running back. The fans thought with their hearts, instead of their heads. 

And I’m sure there were more than a few Eagles fans who contributed to the scattering of boos that rained down on Dallas Cowboys Quarterback Dak Prescott on Sunday when he was named the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year prior to Sunday’s Super Bowl kickoff for his volunteer work. 

I’m sure I could think of a few others, but I will say this when they love you, they love you and stick with you through and through. They’ve come to treat Eagles Quarterback Jalen Hurts as one of their own simply because he plays hard and plays like he’s trying to make the team and not the foundation that the rest of the team is built on. For that, he and the rest of the team came a quarter away winning the Super Bowl.

For Philadelphians, you play hard, respect the game, and represent the city well and you’re golden.

21 thoughts on “The city that loves you back

Add yours

  1. Wasn’t Philly the first place to have jails at stadiums? To be fair though…it’s probably worse to wear a yankee shirt at citi field than any other jersey. Intercity rivalries are the worst

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Every stadium has a small holding area, but sadly for six years starting in 1998, the Eagles had a municipal judge right on the premises of Veterans Stadium to handle fineable offenses so as not to clog the court system. It came about because of an ugly Monday Night game. When they built Lincoln Financial Field they had it for a year or two but thankfully the numbers went down and got rid of it. I’ll say this The Vet was different. I was not a fan of the stadium. I suspect the Linc and Citizens Bank Park are both closer to what I’m thinking Citi Field is like. How do u like going to games there?

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m so sorry. I hopped down to the comments before I finished reading — because the ‘sauced’ Santa Claus got me giggling….a lot. I’m doing my own ‘clean up on aisle 6’ over here…time to tidy up my coffee dribbles because of Santa…well, actually because of you, Brian. But I’ll come back to finish. Now I need to get sticky mocha off the keyboarddddddddd. 🤣😊🤣

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I would say this is passion, Brian, rather than being unruly. I like the mindset of the Eagle’s fans a bit like the fans of the team my wife and I follow here in the England, Fulham FC. I think Santa would get a similar reception at our home stadium. (But without the snow😂).

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Passion is good. There’s no question that Philadelphia fans take it too far. I just get annoyed when the examples folks give as bad behavior could happen in any large city or are decades old before many of the fans were even alive. Thanks Davy, I was wondering how the fans here compare to the soccer world!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m with Donna – I learned a lot about Philadelphia in this post and came away thinking of it as the city of brotherly love. Beautiful post, Brian, with a lot of truth. I’m so sorry about the tough Superbowl loss.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Wynne, it’s a game! It’s All good! Yes, Philly is different place. I’m still very much a rural kid at heart and probably not the best tour guide …. but it has been fun over the years to learn more about the city and what makes it tick. It’s a modern city with modern problems and poverty, but also some of the best restaurants in the world. It’s got big business and world class universities, but still thinks and operates with a blue collar mentality. I didn’t write about it, but it carries a chip on its shoulder too. It’s not New York or Boston, it’s not Washington. That certainly plays a role in the mentality too.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I don’t know much about Philly, but your story gave me insights. I was rooting for the Eagles because of a rookie who went to college with my daughter in Utah. He was an undrafted free agent, 5’8″ and made it to the Super Bowl! Britain Covey. His grandfather wrote “7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” He was fun to watch on the Utes, had such a positive attitude and was a team leader.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh EA, he’s become a fan favorite. On the smallish side for professional football players, but incredibly fast. I like that he comes across as a genuine nice guy. There was a funny story this year where he couldn’t access the players lot before the start of his first game. He had to park with the fans. That’s one quick way to ingratiate yourself with the fans in Philly! Here’s a link to the espn story. I’ll look too. I know I saw a story a local tv person did with him on the 7 habits. It was actually kind of funny. I remember some of the other players asking him for advice. Ha, ha, I’ll look to see if I can find the link.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you! I can’t wait to read it. We’d go to the Utah football games when my daughter had swim meets on the same weekend. We watch Utah football on TV if not in person. I became a huge Britain Covey fan.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Since I’ve lived most all of my life in and around Philly, it is nice to see a post showing a side of the region most never see. The National media love to trot out that Santa Claus story without telling the whole story. As you noted Brian, all we’ve ever asked of our athletes is to play hard and represent the city well on and off the playing surface.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Website Powered by

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: