I’ve been kicking this post around in my head for awhile now. And now that the Eagles are going to the Super Bowl (aww yah!) this topic has come to light in a lot of news stories over the last few days.
I love Philly and I love the Eagles. I couldn’t be more excited that we’ve made it to the Super Bowl… but I’m embarrassed to lump myself in with some of the Eagles fans out there. Philadelphia has gained a reputation for having some of the worst fans in the country and it’s a huge shame. In a week where we should only feel pride, the discussion online about the state of our fans seems to be mixing in and taking the spotlight off of our team accomplishments.
A couple of stories:
Eagles v. Ravens – Years ago, I attended a preseason game with friends. We were playing Baltimore and our friends joined us because my friend is a Ravens fan. We parked in the lot and tailgated — me and hubby in our Eagles jerseys, my friend in her Ravens jersey. She got a little smack talk about her jersey in the parking lot but it was all in fun until we got into the stadium.
When we tried to get into our seats, a guy in our row hesitated to let us to our seats. He said he wasn’t going to move for a Ravens fan. We were like, WHAT? He seemed serious. He waited a minute and then acted like he was joking as he moved his legs aside, but he wasn’t. He was rude to my friend the entire game – throwing a lot of verbal jabs her way – to the point where I thought her husband was going to need to leave the game he was getting so upset. Much of this Eagles fan’s attitude overshadowed the fun and the experience we would have had otherwise.
Living here, you hear stories. And there have been more than ever this season as our team has gone all the way. Heck, we have to Crisco the lamp poles before any game now. Classy.
Eagles v. Falcons – Here’s another story that involved the Falcons game two weeks ago. Matt Ryan (Falcons QB) actually attended my boys’ elementary school and is from the area. His family lives in our town and are members of our parish. While our area may be Eagles fans first, there’s no shortage of Falcons fans because of Matt. A family member of his posted on Facebook that her kids left the game in tears that day – not because the Falcons had lost, but because they were in Matt Ryan jerseys and people were mean to them. To kids! Kids who are Eagles fan but of course were there to support their Uncle, Matt Ryan! It’s appalling.
Eagles v. Vikings – Of course this past weekend was the showstopper, when Eagles fans treated the Vikings like dirt. Eagles fans apparently chanted awful things about Millie, the 99-year-old Vikings fan, on top of some other classy acts like throwing beer cans at people in Vikings jerseys.
I’ve since seen responses from Minnesota fans saying they are going to show the Eagles fans the same hospitality that they were shown in our town when they fly out for the Super Bowl. And who can blame them?
What I want to say to everyone out there who isn’t in Philly is that we are not all like this. Most of us think Millie the 99 year old Vikings fan is awesome and should wear her jersey wherever she wants and root for her team anytime and anywhere. Go Millie!
Watching football and rooting for your team should be fun. A little friendly rivalry between friends and teams makes for an enjoyable Sunday. But this hatred and anger that seems to have permeated the Eagles fans needs to stop.
We love the Eagles. My family will be screaming and cheering all the way through the Super Bowl. I have many friends who are Pats friends and we’re already jokingly harassing each other. A little smack talk is always good for a laugh and to get the competitive juices flowing.
But at the end of the day, let’s not forget, it’s just football and we’re all a part of the human race. Buck up Philly. We’re better than we’ve been. You can still be the biggest Eagles fan there is and maintain a little graciousness & hospitality for other football team fans.
I hope we win in two weeks and I hope we can do it with a lot of screaming happy people who also do it with class. Is that too much to hope for?