Every fan base tends to go a little crazy when their team does well. Cubs fans Seahawks fans got rowdy enough that they were annoying, but relatively harmless, when they won their first Super Bowl. Every fan base has its "bad eggs," we hear it all the time. So why is it that Eagles fans are met with collective vitriol?(and a lot of people cried) when they broke the Curse of the Billy Goat and won the World Series, and
The Eagle Faithful are so notorious that the city of Philadelphia was completely on edge leading up to Sunday's NFC Championship. City workersin Crisco to keep fans from climbing them, and to be wary of riots if the Eagles won. Imagine being told that your safety can't be guaranteed because your local team just went to the Super Bowl.
Keep in mind, it isn't just Eagles fans. The Phillies and Flyers definitely have had their share of incidents over the years. The 76ers come out relatively unscathed outside of normal kerfuffles. But the common thread? Philadelphia sports can get rowdy.
Here are nine times when Eagles fans just needed to chill.
Eagle fans boo, throw snowballs at Santa
The 1968 season was a wash. The Eagles started 0-11, and just when it looked like they were going to get prized running back O.J. Simpson in the draft, they started winning games. The city wasn't taking it well, as most fan bases don't when they're bad but not bad enough. Simpson was the hallmark pick of the 1969 draft, and they were blowing their shot with all of this stupid winning.
Enter Santa Claus. Eagles management hired a Santa impersonator to entertain the crowd in their annual Christmas show (which I imagine is about as exciting as the Star Wars Christmas Special) but, in a season where nothing went right, he never showed up. Team executives looked for a makeshift replacement, and they found 20-year-old Frank Olivo in the stands, already dressed as Santa. It was perfect!
It wasn't perfect. Olivo was thin, and Eagles fans didn't believe for a second that he was the real Santa. They didn't take it well. Olivo was booed, which is actually just how Eagles fans say hello, so fine. To add injury to insult, however, Eagles fans used their resources. Don't give Eagles fans resources. They pelted Olivo with snowballs, in what might be the most infamous incident outside of bottlegate for any fanbase in the NFL. This and batteries tend to be what Eagles fans are the most remembered for in general, fairly or unfairly. Olivo seems to have taken the incident in stride.
Eagles fans beat up Chief Zee
If you're an opposing mascot or superfan, don't go to Philadelphia. No matter what you think about Redskins' controversial unofficial mascot starting in 1978, he didn't deserve to get beat up for being a fan. But, in 1983, that's exactly what happened. Chief Zee went to Veterans Stadium in a game that the Eagles lost by 10 points. He responded by taunting the Eagles' fans. They didn't take kindly to that., the
During the game, Williams was attacked in the stands. His clothes were torn and the feathers that he wore in his headdress were ripped out and tossed. In the parking lot, however, things escalated. Williams was attacked by four people -- the same two from the stands and another two -- and assaulted. They broke his leg and Williams was wheelchair bound for the year. Williams tried to go back to Veterans Field the year after that, but after a woman threw a beer at his face, he didn't return.
The moral of the story? Don't start a fan war in Philadelphia in the fall, I guess. Being a superfan is fine, but going into hostile territory and antagonizing a very angry, very drunk fan base won't always go well. None of this is to say that it's Williams' fault he was assaulted, mind you, but given the reputation that Eagles fans have, extreme caution should be exercised around them.
Eagles fans throw snowballs at players, referees and broadcasters
Bounty Bowl II: Snowball Boogaloo. The marketing for this 1989 game would not have flown today. There were wanted posters with bounty amounts for the Eagles vs. the Cowboys at Veterans Stadium, and the game ended the only way it could: With fans pelting players, referees and broadcasters with snowballs. Say what you will about the Eagles fans, they're equal-opportunity haters. This was in a game that the Eagles were winning 20-10.
The bad blood, of course, stemmed from Bounty Bowl I. During the 1989 annual Cowboys' Thanksgiving Game, which the Eagles won 27-0, then-Cowboys head coach Jimmie Johnson said that Buddy Ryan had placed a bounty on Troy Aikman and kicker Luis Zendejas. Ryan, of course, denied the allegation, making light of Johnson's comments.
What followed just two weeks later was this scene:
Verne Lundquist's dry humor makes this clip, with him saying, "I gotta tell you what a joy it is to come to Philadelphia and stand here and dodge ice balls -- not snowballs -- but ice balls about 25 of which have been thrown into the booth in the last three minutes. This is really fun."
Lundquist added to his partner in the booth, Terry Bradshaw, that "I had an abscessed tooth and had a dental appointment last Monday that didn't last this long."
Official Al Jury was knocked down when he was assaulted by snowballs, so he likely shares Lundquist's opinion.
The Wikipedia page for this event is a treat. The Eagles' Jerome Brown was pelted by his own fans when he asked them to stop, and it later came out that a future Pennsylvania governor -- Edward Rendell -- was involved in the incident. "So the former district attorney, future mayor of Philadelphia and governor of Pennsylvania walk into a football stadium..." The Eagles punished fans by banning beer sales for the final home game the next week.
Michael Irvin's career-ending injury gets cheers
You know the hush that falls over a stadium when a player is lying still on the field? Well, that wasn't the case when Michael Irvin sustained an injury in a 1999 game that left him motionless against the Eagles. Irvin wasn't moving on the field, and it was later discovered that he had, in fact, suffered the spinal injury that would effectively end his career. Eagles players talked to the fans and asked them to quiet down, but fans didn't oblige.
The video goes on for an eternity, and there are two notable spikes in noise: When Irvin initially stays down, and when the stretcher comes onto the field. It isn't uncommon for fans to cheer for a thumbs up or even a motionless player being carted off. But the fans' reaction to Irvin here was always seen as ill-mannered and almost excited. It's one of the uglier fan reactions to a player injury, and for such a promising (if tumultuous) career to be cut short in this manner is tough to watch. Irvin was no saint, but no player should get cheered for injuring their spine.
Keep in mind, that hatchet is apparently buried. Irvin is actually cheering for the Eagles in Super Bowl LII, in one of the craziest plot twists this year (although that may just be to keep the Cowboys tied with the Patriots in rings).
Fans whip (D) batteries at players
When he took the job as head coach, former Eagles quarterback Doug Pederson said that he'd be fine, because it couldn't possibly be as bad as his playing days when fans hurled batteries at him.
"Those big ones," Pederson said of his plight when he was hired in 2016. "Those 'D' ones. I was spit at. Beer (thrown at him). But hey, listen, whatever."
Whatever, indeed. Everything is coming up Doug now. Philadelphia is a tough market. The media is ruthless, the fans expect success, and the players are hungry. You have to succeed if you're going to hang around. Luckily for Pederson, he's been able to do so.
But for a new head coach to say that his new stint with the team will be fine because it can't be as the bad as the last one is a less-than-ringing endorsement. We should all thank our lucky stars Pederson got this job, though. Remember Ben McAdoo was Option A. Just imagine the angst if the Eagles had gone that route.
Fans boo Eagles' pick of Donovan McNabb
Imagine working toward a moment your entire life. You've paid your dues, you had an illustrious college career, and the second it all culminates -- the moment everything comes to fruition -- you get booed by a bunch of know-nothing fans that just wanted a running back. So it went when Donovan McNabb was taken second overall after No. 1 overall pick Tim Couch and before Ricky Williams in the 1999 NFL Draft. It's not like he did much in his career. He only went on to break franchise records in completions, yards and touchdowns and lead the Eagles to perhaps the best stretch in the franchise's history.
The player drafted after McNabb was ... clears throat ... Akili Smith. A lot of players in that draft had undoubtedly great careers. Edgerrin James (No. 4), Torry Holt (No. 6) and Champ Bailey (No. 7) were all outstanding top-10 picks. But none of them could have done for the Eagles franchise what McNabb did, even if he did make only one Super Bowl in what felt like a dominant Philadelphia stretch. McNabb is now remembered as one of the best Eagles all-time, and his return to Philadelphia was a lot more well-received.
Fans burn DeSean Jackson jerseys -- after he was cut
For whatever reason, burning jerseys has become a tradition for spurned fans and money wasters. As such, when DeSean Jackson was released during Chip Kelly's Reign of Terror as Eagles head coach, fans just wanted to join in on the fun. They responded to the trade by lighting Jackson's jersey on fire -- in a move over which he had no control whatsoever.
In what I'm dubbing the "Reverse McNabb," Eagles fans decided to completely ignore the fact that Jackson was fourth in franchise history in receiving yards, eighth in receptions and ninth in touchdowns -- and instead elected to ruthlessly shame a man that didn't choose his fate.
Eagles fans throw a cheesesteak at ejected Chris Baker
Don't throw food at players. Just don't. If you do, as he exited the field (obligatory R.I.P. Vine). Luckily for everyone involved, Baker wasn't bothered by it, and he's used to the shenanigans.. Some fans missed the memo after Redskins' defensive lineman Chris Baker was tossed during a game. A fan threw "cheesesteak innards" Baker
"Um, it just missed," Baker said of the food afterwards. "I think some tartar sauce or some mustard was thrown. But it did miss me though. It's Philadelphia. You've got to expect it."
Eagles fans won't stop punching horses
Just a little palette cleanser after the Irvin incident. Sort of, because violence against animals is the worst. For whatever reason, the new way to celebrate the playoffs in Philadelphia is by punching horses. And not any horses. Police horses. It's like they were looking for the worst idea in the world and went, "How can I make this dumber?"
Horses are terrifying. They're huge, insanely strong, and a kick from them is going to ruin your day. Never mind bucking horses. During the tailgate for Sunday's NFC Championship, riot police rode horses to break up a scuffle. Fans were bloodied and arrested. For the second time in as many weeks, a fan was arrested for punching a horse, this time a 19-year-old.
The first time it happened was arguably even worse. This fan was ejected from the divisional round game against the Falcons, and was venting his frustration by .
Presumably, the second time it happened, someone saw him get his 15 minutes and decided he wanted his. Hope it was worth it!
Honorable mention: The underdog masks
Honestly, we kind ofVikings, they won. The fan base can be forgiven for feeling disrespected, but it doesn't make these masks normal.by continually disrespecting the first seed in the NFC. This isn't malicious or bad, it's just super creepy. Yes, the Eagles lost their starting quarterback in a quarterback-centric league, but it was known that the Eagles were well-rounded. They went in as home dogs against the Falcons, they won. They went in against as home dogs to the
Other Philadelphia sports' incidents
It isn't a bad Philly fans list without noting the Phillies fan that vomited on an 11-year-old girl. To make matters worse, the vomit was self-induced, and it was the daughter of a cop. It's utterly disgusting.
And then, of course, there was Game 3 between the Capitals and Flyers in the playoffs. The Flyers scored the first goal of the game, and fans threw wristbands, which they had received to honor their former owner Ed Snider, onto the ice. The game was a fiasco, and fans were begged to stop by players. The Flyers went on to lose 6-1.
Who knows, maybe a championship will allow Philly fans to chill out. It's unlikely, and the city will likely need to be quarantined if the Eagles do win, but you never do know. Hopefully the dog masks mean that the base is trending towards "creepy" instead of "crazy," but punching police horses is not promising. Please feel free to yell at me in the comments below about "not all Eagles fans" and "all fan bases have these types." The history of violence just seems to run deeper in Philly, and this at least lends some context as to why people ---- are so scared of the Eagles fans.