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Eagles fans are the best fans

Posted by Eric Fisher On February 3

Super Bowl LII has provided more opportunities to malign Philadelphia sports fans. The fact that the game is in Minnesota, home of the Vikings, has only made the criticism worse.

There has been an avalanche of stories about the mistreatment of Vikings fans who traveled to Philadelphia for the NFC Championship Game. Some of the stories are probably even true.

In his “welcome to the Super Bowl” video, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said, “For the Eagles fans, don’t worry, we’re going to be greasing all the lamp posts so you feel right at home.” At the end of the video, in what is designed to be an outtake, Frey turns to someone off-camera and says “Are we seriously welcoming the (expletive deleted) Eagles fans?”

Although some took offense at Frey’s comments, the mayor’s verbal jabs seemed to all be in good fun. The “outtake” didn’t accidentally appear on the video that was released. Frey, 36, earned his law degree from Villanova University in 2009, so he is familiar with the passion and dedication of Eagles fans.

And let’s be honest. While complaining about the national media piling on when it comes to Eagles fans – at least one joke will be made Sunday about Eagles fans, despite the cold and snow in Minnesota, being unable to throw snowballs in an indoor stadium – we do take pride in making it difficult for opposing teams when they come to Philadelphia.

There’s no excuse for throwing bottles and cans at opposing fans. But some Eagles fans take pride in making it a bit uncomfortable or intimidating for fans wearing the opposition’s jerseys, preventing them from being overly boisterous while rooting for their teams. (I prepared my wife before she wore a Peyton Manning Colts jersey to Lincoln Financial Field for an Eagles-Colts game. She encountered some good-natured ribbing, but nothing offensive.)

Eagles fans take particular pride in making the atmosphere uncomfortable and intimidating for opposing teams. Veterans Stadium, with its rock-hard turf and the insane behavior in the 700 level, was a visiting player’s nightmare. Lincoln Financial Field isn’t quite as intimidating, but the noise level generated during the Eagles’ two playoff games this season provided a decisive homefield advantage.

Eagles players remarked about how loud The Linc was during the pregame before both playoff games. The noise level when the Falcons were trying to score at the end of the first playoff game was deafening. When Patrick Robinson returned an interception 50 yards for a momentum-changing touchdown during the NFC Championship Game, the noise level was off the charts.

As the Eagles piled up the points in the NFC Championship Game, scoring 38 in a row, the crowd grew increasingly raucous. The Vikings didn’t appear to know what hit them. In the midst of the loudest party atmosphere imaginable, the Vikings must have felt all alone, as if the whole world was against them.

Eagles fans feel as if they make a difference. Because they do.

Remember the road games in Los Angeles this season? The Chargers game sounded like an Eagles home game. The Rams game sounded, at worst, like a 50-50 split among fans. That type of support and dedication inspires Eagles players.

After the Giants game on Dec. 17, quarterback Eli Manning gave Eagles fans credit for causing a false start during a critical series in the final moments because of the noise they generated – at the Giants’ home stadium!

Fans don’t play the game, but they are part of the story with this year’s Eagles team. They feel a part of the team’s success. One reason they feel that way is that the players and head coach Doug Pederson go out of their way to praise the fans and the atmosphere they create.

I could go through a litany of misbehavior by fans’ of other teams that hasn’t resulted in the type of disdain with which Eagles fans are regarded, but that’s not necessary. There’s no need to defend Eagles fans by pointing out that other fans’ have behaved worse. Besides, that’s backhanded praise. It’s better to simply praise Eagles fans on their own merit.

Eagles fans are awesome. We saw that last spring when they flooded Benjamin Franklin Parkway for the NFL Draft. The fans’ enthusiasm turned that draft into the greatest in NFL history. (And the NFL made a mistake by not returning to Philadelphia for this year’s draft.)

Just as they turned the NFL Draft into a huge Eagles party, Eagles fans are going to do the same with Super Bowl LII.

Instead of focusing on the excesses of a few Eagles fans, such as the two knuckleheads who punched police horses during this season’s playoff games, or retelling a decades-old story about throwing snowballs at Santa Claus, the national media should emphasize the incredible passion of Eagles fans and give them the credit they deserve.

Eagles fans are the best fans in the NFL. Just ask the Eagles. And you can ask them again after their fans turn Super Bowl LII into a home-game atmosphere.

Hopefully, these wonderful fans will have the ultimate reason to celebrate Sunday … and Monday … and Tuesday … and … this celebration may never end.

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