By Dave Spadaro
The reputation nationally labels Philadelphia sports fans — particularly those who follow the Eagles — as bullies who are so terrible that they boo Santa Claus, for goodness sakes.
The narrative, then, is not complimentary in any way. Basically, the rest of the world thinks we’re nasty and classless.
And the rest of the world is wrong.
What Eagles fans are, as they demonstrated again on Sunday when the team played at the Los Angeles Chargers at StubHub Center, is incredibly loyal, passionate and hungry for this football team to win a Super Bowl.
Eagles fans dominated the 25,374 in attendance at the StubHub Center with chants of E-A-G-L-E-S, EAGLES! and LET’S GO EAGLES throughout the game, overwhelming the shrinking Chargers fan base and turning Philadelphia’s third road game in four weeks into a cozy, home-feel affair.
“It’s incredible how the fans support this team on the road,” tight end Zach Ertz said after the 26–24 Eagles win. “Usually, you’re on the road and it’s a hostile environment and for an offense, you have to prepare for the noise. The silent count comes into play because you just can’t hear the quarterback when you’re lined up wide.
“But these fans are always with us on the road. In Washington, the place was packed with Eagles fans. We could hear them from the minute we ran onto the field. In Kansas City, it wasn’t quite as prominent and you have to give a nod to the Chiefs fans who don’t give up their tickets. Here, the place was swarming with Eagles fans.”
Boo Santa Claus? If you know the story, the guy (the late Frank Olivo, a 19-year-old kid in 1968) understood that the fans were booing a 2–11 team that was absolutely miserable. The boos were not directed at Santa Claus. They were directed at a terrible team. But that doesn’t stop the national media from running with the story. The facts, though, say something different about Eagles fans.
The facts say that Eagles fans are going to be there, through the good times and the bad times. Not every football team can say that of their fans.
“They follow them as well on the road as they do at home. It’s a religion for these fans,” said Craig “Quimby” Chenosky, who is in his 15th season of running the fan travel group Green Legion, which averages 400 to 500 fans for each Eagles road game. “They have an incredible passion for this football team. Sunday is a religious day, and the Eagles are these fans’ religion. It’s a different kind of fan base and it’s awesome.”
The Eagles agree. The players appreciate it. They see it, they feel it, they hear it and they love it.
“You know you’re going to get the fans’ best every single game and you have to be prepared to give them your best,” defensive end Brandon Graham said. “I know that I love it. The fans, they fire me up. They’re so into it that they get me even more excited.”