The reputation of Philadelphia Eagles fans in general ranges from passionate and supportive to childish, demanding, harsh and downright obnoxious. To a certain degree, all of those descriptions are true.
However, Eagles fans are also stereotyped too often and get a bad rap for things that were misunderstandings.
Things like the booing of Santa Claus and the cheering of Michael Irvin’s career-ending injury are two of the most blown out of proportion examples that people always bring up when criticizing Eagles fans.
They’re like urban legends now. The funny thing is, if you were there or researched those events, you’d know that the “stories” aren’t telling you the whole truth.
The booing of Santa happened towards the end of a losing, brutal season and fans were frustrated. Furthermore, the real story is that the guy who was supposed to play Santa didn’t make it to the stadium so the Eagles decided to pick Joe Shmo from the crowd and dress him in a crappy Santa outfit, then parade him around the field.
Fans weren’t really booing Santa, per-say, they were booing the lousy season, the lousy game they were watching at the time, and the fact that the team put on display a Santa that probably looked like a drunk wino from the back alley behind the stadium.
And for the Irvin incident, I was actually at that game. What the context of this urban legend doesn’t tell you is that the play on which he was hurt was a third-down play that was not converted.
Therefore, as you would expect, fans cheered the fact that the Eagles were forcing Dallas to punt. Once Irvin’s injury became apparent, the crowd quieted down. Then, they cheered as they carted him off as is customary for fans in most stadiums as a show of support for the player.
Unfortunately, those things took on a life of their own and people only hear the headlines and don’t know the context or back-story to what actually happened (and why).
All in all, those are just generalities that the outside world pigeon-holes Eagles fans with. Sure, we can be harsh and “crazy” (reputations that die-hards embrace), but the truth is that, individually, we are much like that of any fans of any other sports teams.
Before reading any further, check out this article titled “The 20 Types of Depressed Sports Fans“, written by Sean McIndoe at grantland.com. In a humorous manner that I’m sure you’ll relate to, that article perfectly describes the majority of fans in every fan-base, including Philly.
I’d be surprised if you didn’t find that you fit at least one of those types, if not several of them.
If you’re like me, you’ll probably see types that you used to be and the type you are now. It’s almost like an “evolution” of your fan mentality.
During my teenage years, I was definitely fan type numbers 1 and 8. I used to get so friggin’ mad when the Eagles lost or played horribly that I would ultimately break something in my house. This is why I used to watch the games primarily by myself because I knew I was just a tad more “passionate” than the average fan.
Once I finally out-grew that type of behavior (or grew tired of replacing stuff), I evolved into a combination of several of the other types listed. Numbers 2, 6, 9, 10 and 11 are pretty much what described me for the longest time.
Hell, I still am most of those things from time to time. My most common reaction during games when something goes wrong is “WTF!!!” (No. 2), followed by “what the F are you doing?! (No. 11).
If a few bad things happen in succession, I immediately turn into No. 9 with statements like “it’s over” (yet it’s still the first quarter) or “the defense won’t stop them” or “you know <insert QB name> won’t bring them back”.
After a loss, I may have a few moments of numbers 6 and 10. “Why on earth did Reid call that play?” Why didn’t Vick see that wide open receiver?” Why are Eagles fans so tortured?” I knew that was gonna happen!
However, since I’ve found an outlet by writing this blog about the team, I’ve been able to get some qualities of numbers 18 and 20. I am more able to quickly resolve my frustration and anger in order to maintain an objective view point of what just happened and why.
Instead of brooding, I go into analysis mode. Of course, I may write a scathing article after a horrible loss, but my view point is always backed up by facts and logic. I don’t just go on some tirade and spout obscenities that lack common sense about what the problems really are.
In fact, I like being around negative fans after a loss because it puts me in a position to defend the Eagles and explain why something happened the way it did.
For example, I always hear blanket statements after a bad game like “Vick sucks.” Initially, I probably agree when I’m still in the heat of the moment. But, when I hear someone else say it just so “matter of factly”, I start looking at reasons why he had a bad game.
Maybe on those interceptions the protection broke down too early, or someone failed to pick up the blitz, or the hot receiver failed to run the correct route. Perhaps two of his three interceptions were passes that bounced off a receivers hands.
I look for explanations instead of blindly making a blanket statement. If I still come to the same conclusion, at least it’s after looking at things objectively. However, many times I come to different conclusions after going into analysis mode.
The best kind of fans that aren’t really described in that article are the “balls to the wall” fans. They think the Eagles are going to destroy every opponent who gets in their way and they’re faith in the team is blind.
They’re the ones at the games who get everyone else fired up and ready to go. They lead the E-A-G-L-E-S EAGLES! cheers in the stands and usually remain optimistic, no matter how bad things get.
Other types of fans I enjoy at the games are the “sarcastic fans”.
They are the types that shout sarcastic comments about specific players or the head coach. “Hey Andy, nice play call with the double reverse on third and inches that lost 10 yards!” Or sometimes they’ll get the fans to engage in a “let’s go Flyers…clap, clap…clap clap clap” chant when the Eagles are stinkin’ it up.
One of my favorite examples of such sarcasm was when some fans made a sign that said “Are We Insane Yet?”, which was directed at former Eagles president Joe Banner after he made his infamous statement about the definition of insanity after their playoff game loss to Dallas the season before.
Anyway, Eagles fans are fickle, just like fans of all other sports teams. Collectively, we may be a little more harsh than others, but that’s because we truly care about the team.
What kind of Eagles fan are you?