The most hostile crowd

The most hostile crowd

PHILADELPHIA | It happened in 1968, but the event is still part of Philadelphia folklore. The fiery Eagles fans attacked none other than Santa, booing and throwing snowballs at him. The enduring anecdote shows how unique Eagles fans are in making life miserable for their visitors.

It’s hard to imagine how loud the 69,000 crowd at Lincoln Financial Field will be tomorrow when it’s time to support their Eagles and give the 49ers their signature welcome to the National Conference Finals.

One thing is for sure, the reputation of die-hard Eagles supporters stretches well beyond Philadelphia. So much so that yesterday during head coach Nick Sirianni’s press conference, a journalist from Germany asked him about the mistreatment of opposing teams… and dear Santa Claus!

“It’s not for nothing that we still talk about it! replied the delighted pilot.

“Our audience inspires us and makes life difficult for other teams. Backers can be very hostile. I’ve been on the coaching staff of other teams here before and I know how intimidating it is.

“As players and coaches, we have to treat this game like any other. Fans aren’t like that. They will be excited about what is at stake and I encourage them to be. It’s going to be a great atmosphere! ‘ he added with a mischievous smile.

A unique reputation

Last weekend, while the Giants were in Philadelphia, the New York Post called Eagles Stadium “the house of horrors” on its sports front page.

A few years ago, a poll by GQ magazine declared Philadelphia fans the “worst at sports.”


This week, 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel hinted that the Philadelphia crowd wouldn’t be any louder than the 49ers fans.

49ers ace tackle Trent Williams has fed his fill many times in his illustrious career, adding another story to history.

Whoever spent his first nine seasons in Washington, as a former division rival, had the unparalleled fortune of visiting the “Linc” nine times.

“This place is much more than noise. Philadelphia is a market where fans really make a difference. They have a knack for playing in our heads. They yell at us and never stop. As soon as you enter the stadium, they make you feel unwelcome,” he said.

The times have changed

But even as the atmosphere heats up at Lincoln Financial Field, the fans’ image is no longer that of the unleashed era of the defunct Veterans Stadium.

In a November 1997 game, ironically against the 49ers, many fights broke out between fans of both teams.

The Eagles’ management had decided to address this recurring problem by establishing a prison and real courthouse for the hitters in the catacombs of the old stadium. Judge Seamus P. McCaffrey, who presided over the Court of Eagles hearings, had become a true celebrity in Philadelphia.

Those days are gone, but the energy will be at its peak, like it was at the last final on site in January 2018.

“It was so electric! I’ve never had such an intimidating experience,” recalled Eagles defense coordinator Jonathan Gannon, who was part of the Vikings five years ago, dejectedly on that fateful day.


gone but not forgotten


Photo Stephane Cadorette

Many jokingly say that the NFL stands for “Not for Long”. You tend to agree when you walk past Lincoln Financial Field, home of the Eagles, and see a statue of quarterback Nick Foles and head coach Doug Pederson. The pair left their mark on Philadelphia forever in Super Bowl 52, and the statue commemorates the moment they discussed the now-famous Philly Special game. Five years later, Foles left and became a reservist, never earning anything elsewhere. Pederson now manages the Jaguars. Gone from the Philadelphia sports scene but never forgotten!

The sports district


Photo Stephane Cadorette

A few miles south of downtown Philadelphia, sports enthusiasts will find it all in the Sports Complex area. Adjacent to Eagles Stadium is Wells Fargo Arena, home of the Flyers and 76ers, and the Phillies’ Citizens Bank Park. The arena is the local dean, having opened in 1996, while the Eagles (2003) and the Phillies (2004) followed. The City of Philadelphia estimates that this playground for sports enthusiasts attracts approximately 7 million visitors annually who attend approximately 380 events. In January only nine days are vacant and sometimes days are filled with two events. That’s the case tomorrow, with the Villanova University basketball at 12 p.m. in the arena and the Eagles in Linc at 3 p.m.

The famous Philly cheesesteaks


Photo Stephane Cadorette

Going to Philadelphia without biting into one of its famous “Philly Cheesesteaks” would almost be considered an affront to the local gastronomy! Jokes aside, this submarine-style sandwich with sliced ​​beef and melted cheese has been a hit with locals and tourists alike since the 1930s. Of course, many restaurants pride themselves on serving the best in town. One of the city center’s most popular spots at lunchtime is the Reading Terminal Market, where the kiosks serving this signature dish rub shoulders with countless other stalls selling all kinds of food.

Big challenge for young Brock Purdy

In eight games so far, Brock Purdy has thrown 16 touchdown passes.

Photo: AFP

In eight games so far, Brock Purdy has thrown 16 touchdown passes.

To date, young 49ers sensation Brock Purdy has appeared in eight games, just two of them on the road. It’s a heavy command awaiting the quarterback in hostile Philadelphia terrain.

The sample is small, but Purdy has looked good in his two away games with two wins, four touchdowns and one interception. He even orchestrated a 10-point comeback in the second half in Las Vegas.

However, his best preparation for the challenge ahead came in Week 15 at a very noisy Seattle stadium. Even if the amplitude of the moment will be in a completely different order of magnitude.

“When we played in Seattle, coach [Kyle] Shanahan said it’s a good situation for what we could potentially see in Philadelphia in the playoffs. These very noisy games are all about communication, how to manage the scrum and how to start play properly at the line of scrimmage. That’s what we’ve focused on this week and it’s going to be a big deal for us,” Purdy said at a briefing in Santa Clara.

respect for the opponent

The seventh-round pick in the final draft will seek to become the first rookie quarterback in NFL history to win a Conference Finals game. He would also become the first rookie center to win three playoff games.

Purdy represents one of the big stories at Goodell Circuit this season and the Eagles are far from crying mirages, quite the contrary.

“Too many people categorize players by their draft rank. He plays really well. He’s proven he can win big games. He’s surrounded very well on offense, which helps him make good decisions,” said linebacker TJ Edwards.

A course followed

Eagles driver Nick Sirianni was once the teammate and roommate of Matt Campbell, Purdy’s head coach at Iowa State University. So he’s been following Purdy’s career with interest long before he unexpectedly blossomed this fall.

“I could see he was a winner and he’s still making the big games when it comes to wins,” he said this week of the 23-year-old quarterback.

Additionally, the four quarterbacks in the four Aces have an average age of 25 years and 98 days, which is unheard of according to NFL Research.

“It’s good for the league,” Sirianni said. The more young quarterbacks play at a high level, the more exciting the sport becomes. »