University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Philly Fans: City of Brotherly Love
“A true Philadelphia fan learns to boo before he learns to speak.” A quote that is not as exaggerated as it seems. In Philadelphia people are outspoken and live by the way they cheer, brutal. Philadelphia “fanatics” are the most rowdy fans in all of sports. This is proven by events such as throwing snowballs at Santa Claus, booing Michael Irving after a career ending injury, and the installment of a court inside the Eagles late Veterans Stadium.
One example as to why people across the nation believe Philly fans to be the worst fans in sports is the legendary pelting of jolly old St. Nick. In 1968, Eagles fans booed and then pelted a man dressed as Santa Claus who was part of a halftime ceremony. Stories vary on the legendary incident as to why it happened. In 2003, the same man was asked to appear in the same Santa suit at a Sixers game, and as before, he was booed again.
Another famous event that shows the rowdiness of dedicated Philadelphians is on October 11, 1999, when Cowboys receiver Michael Irvin suffered a career-ending neck injury at “the Vet”. Fans cheered as Irvin was crumpled on the ground. This goes to show if you’re a future hall of famer, but you happen to play for Dallas, you will still get booed. Although booing someone is all a part of sports, Philly fans seem to do it at the most unnecessary of times which give them the persona of rowdy.
Another huge example as to why Philly fans have the reputation they do is because of the extremes of what happens at the sporting events. From time to time a game could go from having fun drinking a couple beers chanting “asshole” to the next Redskins fan you see walking by, to a huge brawl in the infamous 700 level at Veterans Stadium. The common occurrence of violence during Eagles’ games became so bad that Philadelphia installed a court, judge and jail inside Veterans Stadium.
If being so passionate about your team leads to booing a crippled hall of famer, pelting Santa with snowballs, and the installment of a court system in your football team’s stadium means you’re rowdy. Every person wearing a green jacket on Sunday, waving a rally towel at Citizens Bank Park, or booing opposing teams at the Wells Fargo Center will gladly accept the “rowdy” nickname. What others take as rowdiness Philadelphians take as passion for their city and teams.