The Philadelphia Eagles possess one of the most unique and diverse fan bases in the league.
Passionate has often been a term used in describing fans of the Philadelphia Eagles. They’re a group that has gained a very uneven reputation since the team’s inception in 1933. Each moment from winning the 1960 NFL Championship to the Andy Reidera and everything in between has been instrumental in adding new generations of fans.
They haven’t always shown their best face. They drink, and they can be loud, but they’re also passionate and loyal. It doesn’t matter if they live in California or in Manayunk because you’ll find them sporting an Eagles jersey. They’ll welcome you with open arms and treat you like you’ve been a friend of theirs for years.
If you’re wearing a Dallas Cowboys jersey, then you may be on the receiving end of some very foul language and some dirty looks.
In Philly, Eagles fans make headlines. Outsiders like to bring up past incidents like booing Santa Claus, which occurred almost 50 years ago. Let it go guys. Just let it go. With that being said, there are a few questions that are worth asking. One, why do Eagles fans deserve to be loved and respected? Secondly, are they one of the best fan bases in the NFL?
Loyal, Stubborn and Undying Support
There will never be an Eagles fan accused of being a “fair-weather” supporter. Those just, simply, don’t exist. During the Andy Reid era, winning divisional games in the NFC East was the norm. Donovan McNabb was the quarterback, and the team was thriving. Lincoln Financial Field, and before that, Veterans Stadium were both packed every Sunday, and even though Chip Kelly did everything he could to destroy fan support during his reign, the fans never wavered.
Loyalty exists whether this team wins or loses.
The constant hope of a fanbase:
There are seasons when the team sits at the bottom of the NFC East, and fans sound like all hope is lost. Even in those moments, fans still show up to games. Eagles fans ever seem to want to admit that the team is ever in a rebuilding season.
It happens. We all grow and move on. Denial isn’t a good look.
That’s where the stubbornness kicks in. Fans never like to admit their team sucks, and Eagles fans are no exception. They want to see their team FINALLY win a Super Bowl, and they want to see their team achieve the highest accomplishment and have a parade through Center City.
When things go wrong, it’s tough to find an Eagles fan who doesn’t have a strong opinion. It’s normally the coach or the quarterback’s fault, or the NFC East is blamed for being a cutthroat division. Their can be some vile words, but nothing is ever said with angst. It’s all a result of a mixture of frustration and that deep desire to see the team succeed.
Philadelphia gives Brotherly Love a bad name
It’s no secret that passion can manifest itself in violence and a rude nature to outside fans. Remember there was a jail in Veterans Stadium that housed its’ fair share of unruly and intoxicated spectators. According to NFL.com, most who visited weren’t even from Philadelphia, but it’s stories like that one (in addition to the battery throwing incident) that perpetuate a nasty image. They boo people. It happens quite often, and it’s a harsh reality. They even booed Donovan McNabb on draft day.
As a fan, you’ve probably left other Philadelphia sporting events and heard the heckling towards fans of opposite teams. If a Dallas fan comes to the Linc, they know what they’re getting into. It doesn’t make it right, but it happens. The reason Eagles fans are so reviled is a result of their behavior. The expression “one bad apple ruins the bunch” definitely applies here.
Letting someone know you’re an Eagles fan can elicit some pretty foul responses. That can be the norm when the team’s history is pockmarked with some pretty peculiar events. Eagles fans have booed their own athletes, and they’ve been called barbaric. Over 70 years of bad behavior will do that for you, but even a zebra can change its’ stripes.
Love them or hate them, there’s no doubting the fact that Eagles fans love their team. According to a poll done by Emory University in June 2017, Eagles fans rank third among NFL fan bases. All their stubbornness and gruff nature aside, Eagles fans love their team. They travel in rain, sleet, snow and hail to sing “Fly Eagles Fly” loud and proud. Strangers become friends and unite as one on Sundays (and the occasional Monday night game).
It’s not just a fan base. It’s a family.