Philadelphia Eagles fans get a bad rap, and they deserve it.
After the Eagles stomped the Vikings to capture their first NFC Championship in a decade, America was reminded why. Videos emerged of drunken morons party-rioting in the streets of Philadelphia and getting rocked by subway pillars.
It’s the latest in a long line of dumb behavior from the worst fanbase in pro sports. Eagles fans are best known for booing Santa. But they’ve also developed a special proclivity for parking lot fights, terrifying opposing fans and jeering injured opposing players.
It makes sense, given their team’s historical irrelevance. Every Philly sports team has won a championship more recently than the Eagles. They lost three NFC title games in a row in the early 2000s, finally made the Super Bowl in 2004 and lost to the Patriots. Losing has made Eagles fans preternaturally pessimistic. They’re not sore losers so much as just sore, since losing is encoded in their DNA. Because of this, the fanbase embodies every ugly football fan trope with full force—it’s a drunk, idiotic hivemind that places an absurd amount of value on wins and losses. They literally have to spell their team’s name to remind themselves who they’re rooting for.
And yet when I saw footage of an Eagles fan driving a goddamn ATV up the famous “Rocky steps” at the Philadelphia Art Museum last week, I smiled. When drunken fans conquered the greased street poles, I laughed. I sensed the pain this was relieving. I could feel their inebriated joy. For the first time in years, this miserable horde of people actually felt a return on the investment of their misplaced devotion.
Finally their debauchery had actual purpose. A light emerged at the end of the tunnel. And I realized I actually admire their underdog status and collective obsession. I have a weird respect for their perverted sense of community. Even if that community comes with shitty behavior and high rates of alcoholism. Football brings people in Philadelphia together, and that solidarity is what makes sports great.
But you know what’s better than that sense of community? Super Bowl championships. The Giants, my favorite team, have four. The Patriots have five. And the Eagles, bless their hearts, have zero. For the safety of everyone in the tri-state area, let’s hope it stays that way. Even if that means Trump-loving diva Tom Brady gets another ring.