Before we get into the crux of this here topic, allow me to touch on the obvious: yes, I am an ardent, avid, staunch, voracious, and sometimes borderline homicidal Eagles fan. In years past, I’ve dyed my hair green, chanted the Eagles fight-song in my head at weddings, birthday parties and wakes, owned jerseys of players I’d like to forget and players I will always remember. Eagles fans are not better fans because we are Eagles fans; nay, nay, we are better because as a collective group united as one fan base, we become our team. However; it is crucial to understand that our fan base is an army of subgroups that when combined, can wow you with knowledge, amaze you with our fervor, and if you don’t come correct, will hit you with fists. I’m kidding; we hit you with snowballs (if you’re Santa…and that narrative is complete bunk, by the way), or we throw up on your kids (that actually does happen in Philadelphia).
If you are an Eagles fan, you will most likely find your fan type listed below. If I missed any, feel free to contact me and we will make sure this list is air tight.
A highly volatile individual, the lunatic is the guy that scoffs at things like windchill. -10 degrees? Shirts are for p#$%^&. He’s the guy with Smurfish blue skin, nipples like doorstops, and a blood alcohol level that defies human comprehension. He screams until there are no screams left to give. His neck looks constantly constricted; as though flexing his windpipe for the world to see. He stands shirtless for three hours while temperatures drop and blood alcohol levels rise.
The lunatic is the guy that does not care how the Eagles win, so long as they win. He more than likely chuckled when Michael Irvin’s career ended at the Vet and wrote anywhere between eight and 346 letters to Donovan McNabb after we lost the Super Bowl. He most likely hails from the Northeast, gives directions by referencing bars instead of streets, and once got into a fight with someone over a lawn chair in a parking spot after a snowstorm.
The lunatic is a liability due to his explosive personality and affinity for all words vulgar. (I’m no prude but these are the kinda guys that throw effin’ between “Merry” and “Christmas.”) They are great to have around if a scuffle were to break out because these are also the type of guys that will get into a fistfight with a streetlight and win.
**Also, this fan owns pieces of player paraphernalia that can’t be authenticated. “Seth Joyner once blew his nose in this napkin. Randall Cunningham once used this toilet seat. I saw him at the King of Prussia mall, he walked into the bathroom, took a dump, and I took the toilet seat.”
Do you know the song My Chick Bad by Ludacris? Well, the Ludacris’tina fan is of the female persuasion and knows her football front and back. She does not use terms like, “Quarterbacky Guy” and the “Ball Catcher Guy.” They know every position, listen to sports talk radio daily, question the front office’s decision-making, and never, ever back down when it comes to showing support for their favorite football team.
They know the difference between a nickel and a dime defense and will talk about Buddy Ryan defenses like it’s Sunday and you’re at church. The Ludacris’tina may be modest and professional during all other times of her life, but looks nauseated at the mention of Eli Manning, laughs at the Redskins as a whole, and can’t say Dallas without throwing a very descriptive verb before mentioning the Cowboys.
Now, the Ludacris’tina fan is not to be confused with the Nikki Minaj’er type fan: fake, clueless, and only at the game because, “their boyfriend, like, totally got them tickets.” The Nikki Minaj’er is NOT part of the fan base. Most fans tolerate them because, well, women in football jerseys is just a sexy look. Sex appeal and misogyny aside, these are the best fans because they don’t call and ask if they should pick up wings for the game, they just get them.
Ray Didinger is kind of like the Moses of Eagles football. He did not invent the game or start the organization; he just knows damn near every piece of knowledge one should know about the Birds. A “DoppleDidiGanger” sounds an awful lot like the actual Ray Didi.
Schooled in the history and operations of the Eagles, this is the person that schools others on the actual history of their team. A person that can talk about the famed legacy of Pete Pihos while others scratch their head and wonder if Pete Pihos was a utility player for the Phillies in the early 80’s.
These are the fans that understand the science and the art of being a fan. They weave immense knowledge with a resplendent and mesmerizing prose that makes the team you love, that much more loveable. The most important characteristic of a “DoppleDidiGanger” is their poise under pressure. An insufferable loss looks like a learning experience, an incredible blowout is a time to reflect on what worked and no matter what, they keep their wits about them.
They are guided by pragmatism and experience. Their ability to dissect and analyze without having to battle with bias and partiality is zen-like.
The fatalist can be a bit dramatic at times. They like that stewing and simmering feeling one gets from lamenting over that which is already done. They call three days after a botched field goal and question the decision to keep Cody Parkey by using the argument, “If the Colts didn’t want him, why should we pick him up?”
When dealing with a Fatalist, one has to prepare for the minutia of the Fatalist’s knowledge. This is the same person that will remind you that a fourth string linebacker once kicked field goals in High School. “So, he can like, kick and tackle and then it’s like two players in one!” There’s no arguing with a fatalist because even though they provide “solutions” to problems from week to week, they are eternally convinced that something, no matter how perfect the situation, will still go wrong.
They do not undermine the essence and spirit of the team; they are too caught up in a history of not winning a Super Bowl. These are the people who get the most upset even though their first inclination is to say, “I told you so.” Usually in their 40’s and 50’s, these are the generations of the “so close” group, bound by the overwhelming need to say their team won the Super Bowl.
THE SMARTY JONES’ER
Like the storied racehorse straight from Philly’s backyard that wowed the horse racing world in 2004, the Smarty Jones’er is a fan that loves the Eagles because they are from Philadelphia. Philadelphia sports fans are often buried in the muck of other teams’ success. The Smarty Jones’er knows that winning it all may be a long shot, but we are undeterred.
How many rings have the Eagles won? Say “0” and the conversation is over. The Eagles fans are the worst fans in sports! Oh, really? Hmmm, cause the last time I checked, no one was ever killed at an Eagles game. Oh, we threw snowballs at a fictitious character that makes kids believe this magic man drops off toys and electronics out of the kindness of his heart? Imagine if snowballs were thrown at Santa because he was a drunken, last-minute replacement and the fans were tired of seeing marginal play their team and a Santa that looked more at home bellied up at a bar than greeting children at a mall.
Philadelphia is a classless city. Yeah, you’re right. We don’t have world-class restaurants, performance centers, stadiums, hospitals, Colleges and Universities, museums, or landscape. Our brethren consist of mouth breathing, knuckle dragging buffoons that communicate with simple grunts and pointing. We wear animal pelts and hunt for food in the heart of Center City. We loathe babies and children, push old people into traffic, and our favorite pastime is poo-flinging.
If you’re a Smarty Joneser type fan, you know the truth behind the lies, aren’t afraid to question the coach when he makes a decision that is questionable, will quickly turn around and admit when they are wrong (usually), and DVR’s games so they can go back and watch each play so that when they call into the local radio show on Monday morning, they have their facts straight.
A Smarty Jones’er knows what the ultimate goal is but appreciates a good race. A Smarty Jones’er will lament the loss but will immortalize the player that gave it his all and will quickly admonish the player that did not show up to play. We believe players should leave it all on the field. Whether we are blue-collar workers with sandpaper hands and squared jaws or a $1,000 suit wearing, courtroom running, big deal negotiating, sale closing white-collar fan, we don’t just watch the Eagles, we are the Eagles.
Philadelphia is a city rich with history. While many Eagles fans may have never stepped foot in the Philadelphia Art Museum, gazed upon the Liberty Bell in real life, taken a class at Penn or been on a walking tour of Philadelphia’s historic downtown, an overwhelming majority of its citizens and those in the surrounding area identify with the Eagles because we LOVE our team.
When Brian Dawkins left the Eagles and joined the Broncos, our city felt decimated. We were not betrayed by a greedy player looking for the big payday, we were betrayed by the very team we love so much. A cornerstone of our defense and an iconic player with his own alter-ego, Brian’s departure felt like a terrible break up.
When Jerome Brown died, though only a small child, I remember crying because, like myself, thousands of young boys aspired to be just like Jerome. Reggie White left the Eagles to play for the Green Bay Packers and many, myself included, hoped that if it was not the Eagles year to win, that Reggie would get a ring.
If a player demonstrates heart and plays accordingly, we are quick to give our hearts to them.
Whether someone lives in a Brownstone in Rittenhouse Square, a row home in North, South, or West Philly, or they reside in a quaint little town outside of Philly proper, the Philadelphia Eagles are the roots of one immense family tree. We win together, we lose together, and when the dust settles each week during the football season, we are looking ahead to the next game together.
Say what you want about Philadelphia Eagles fans and I know someone with an indignant comment about why the Eagles suck will surface, remember the words that I wrote here are a testimony to a word that our formidable coach, Chip Kelly, truly believes in: culture.
We are not just a fan base, we are a culture. We may not literally bleed green, but I will be damned if our heartbeats do not, from time to time, beat to the cadence of an E-A-G-L-E-S chant. This is not about what team has the best fans; we already know the answer to that. This is about identifying with our warrior animal. The Eagle!
Outsiders can mock, question, ridicule, attack, denigrate, lie about, or ignore us all they want. Like an Allen Iverson tattoo, we are “CRU THIK.”