It was a Friday night in late September 2007. The Phillies had just beaten the Nationals to inch closer to the first of their five-straight NL East crowns. I was walking back to my car in the Jetro lot under I-95 when I saw it happen. There was this guy wearing a Mets Mike Piazza jersey. Three Phillies fans went up to him, ripped the jersey right off, and stomped on it. Seemed appropriate. But then I recall one of the guys bending over and lighting it on fire, while his more responsible friend extinguished it–by taking a raging piss on it.
Mind you, this was done in the midst of a celebration. Something tells me the mood won’t be quite so happy in the Jetro lot come tonight when the Eagles host the Panthers at Lincoln Financial Field. In fact, this has disaster written all over it. Let us count the ways:
1) The Eagles are fucking putrid. I’m not sure that I’ve ever seen a more heartless defense in my entire life. Forget the inept offense for a minute–just focus on the defense. They don’t strike fear into opponents. They can’t force turnovers, they can’t get to the quarterback, and they don’t want to hit. Someone somewhere along the way challenged this team to grow a dick and hit someone. They clearly didn’t respond. I don’t care if they go out there and get lit up for 300+ yards passing tonight, but somebody needs to make someone hurt. Hit them during warmups, after the play, lead with the helmet and draw a fucking flag. It doesn’t matter, but just do something. That it hasn’t happened yet is shameful, so expect more of the same two-hand touch/”Gee, I hope DeMeco tackles him” bullshit tonight. Fans aren’t going to like that.
2. The Panthers are fucking putrid. Carolina is 2-8 and they’re favored on the road. There exists a strong possibility that a terrible team is going to come into Philadelphia and kick the shit out of the Eagles on national television. Fans really aren’t going to like that.
3. This crowd will be, uh, different. It’s not that the place won’t be packed tonight–it will. It’s just going be a different type of clientele. I’ve long complained that the Linc is too corporate and that it needs a little nastiness injected by some pissed off 20-somethings. Tonight we’ll finally see that. Something tells me the corporate executives upper-middle class folk that have seats to tonight’s game are looking to save themselves the time/money/agony, particularly since tickets are going for $20. And you can bet your balls those tickets will be purchased by people less concerned with observing the maturation of Nick Foles and the debut of second-round pick Vinny Curry and more concerned with getting fucked up and starting shit. I respect that.
4. It’s going to be cold as fuck and the game is on national television. You know Eagles fans will be on their “best” behavior. Sometime in third quarter when the Eagles are trailing 23-7, the cameras will pan around the stadium and show a bunch of angry people who can’t feel their limbs, holding up signs with messages ranging from anything about the head coach’s weight to how he should contemplate killing himself. I think when you take into account the tailgating scene, the younger crowd, the weather, and the fact that they’ll be watching one of the worst prime time games in recent memory (combined records are 5-15), there’s an outstanding chance that the fans will become the story tonight.