They're at it again, and this time it's GQ Magazine taking unfair and inaccurate shots at Eagles fans, calling you "The Meanest Sports Fans In America," part of the magazine's "Worst Fans In America" piece. They just don't understand, do they? They obviously don't get Philadelphia, and when they say "mean," we think passion. Our fans are invested. I'm here to say that I'm with you. I'm one of you. And it burns me up to read this sort of stuff.
And the Eagles sure as heck take offense to any magazine or poll that suggests you are the worst. The Eagles, with Andy Reid championing the cause, think you are the very best of the best.
"Our fans deserve nothing but praise for the way they support the Eagles and every other team in town," said Reid, after he was informed about the *GQ *story. "Believe me, I was on the other side of that when I was coming in as an opponent. I always said, 'Boy, you'd love to play for that crew there.' The fans here are unbelievable. They're fair. If we stink they let us know we stink. If we're doing OK they let us know we're doing OK, but they're always there.
"And that's what matters most, in my opinion. My hat is off to them and that support is phenomenal, absolutely phenomenal."
The link is right here. Read at your peril, and don't gnash your teeth too much, OK?
I see Eagles fans for what they really, truly are: Incredibly passionate, caring, intelligent and, yeah, vocal. So what? Is that a big deal? I appreciate the emotion. I appreciate the fact that Eagles fans will go to all corners of the earth – Philadelphia, Lehigh University, every road game, international preseason games in the past years – to support the team. I love the fans who live here, and who live throughout the country and those many from other parts of the world who have made the Eagles theirs.
Maybe we should consider what GQ wrote as a positive thing. The Eagles have the greatest fans in the world. Go ask a player who has been a member of another NFL team what it's like to wake up on a hot summer morning at Lehigh University and drive over the hill and dress for a morning training camp practice and see 10,000 fans lined up and lathered and ready to go to scream their lungs out for a summer practice. Ask coaches who come from other NFL outposts what the fans are like here, whether it is training camp or more than 30,000 fans who visit Lincoln Financial Field for Flight Night! or who take over road stadiums and color that venue with Midnight Green to support the Eagles far, far away from Philadelphia.
We hear stories every day of fans who sing the fight song at their weddings, and who treat game day like a holiday and throw parties and paint themselves green, and of those who show up at 6 a.m. for a home game and make Sunday the most special day of the week. We hear it all, right down to naming kids after players, to decorating themselves with Eagles artwork and of turning their homes into Eagles shrines.
So instead of lamenting the fact that a fan may boo if a receiver drops a pass in training camp – that's a fan who simply loves the Eagles, not a bad fan – let's consider what we're talking about here. The Eagles, for example, opened an official Facebook page eight months ago and already more than 815,000 of you "like" us. The gamers and the younger generation out there made the Eagles the most-played team in Madden Football in 2010.
When the Eagles played Dallas in late December, the game generated more than 19 million of you watching, making that the most-watched fall program in the five-year history of NBC's Sunday Night's Football in America. Look, I'm here every day writing and in the Discussion Boards and you are always there with a smile or a scowl, and sometimes both.
I could go on and on. The fans are great. Demanding? Yes, of course. Vocal? You bet! I love it. You go to some NFL cities and the fans sit on their hands and don't know what to do when their team is losing. Here, the fans express their opinions. That doesn't make them bad fans. That just shows how into a game and how into the team they truly are.
Articles like the one in GQ Magazine perpetuate a myth about Philadelphia sports fans that some around the country just don't understand. Yeah, Eagles fans have their warts, but who doesn't? See, the Eagles are more than just a football team to the fans in this city and this region and, of course, for those hundreds of thousands of fans around the world.
Thanks for being the BEST fans a team could ever have. Don't change a single thing!