That’s right and proud of it.
We embrace it and don’t care. So what if we’re mean? The majority of the time it’s warranted and we’re simply matching the energy given to us.
If you were told you were terrible 24/7, wouldn’t you get tired of hearing it? We’re a northeastern sports city and consistent heartbreak makes us emotional. We’ve heard about “snowballs at Santa,” the “JD Drew” incident, and “Michael Irvin” more times than we can count. The horse has been dead for ages, and outsiders continue to beat it.
For every Philly incident, there’s one in another sports city. Are there fans that take it too far? Yes, and we generally condemn them. In a weird way we’re so bad we’re good, and that makes us the best.
“Philly fans mistreat their players!” Wrongo
“A true Philadelphia fan learns to boo, before he learns to speak” – Al Michaels
Yes, we can be mean and nasty sometimes, but we’re a very educated fan base that cares deeply for the players who wear the Philadelphia colors. Player mistreatment is the biggest misconception in Philly sports fandom, and there are plenty of athletes that can shoot down this narrative.
Just listen to “the man of the people” Jason Kelce with his brutally honest take on Philly fans:
“This city really appreciates accountability, appreciates people being very honest, real, emotionally invested, caring. Do you want to be loved in this city as a baseball player? Run to first base. They’re going to [expletive] love you. That’s what it comes down to.”
“If you come up here and make a bunch of excuses and try to lie to them and act like they don’t know what they’re talking about – which sometimes they don’t – but when you act that way or when you aren’t accountable if you’re making mistakes or you’re not getting better or anything like that, they’re going to crush you.”
For Philadelphia fans, there are few things in life more important than sports. Our passion and intelligence are unmatched, and our desire to win cannot be tamed. It’s easy to be loved in Philadelphia, believe it or not.
100% Effort = 100% Brotherly Love
All we ask for is our players to give consistent effort and for them to give 100% every game. In Philly, we put our hearts and souls into our fandom, and we expect the guys on the field to do the same when it comes to playing.
It doesn’t matter if said players failed to bring home a championship. We memorize the Eagles schedule, show up and sell out games at the Linc, travel all over the US and take over other stadiums (Like Las Vegas in 2021). We do all this every single season, no matter how frustrated the team has us. I mean, there’s actually a 30-year waiting list for an Eagles season ticket license.
If athletes give us love, we’ll love them in return. We’re not as complex as we are made out to be.
Brian Dawkins, Mike Richards, Chase Utley, Allen Iverson and many more can vouch for heartwarming standing ovations in their returns to Philly.
- Donovan McNabb got an ovation in an awful Washington uniform, for crying out loud.
- The fans stood by Lane Johnson and Brandon Brooks when both dealt with mental health issues.
- After hating the initial signing, fans openly embraced Michael Vick once he paid for his mistakes and worked to better himself.
- Ron Jaworski said fans booing him built his character and made him who he was as a Philadelphia athlete.
Holding athletes/coaches responsible for their own failures.
There is a notion that Philadelphia fans run athletes and coaches out of town. The reality is, that departures are generally warranted, due to an era running its course or a player’s unwillingness to improve.
- All Ben Simmons had to do was at least TRY TO improve offensively and take responsibility for his poor performance against the Atlanta Hawks.
- Fans would likely have embraced him the following season, but because he refused to improve or care, the fans got blamed.
- He chose to sit out and sulk instead of facing things directly.
Colin Cowherd once accused Philly fans of running Andy Reid out of town. Philly still loves Andy Reid and gave him a great reception in his return. The time just ran its course and it’s clear he wasn’t going to win here. Andy Reid still speaks highly of the Eagles organization and fans.
Donovan McNabb is responsible for one of the best eras in Eagles history. Okay fine, he got booed on draft day. But that was the work of thirty sports-talk-radio-fanboys who call themselves the “Dirty Thirty.” 30 inebriated Eagles fans who show up to the NFL Draft in NYC do not represent the entire Philly fan base. Plus, that was more about not getting Ricky Williams, than drafting 5.
Let’s not forget that Philadelphia fans voted McNabb as the best quarterback in Eagles history, and is still overall loved by many. His high level of play deteriorated and injuries pulled up, which is why he was traded.
- The J.D Drew saga is an example of Scott Boras calling the shots and the Phillies offering what they felt was necessary. His departure was still blamed on fans.
- Andrew Bynum wasn’t run out of town. He suffered repeated “injuries” and decided to get paid without ever touching the court.
- He refused to put the effort in to get back in shape & stole millions from the team.
- This would frustrate any fanbase after an alleged “blockbuster trade.”
Athletes actually love & respect Philly fans. Seriously.
It’s actually quite amazing. The love for Philly fans comes not just from former Philadelphia athletes or lifers, but players who came from other cities to play here, as well as athletes who have never been part of a Philly team.
Believe it or not, we get plenty of love from current and former pro athletes that have experienced our passion first hand and it far outweighs the hate. But it’s the national media’s job to create juicy stories so that usually means picking the low-hanging fruit and portraying us in a certain way. But that’s OK with us… Again, no one likes us, we don’t care!
In fact, a few days ago one beloved future NBA Hall of Famer said on national television that Philadelphia…
“is THE greatest sports town in America!”
Without any hesitation, he made sure to emphasize the “THE” after his TV colleague stated that Philadelphia was, “ONE of the best…” – This man was former Philadelphia 76ers sharpshooter and fan-favorite, J.J. Reddick.
This statement really stands out to me because Reddick isn’t an athlete who started or ended his career here. He played in the NBA for 17 years, only spending two seasons with the Sixers. To make such a strong statement after playing in Orlando for seven seasons and Los Angelos for four seasons before coming here is a real testament to the passion of Philadelphia sports fans.
- He’s been quoted a few times on if he could change one thing during his career, and he always has the same answer:
- “I wish there was a way I could’ve gone back to Philly.” (Here’s the clip)
- In fact, while working a Sixers game for ESPN as an on-court analyst, his colleague asked, “I know it was only two years here, but this is a place that means a lot to you, right?”
- Reddick quickly responds with: “It means the world to me.”
- In a recent episode of his podcast, “The Old Man and the Three,” he talks with Joel Embiid about why their love for Philly fandom is so strong. (Here’s the clip)
There are thousand more quotes to choose from, but I’d be here all day writing this article. So, I’ve picked out a few of my favorites for your reading pleasure:
“Players don’t know how lucky they are, I think, to be in a place like Philly. I would’ve – if I could’ve kept playing a long time there, I would’ve played ’til the wheels fell off.” – Chris Long (Played only 2 seasons in Philly)
“Philly fans are great. Everybody complains about them being the meanest. That may be true. But, at the same time, they’re great because it does get you into the game.” – Michael Strahan
“Rowdiest, biggest trash talkers & funniest trash talkers are in Philly. I love playing against the Eagles in Philly. I remember one game, somebody ran on the field & dumped a substance at midfield, turned out to be his mother’s ashes. Now thats love for your team.” – Aaron Rodgers
“I love em, they are very passionate… they are intense to a fever-pitch you can be scared sometimes, but I love it” – Mike Golic
“I love em, I enjoy those fans who are just ruthless.” – Pat MacAfee
“All the cheers, all the energy, you pulled the best out of us. You pulled the best out of me. They care about us just as much as we care about them.” – Jimmy Rollins
“I always gave you all everything I had and the thing I love about you all is that you all appreciate that [expletive]. When I walk into that building, I always hear your voices. I always wanted to give you all everything I had.” – Allen Iverson
“They are such vile individuals. When they hate you, they also hate your kids, your wife, and your mom. But it’s a great environment to play in and I’ve heard from guys on the other end, that the support they give to their team is amazing. I have a lot of respect for Philly and their fans, but it is a brutal place to play when you wear the opposite uniform.” – Marcus Spears (Dallas Cowboy Defenseman)
Grounded athletes in this city can take the heat, and they know it comes from a place of love. We tell it like it is, and refuse to be fake. We demand excellence. We’re not mean for the sake of it. We can love you one day and hate you the next, and that’s up to a player’s performance. Pretty straightforward, right?
In his Phillies Wall of Fame speech, John Kruk said summed it up best:
“You hear players and media people say that it’s tough to play in Philly in front of those fans. To those people I say, you didn’t have the guts to succeed here. Thank you.”