Contrary to popular belief, not all acts of violence and stupidity in the stands at NFL games occur at Lincoln Financial Field.
The latest example is the viral video from Thursday night’s Eagles-Panthers game at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte that shows a guy in a Cam Newton jersey later identified as Kyle Maragahy, 26, sucker-punching a 62-year-old man in the stands. Maragahy was later arrested and charged with assault.
Although the person who shot the video and posted it on Instagram explained that both people involved were Panthers fans, it didn’t stop people from automatically linking it to the fact that the Eagles were playing that day and there were hundreds of fans wearing Carson Wentz, Brian Dawkins and Brian Westbrook jerseys.
Eagles fans just can’t outrun their past.
Last week, they were attacked by Fox Sports 1 host Colin Cowherd, who somehow came to the ridiculous conclusion that Philadelphia “has to be the dumbest sports city in America” because “they ran Andy Reid out of town.”
Fans don’t have that kind of power. Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie does, and he’s the one who correctly decided to fire Reid.
Reid is the greatest coach in franchise history, having led the Eagles to five appearances in the NFC championship game and a Super Bowl berth in 2004. But by the 2012 season, it was clear to Lurie and probably even to Reid himself it was time for a change.
The Dream Team experiment from the previous season had been a disaster. The 2012 Eagles stumbled to a 4-12 record. The players had tuned out their coach. It was better for all involved to make a switch.
Of course, whenever there is an incident in which Philly sports fans are within a 100-mile radius, the usual stuff resurfaces.
When the video of Thursday’s attack was posted on Twitter, commentators were quick to mention that Veterans Stadium was the site of its share of brawls and once hosted a courtroom and jail in the basement.
Cowherd also brought it up.
Yes, there was a time when the rowdy reputation was warranted. Back in the days of the Vet, beer-infused brawls were commonplace in the infamous 700 level.
That is not the case at the Linc. Sure, there are still fights on occasion, but that also happens at other NFL venues.
Having been to every NFL city over the last 25 years, I’ve found very few stadiums utterly devoid of conflicts among the fans.
The StubHub Center in Carson, California, made that list for me two weeks ago. Chargers fans were outnumbered by Eagles supporters 10-1. That’s because when you live in Southern California, there is much more fun stuff to do on a Sunday afternoon that watch football.
Lambeau Field in Green Bay is another one that seems immune to controversy. One reason is because Packers fans comprise 99 percent of the crowd there. It takes decades to get a season ticket, and their fans are not about to sell them to a fan of an opposing team.
And come November, when the temperature dips into single digits, fans are wearing too many layers to fight. It’s awfully tough to throw a punch when you’re dressed like Ralphie’s little brother in “A Christmas Story.”
In addition to the jail at the Vet, other go-to disses at Philly often include how the Eagles fans threw snowballs at Santa Claus and cheered when former Cowboys wide receiver Michael Irvin suffered a career-ending injury.
Cowherd went so far as to suggest Philadelphia fans were responsible for running former Phillies manager Terry Francona out of town and are “constantly” harassing Villanova University men’s basketball coach Jay Wright. Philly fans “probably ran George Washington out of town.”
None of that is true.
Francona was still learning how to be a big-league manager in 1997-2000. Wright has never been chastised or criticized.
And though there is no proof, rumor has it that Washington was forced to leave because Martha had gotten wind of some hanky-panky between George and Betsy Ross.
Good thing there was no Instagram or Snapchat back in the 1700s.
David Weinberg’s Extra Points column appears Wednesdays and Sundays in The Press.
Contact: 609-272-7201 DWeinberg@pressofac.com