You gotta love Eagles fans.
They cheer until they’re hoarse when the Birds score a touchdown at Lincoln Financial Field. They slap palms and hug while singing, “Fly, Eagles, Fly.”
When Philadelphia loses, no police horse is safe.
Often, their emotions fluctuate between unbridled joy and intense frustration during the same game.
There’s this one guy who stands in a landing just below the press box at Lincoln Financial Field and tries to get the fans in that section to join him in “E-A-G-L-E-S, Eagles!” chants.
When the Birds are winning, plenty of people join in. When they’re losing, the fans either ignore him or ask him to sit down in their own, unique style.
Same goes for their treatment of players.
Everyone got a standing ovation during the introductions prior to the season opener against Washington on Sept. 8. When the Redskins jumped ahead 20-7, the Eagles headed to the locker room amid deafening boos. They were back to cheering in the second half, when the Birds rallied for a 32-27 victory.
“We deserved all the boos (at halftime),” safety Malcolm Jenkins said after that game. “We heard them, and we deserved them. When you play well, these fans will be with you every step of the way, and they’ll love you. But if you deserve the boos, you’ll hear it from them. That’s one of the reasons I love playing here.”
Eagles fans come from all over the area, from swanky Stone Harbor to rough-and-tumble Philly neighborhoods.
Children are raised to root for the Birds. Atlantic City High School boys basketball coach Gene Allen, a season-ticket holder, brought his young son, Jackson, to Sunday’s Eagles’ game against Detroit.
“My son attended his first regular-season game,” Allen posted on Facebook. “Although the Birds lost, watching him enjoy himself was the real victory.”
Scan the obituaries in The Press and you’ll often read tributes to people who were staunch Eagles fans until the end.
Two episodes Sunday provided examples of their passion, of their love of the team when things go right and their frustration when things go awry.
When the Fox TV cameras panned the crowd, they came upon an irate fan who was riding the referees for a penalty call.
“What are you looking at?” the fan screamed. “Boooo! What the (bleep) are you looking at?”
It turned out to be Eric Furda, who has been dean of admissions at the University of Pennsylvania for 11 years.
The video went viral, drawing nearly one million views as of Monday evening. But Furda didn’t apologize.
“After further review of the play I will take the 15 yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct,” Furda tweeted. “But I will not lose my passion for Philadelphia and Penn sports!”
A few hours later, Philadelphia’s CBS TV affiliate was covering a fire in West Philadelphia when the station encountered Hakim Laws, a former firefighter who played a role in a dramatic rescue involving children.
He had watched the Eagles’ 27-24 loss to the Lions, a game in which wide receiver Nelson Agholor lost a fumble and dropped a pass.
“I see a guy hanging out the window screaming that his kids were in there,” Laws told the station Monday. “My man just started throwing babies out and we were catching them, unlike Agholor and all his mishaps.”
To his credit, Agholor responded Monday with a classy gesture.
“Thank you for being a hero in the community,” Agholor wrote on Twitter. “Would like to invite you and your family to the next home game.”
After they play the Packers on Thursday night in Green Bay, the Eagles return home to take on the New York Jets at the Linc on Oct. 6.
You can be sure the stadium will be packed with ardent fans like Furda and Laws, those who wear their passion on their sleeves, even when they’re sporting tank tops. And you can be sure they will be ready to cheer and boo with equal gusto.
Do they take it too far at times? Yes. That was demonstrated at the opener when some fans got into a heated dispute with Philadelphia 76ers forward Mike Scott.
There’s no place in sports for that kind of moronic behavior.
But most Eagles fans are decent people who have been cheering for their beloved Birds for decades and will continue to do so until you read about it in their obituaries.
You gotta love it.
David Weinberg’s Extra Points column appears Wednesdays and Sundays in The Press’ print editions and Tuesdays and Saturdays online.