Despite the fact it took place nearly 50 years go, one solitary event has come to define Eagles fans to many national sports reporters, comedians and media personalities.
On that snowy day at Franklin Field in December 1968, angry Eagles fans let loose what one observer called a “tsunami of snowballs” when fill-in Santa Frank Olivo walked the length of the field at halftime with the cheerleaders.
"You hear the booing," Olivo, who died in 2015 after battling heart disease, diabetes and other ailments for 25 years, said on ESPN a number of years ago. "You hear it. I said, 'Well, you know, I understand what's going on here. They're not booing me. They're not just booing Santa Claus; they're booing everything.' "
ESPN isn’t airing any football games this weekend, but with a bevy of NBA games on its Christmas schedule, The Worldwide Leader decided the best way to promote its basketball coverage was to poke Eagles fans with a fake '30 for 30' short about Philadelphia’s mistreatment of Santa Claus.
In a 2013 piece, Legendary Daily News sports columnist Stan Hochman went off on the infamous legend that has tarred Eagles fans for more than a generation:
You know the threadbare story. Something nasty happens at a game in Philly, and the out-of-town journalists shrug and sneer and say they're not surprised, because these are the same fans who pelted Santa Claus with snowballs.
Never mind that it's more than 44 years later. Never mind that Olivo didn't think it was a big deal at the time. Never mind that the team stank and the coach was inept and the naïve owner was frantically treading water to stay afloat financially.
Hochman spoke with Olivo prior to his death, who outlined exactly what went down that snowy day:
"When the team left the field at halftime," Olivo recalled, "the fans threw snowballs at Kuharich. They didn't start throwing at me until I got to the end zone, where they could reach me.
"I then walked halfway down the track. I remember seeing one guy gathering snow to throw at me and I told him,'You're not getting nothin' for Christmas.'
"Afterwards, Bill Mullen asked me if I'd do it the next year. I told him no, because it might not snow and then they'd be throwing beer bottles.
"I didn't think what happened was a big deal. And then Howard Cosell, in his Sunday night show, made a big deal of it."