As a die-hard Eagles fan since Thanksgiving, I feel the need to rise to the defense of my fellow fans with whom I have walked this lonely road for approximately eight weeks.
How dare the Vikings fans besmirch our good names — what was left of them, anyway — with unfounded and spurious slanders.
They’re calling our entire city a gang.
— Chris O'Connell (@CoconnellFox29) January 17, 2018
Their paper of record is challenging its readers to come up with insults most grievous in 10 words or less.
— Star Tribune (@StarTribune) January 17, 2018
In short, they’re losing their damn minds in Minnesota.
I can offer unique perspective on this for Minnesotans. I, too, was once an outsider, ignorant of the ways of Philadelphia fans.
And my advice to you, my dear friends from the North, is simple: You can’t win this one. Don’t even. You can’t possibly hope to insult us the way you want to.
First, you’re the self-proclaimed nicest people in the world trying to start a fight — a battle royale of insults — with a city whose inhabitants, the last time we won something, hurled vodka bottles at one another. Not out of malice, but out of joy.
We’re literally boarding up the intersection at Frankford and Cottman in fear of a repeat performance. It’s not a riot. It’s just a celebration in which we try to inflict grievous bodily harm on one another.
(In all seriousness, let’s reconsider how we celebrate this year.)
The insulting thing here, really, is just that they can’t come up with better insults.
It’s as if they googled Philadelphia and saw the words cheesesteak and Santa and snowball and were like, cool, we’re done here. This will show them.
It will not.
“Newark with cheesesteaks,” the insults went.
“They boo everything.”
“One word: Filthadelphia.”
Again, from one outsider to another: You don’t have the innate stores of rage within you to insult us, Minnesota. People here have been marinating in shame and anger for decades over the Eagles. Gentle gibes in your newspaper won’t pierce.
“Last time they had a good team was 1776.”
(OK, that’s a good burn. I’ll give it to you, Bill Coleman from Mahtomedi.)
Surprisingly, our response so far has been polite, gracious, gentle, even — at least from the responses on the Philly.com Facebook page, not always a bastion of benevolence.
Hmm, seem like nice people, the comments went, reading like a pat on the head. Good little Viking.
Perhaps these comments reflect a hint of the new narrative about our city: We’re maturing. Indeed, in recent years, we have hosted a pope. A DNC. An NFL draft. Amazon is into us. Perhaps, in our years of sports misery, we have grown kind.
In the infancy of my fandom, I turned to two men whose real names I don’t know and whom I interact with mostly through social media and now desperate text messages to get them tickets, which I cannot do: two leading voices of Philly Twitter: @Cranekicker and @ZooWithRoy.
I picked these guys to guide me for good reason. They are serious people.
For the last week, they have been inundating me with increasingly ludicrous stories in hopes of scoring sympathy tickets from the team. First, it was that they used to go to the games with their dads. Then, that both of their dads had died. Then it was that both of their dads had died on the way to the last Eagles NFC championship game. And wouldn’t it be beautiful if they could get inside and watch the game with their angel dads?
Yes, it would. Eagles president Don Smolenski, I beseech you, so they stop blowing my phone up, at least.
To my pals, I put the challenge: Minnesota in 10 words or less. What followed was mostly unprintable.
There was this from @ZooWithRoy: “Minnesota: The only Norwegians dumb enough to stay.”
See, Minnesota. Out of your league.
So, maybe we’ve grown. Maybe we haven’t. Maybe the proper response to juvenile insults from a football team that plays in a polar desert and hasn’t been to the Super Bowl in 41 years is to simply rise above and not say anything at all. And maybe that’s the most Philadelphian of all: pretending not to care — and caring way too much.