Birds' pregame: Tattoos, tasty meat, tales of Cooper
BROAD STREET Birdy, who won't stop tweeting green till the Eagles get their parade, was inhaling the savory sirloin smoke of a thousand Linc tailgaters' grills yesterday when: Behold!
Birdy had a vision of a green giant, his body covered with 100 Eagles tattoos - 49 of which were genuine Birds' autographs, meticulously transferred from the penned originals to the giant's body by artist Jay Goat of Bonedaddy's Tattoo in Aston, Delaware County.
The green giant had a wild shock of silver hair - it was obvious he does not use product - and wore a cutaway Eagles "TAT MAN" jersey with a plastic picture window cut into the front and back, offering a panoramic view of his tattoos.
And then, he spoke! Wait! This was no sirloin-smoke vision! This was Chuck Solomon of Clifton Heights, Delaware County, who hasn't missed a home game in almost 20 years, but almost did in 2008 after his trailer's propane tank exploded during tailgating.
"They put ointment on my legs in the emergency room and released me," Tat Man said. "I said, 'Drive me to the Linc!' Fortunately, it was only halftime.
"By the end of the game, my legs had blistered up so bad, I went directly to the burn-treatment center at Crozer-Chester Medical Center and stayed there for 10 days. Thank God, we had a bye and a road game, so I was back by the time the Eagles came home."
RILEY'S NO FIGHTER: Partying at the "Official Eagles Tailgating Team" RV, Joanne Reeves, 25, of Seminole, Fla., said she's known Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper since they became friends at Seminole High, and he is not a fighter.
Her dad, Ambler native Big Jim Reeves, who now owns a Philly cheesesteak bar in Largo, Fla., and has fond memories of the teenage Cooper playing basketball in his driveway, confirmed the controversial Eagle's peaceful nature.
"He's a kindhearted person," Joanne said. "He'd do anything for anybody." Anybody, she said, of any race. She plans to chill with Cooper this weekend.
SECRET SAUCE: Portugal native Tony Silva grilled the most incredible rare steak Broad Street Birdy's ever tasted, but would not reveal the secret of his secret sauce.
Slathering that sauce on his wings and ribs for 50 TJR Construction employees and pals, the Medford, N.J., tailgate chef said his brother-in-law, Miguel Ribiero, an Eagles die-hard, weaned him from soccer to football.
Ribiero's pal Bryan Hatzold said, "It all started with three guys in their 20s, 500 bucks apiece and a dream."
Hatzold, his brother Bryan and Ribiero had spent too many years tailgating from the trunk of a car and sitting in the last row of the Vet's 700 level "so we could throw pretzels and peanuts instead of getting them thrown at us."
During one bad Eagles season, they wore trash bags on their heads that read, "0-17 or Bust." Then they put up $500 apiece, bought an old RV and partied on.
"Now I'm in my 40s with a wife and three boys," Hatzold said, laughing. "Had to get my wife to sign a permission slip to be here."
On Twitter: @DanGeringer