Whether the Eagles are victorious in their NFC championship game against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday could depend on several things: hard work, dedication, and whether 29-year-old fan Marshall Fleming put on his Eagles shirt and listened to the “Rocky II Overture” while walking to the grocery store as he was supposed to.
C’mon, Marshall! This city is depending on you!
A 2013 survey released by Anheuser-Busch, a company known more for beer than for scientific (*hiccup!*) research, found Eagles fans to be the fifth most superstitious in the NFL. Vikings fans came in last on the survey, just as they will on Sunday.
From boxer shorts that aren’t getting taken off to Eagles gear that must never be put on, we asked Philly’s biggest fans for their game-day superstitions — and they did not disappoint. Here are our favorites.
The scary man superstition
Every year for Halloween, George and Jessica Gurney of Port Richmond and their four kids make a life-size scary man that they place in front of their house. His name is Dave. This year, they dressed Dave in an Eagles jersey and a pair of jeans with Eagles patches just above the knee.
The Eagles obviously did so well this season because of Dave’s scary juju, so when Halloween passed, the Gurneys opted to leave him up, said Jessica Gurney.
“This is one of the best years the Eagles have had in a very long time,” she said. “If you ask my husband, he will tell you it’s ’cause Dave is still out there, bleeding green.”
But Dave ain’t doing so hot. People keep messing with him, teenagers mostly. They’ve stolen his face, his hands, and even his umbrella, but the family has decided that Dave — or whatever is left of him — will remain where he is until the Eagles’ season is over.
“They stole his hands, they stole his mask, and we even had to anchor his boots into the ground so they wouldn’t steal them,” said Jessica Gurney, 35. “But Dave is still out there bleeding green. Go Eagles!”
The pop-culture superstitions
Brendan Lowry, 28, of Fishtown, simulates every Eagles match through the Madden NFL game on his PlayStation 4. He chooses the Eagles and their opposing team, and pits the computer against itself and watches it play out.
“Most I’ve watched is five times in a row before a victory,” he said. “Was a long Saturday.”
Ed Marino, 39, of Los Angeles, became an Eagles fan while growing up near Doylestown. He recently started a new superstition based on a movie about a superstitious Eagles fan.
“I watched Silver Linings Playbook last Friday before the game, and I plan on doing the same this Friday,” he said. “Good juju.”
The sartorial superstitions
Several men said they must wear the same boxers for every Eagles game. But only one man — comedian Nick Kupsey, author of the book The Five People You Meet in Wawa — admitted to us that he’s really taking one for the team by not washing his.
“I haven’t changed out of my Lucky Brand boxers since Saturday, cause I’m so insane I think that if I do, Nick Foles will end up getting hurt in a random domestic accident,” Kupsey said. “This is how my brain works.”
Kupsey, 39, of Chadds Ford, said he plans on wearing the boxers through Sunday’s game. If the Eagles lose, he’ll burn his bloomers in a fire pit. If they win, he will continue to wear them through the Super Bowl.
“I mean, I’ll have to maybe wash them, but I don’t know, I feel this sacrifice in hygiene would be so worth it if it meant a victory in the Super Bowl,” he said.
Debra Williams, 43, lives in Atlanta, but her “people are from Philly,” which is how she became an Eagles fan. Williams not only bleeds green, she paints green. On game days, she has to wear her Randall Cunningham jersey and paint her toes “Eagles green.” Way to toe the line, Debra!
Alexandria Yarde, 24, of Fishtown, has an Eagles sweater she wears for every game, and she never washes it until the team loses.
“Then I wash and it resets the juju,” she said. “Washed after Dallas loss, worn last week, so obviously not washing before this week’s game.”
Brett Krasnov, 62, of Fairmount, said he wears the same long-sleeve shirt for every Eagles game, and he’ll use only one specific Eagles coffee mug and one specific Eagles glass to drink from on game day.
“The glass was actually given to me by my mother — a HUGE Philly Sports Phan, who passed in ’92,” he wrote.
Other fans, like George Basile, a 21-year-old Temple University student who lives in Center City, told us they refuse to wear Eagles gear for fear the team might lose. Basile said he hasn’t worn a single article of Eagles clothing since the 2005 season.
“The belief is that the Eags are punished for my overt hubris,” Basile said.
David Williams, a native of Springfield, Delaware County, feels the same way. Williams, 51, who now lives in Washington, never wears Eagles gear in the week leading up to a critical game.
“I am concerned that I touched my Eagles hat last night,” he admitted. “I hope I didn’t ruin everything.”
The luck-is-contagious superstition
Kyle Lloyd, 35, a Philadelphia native who lives in Claymont, Del., is the kind of man who’s made his own luck.
From 2014 to 2016, Lloyd won free Eagles tickets more than a dozen times by following the Eagles’ Twitter account and playing along with the team’s Fan Friday contest. The Eagles would announce where their mascot, Swoop, would be on any given Friday, and the first person to find him and high-five him won free game tickets. Lloyd won 15 times.
He had a composite poster printed of all the pictures he got with Swoop when he won. That poster now hangs in his home.
“Ever since last year, I rub it before every game to wish the team good luck,” he said.
The fans-with-a-plan superstition
Mary Beth Malloy and her family will only watch the Eagles at their Roxborough home, though her husband does text with two of his childhood friends throughout the game.
“Us wives always say, ‘Why don’t we just watch it together?'” Malloy said. “Nope. Jinx. Don’t be crazy.”
She said her family and two other families have a game plan in place in the event of a major Eagles win. They will meet at the spot where the Rocky statute was first placed, near what is now the Wells Fargo Center, and walk to Lincoln Financial Field. If there’s a celebration or parade after the win, the group will meet in Fairmount and walk into Center City, “as we all did for the Phillies parade and the pope,” Malloy said.
The location-is-everything superstition
Several Eagles fans, like David Parke of Center City, told us that they have to sit in the same spot every time they watch the game.
Aside from sitting in the correct seat in his living room, Parke, 51, also has to have his trusty 16-year-old pug, Max, by his side.
“We watch in our den in the seat closest to the TV,” Parke wrote. “He is virtually blind and completely deaf (and asleep most of the game) but I’m convinced he’s really into it.”
The culinary superstitions
Chris Devine, 22, of Glassboro, always fries up a thick slice of scrapple on game-day mornings for good luck. This may be the only time in the history of scrapple that the mush of mystery pig parts has been consumed for good luck.
Meanwhile Tim B., 28, of Springfield, Delaware County, has to wear the same hat and shirt and eat the same type of pizza for every Eagles game.
“I hate the pizza but I’m a team guy first, so it’s my cross to carry,” he said.
The heaven-help-us superstition
Zach Moyer, a 24-year-old college student who lives in University City, is trusting in a higher power when it comes to his Eagles superstition.
When Carson Wentz went out injured for the season, Moyer began attending Mass on game days wearing a Nick Foles jersey.
The first day Foles served as quarterback this season, Moyer was in Reading doing a clinical for his physical therapy degree. He realized that his Foles jersey was back at his Philly apartment, so he drove more than 100 miles round-trip to get the jersey and head back to Reading to attend Mass.
This Sunday, he’ll be attending Mass at St. Francis de Sales in West Philly in his St. Nick jersey.
May the Lord be with you, Zach. And also with Nick Foles.