Eagles faithful start the party early and want one more – at the Super Bowl

Eagles faithful start the party early and want one more – at the Super Bowl

In Center City Sunday morning, police with cans of Crisco were greasing poles to deter post-game climbers.

On the outskirts of town, the partying was already underway, some eight hours before the Eagles take on the Minnesota Vikings at Lincoln Financial Field, their last hurdle to a Super Bowl appearance.

By 10 a.m., dedicated tailgaters decked out in green, green and more green had already set up camp in nearby FDR Park on Pattison Avenue. With no Minnesota Vikings purple in sight, the mood was celebratory – and confident.

“We’re gonna win,” said Ryan Krepp, 40, of Norristown, as he attached a flat-screen TV to a tree trunk so his crew could watch the earlier AFC Championship game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the New England Patriots.

“We already have an exit plan for when we win,” said his friend Mike Rothman, 45, of Norristown.

“We’re gonna go down Broad Street,” Krepp said. “We’re not going to riot and be drunk morons. We’re not going to punch horses. They’ll be hooting and hollering.”

Just no pole climbing, the city hopes.

Police, dubbed the “Crisco Cops,” lathered light poles with lard to discourage fans from shimmying up them, a common antic after big games. On a stretch of Market Street in Center City, poles that were adorned with Eagles banners were greased. Police were asked to identify “hot spots” where celebrations likely would occur, said Capt. Capt. Sekou Kinebrew. A similar strategy was used after the Phillies won the World Series in 2008.

Camera iconMELANIE BURNEY

In anticipation of Eagles post-game rowdiness, light poles, like this one on Market Street near Eighth, have been greased to deter climbers. MELANIE BURNEY/Staff

The tactic gained attention as far as the West Coast, where at least one celeb weighed in.

Bob Whalon, 49, of Souderton, said Eagles fans get a bad rap for being too rowdy. In reality, most are simply loyal and passionate, not mean-spirited, he said.

Camera iconJOSE F. MORENO

Eagles fan Darryl McDuffie from Franklinville, N.J., is nothing but joyous waiting to enter the Linc Sunday. JOSE F. MORENO/Staff

He would know – he’s been organizing this tailgate for more than 20 years. The “camaraderie” of being here for every home game can’t be beat, he said.

Nearby, J.R. Mallon, 47, of North Wilmington, said he hasn’t watched a home Eagles game on television since 1997. Sunday was no different.

He and friend Pat Lenzi, 54, of West Chester, pulled in at FDR Park just before 10 a.m.

As they unpacked their table, lawn chairs, and grill, Mallon pointed to a patch of muddy grass a few feet away. That spot, he said, brings back memories. It was where they tailgated together before the first home game this season.

Before every game, the two start in the park, then walk over to meet a larger group of friends in the stadium lots, where there are “a lot of first-timers,” Mallon said.

“It’s like a picnic here,” Lenzi said with a laugh. “The closer you get to the stadium, the more insane it gets.”

Any pregame rituals?

Nothing special, they said.

“Just eat really well,” Mallon said, “and drink a lot.”

As morning transitioned to afternoon, Minnesota fans started to make their presence known throughout the region – even committing the ultimate offense: dressing the Rocky statue in their team’s colors.

Not part of that stunt but nonetheless getting some abuse were Vikings faithful braving their Eagles counterparts at tailgate central.

Staff writer Melanie Burney contributed to this article.

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Published at Sun, 21 Jan 2018 19:41:58 +0000

Categories: Eagles

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