Last Thursday, well before the Eagles melted down in the game against the Bengals, we did something we’ve never done before. For the first time in two-and-a-half decades of attending Eagles home games, we sat in seats that weren’t ours.
Since we were children, we’ve sat right on the upper deck of both the Vet and the Linc, with (no pun intended) a bird’s-eye view of the entire field, able to see all of the action as it unfolded. On Thursday, with more than half the stadium empty, we found our way down into the lower bowl, exactly twenty rows behind the thief known as Demetress Bell. While it was a jarringly different experience, and what we’ve been told our entire lives was confirmed – that it’s difficult to watch the game from that too-close vantage point(*) – what was happening on the field took a back seat to what we were truly paying attention to.
(*)It was akin to sitting in the low bleachers of a high school football game… You see football happening, but it just looks like a bunch of guys running into each other. From our usual seats, you can see each play unfold – follow the QB’s progressions, see the holes opening up for Running Backs, anticipate Wide Receiver’s routes, watch the Defenses alignment and see where they’re blitzing from, etc.
Sitting directly in front of us and two seats over, was president, CEO and general owner of the Philadelphia Phillies, Dave Montgomery. Sitting directly behind us, 15 rows of seats away in his box, was Eagles owner, The Billionaire, Jeffrey Lurie. Needless to say, we spent much of the time watching the facial expressions of both men.
It was highly fascinating. We were absolutely enamored with witnessing their reactions to every boo, every disappointed grumble after a fumble or botched play or missed tackle, every scream directed at Andy(**).
(**)Yes, most materializing out of our mouths…
Unsurprisingly, Lurie’s face was vacant… Just a blank stare out towards the field. The only time his face moved was when he was conversing with that parrot on his shoulder, Howie Roseman. However, instead of kicking around names of the next Head Coach, they were likely discussing ways Lurie could cut costs or new throwback uniforms to suck any remaining money out of the fans pockets.
Quick side note: Our favorite moment of Thursday’s game came when the stadium’s PA system prematurely pumped crowd noise and chants of “Defense” through the plethora of speakers while the actual crowd was dead silent. That invoked cackling laughter from the less-than 45,000 in attendance. A particularly good moment for us, and an equally bad one for The Billionaire!
Meanwhile, Montgomery was rivaling Lurie in his lack of expression, but his subtle acknowledgement of the angry fan base was interesting. When fans were booing vehemently, he would look around with a look on his face that was, at the same time, bothered(***) and satisfied… As if he were thinking “such impatience” and “HAHAHAHA,” simultaneously.
(***)He is, after all, an Eagles fan.
Sure, the Phillies disappointed the city by missing the playoffs last season, but there’s no denying that the two teams have been on diverging paths the last few years. It used to torment Montgomery when fans would fill Citizens Bank Park with “E-A-G-L-E-S EAGLES!” chants, as the Eagles were perennially in the NFC Championship Game and the Phillies were engulfed in a 13-year long playoff draught. Of course, the tables turned in 2008, but we have to assume that he basks in the boos raining down around him in the Linc. Philadelphia will ALWAYS be a football town first, and he knows that, but the animosity directed at this current team must be nice to the man who runs the city’s second favorite franchise.
It really was an interesting experience… To watch one franchise owner witness the bitter end of his counterpart’s “glory days.”
Which brings us to this week… The bitter bitter end.
For all intents and purposes, this Sunday marks The Walrus’ last home game as Head Coach of the Philadelphia Eagles(****). CSNPhilly.com’s Geoff Mosher already asked how Reid will be received in his (likely) final home game, but we can’t imagine it will be much different from any other game this season. Ever since the chants of “Fire Andy” rained down on the team in last year’s 38-20 defeat to the Patriots, Andy has been feeling immense heat from the home fans. That will only continue.
(****)Until Lurie inexplicably brings him back, sparking murderous outrage across the Delaware Valley.
There will be no outward showing of heartfelt emotion, no pouring of love, no actual acknowledgement that Andy’s done, no “ride off into the sunset” for a coach that even we admit is the best in franchise history. Andy’s last home game will not feel any different than any other game. Tickets won’t be a hot commodity, because no one really cares to wish him farewell. He’s overstayed his welcome and he just needs to leave. It’s a fitting end and one that should have come years ago.
No celebration, no goodbye. Just boos. Maybe he deserved better… We certainly did.
The only thing we know for sure, is that we’ll be in our regular seats. And will still be there long after The Walrus is gone.