1020 Pattison Avenue
19 June 2019 Uncategorized
It’s 6:30 am and the sun has just begun to peak out from the horizon. The sprinklers turn on and give a sea of a green blades its morning shower. You are awoken by the smell of bacon, scrapple, coffee, and eggs, as well as the sound of dad humming an oh-so-familiar tune. Your body is electrified in anticipation for what the day could bring. Last night you laid out your outfit and it took some will power not to sleep in your favorite jersey. You hold up your Brian Westbrook jersey to the sunrise like it’s a first place trophy and smile. It’s game day people.
The cooler and grill are packed and you are on your way down to paradise. For years, your dad and his brothers have told you stories of their legendary tailgates and the memories they have created throughout dozens of game days. Now it is your turn. You finally make it to FDR Park and now the show is about to begin. I always loved the Eagles tailgate scene in Silver Lining Playbook because they did a great job depicting a typical Eagles tailgate. I love that movie even more because it covers the Eagles 44-6 shelling of the Dallas Cowgirls, the first game I was ever at.
So we all arrived at FDR Park, where my father and his brothers have been tailgating at for close to 30 years. They have been at the same picnic table for so long that everyone knows not to go near it. My brother Tim and I carried the cooler to the table and helped set everything up. Uncle Tom lights up the grill and we have liftoff. With red solo cups, koozies filled with liquid courage, and cigars in hand and the Grateful Dead in the background, this may just be heaven on earth.
The reason I was able to secure a ticket was because it was a week 17 game and the birds needed a miracle. For the Eagles to grab a Wild Card spot, three things had to happen: Oakland, a 13-point underdog, had to upset Tampa Bay on the road; Houston, a six-point underdog, had to knock off Chicago and the Eagles had to defeat the Dallas Cowboys at the Linc. As the day went along, we just tried to enjoy our time and not focus on the other games. However, other fans started cheering so loud that we just had to tune in on our radio. The Texans defeated the Bears, 31-24. Then Oakland stunned the Buccaneers by the exact same score. It was destiny. My brother and I were hit with a feeling of excitement that you can only possibly equate to Christmas morning when you were 4 or 5 years old.
As I gazed upon the sea of green surrounding me, I could feel and even feed off of the energy that was being sent out from all around me. Hope. It is a powerful thing. The Eagles now controlled their own destiny. If we win, we are in. We were enjoying the tailgate for so long but after this update we were so excited to head into the Linc. My Uncle Kev’s eyes lit up as he pointed toward the Linc. Without saying a word we all started packing up and got ready to head in. The only thing he said was, “don’t forget to bring a roadie” as he popped open the cooler and grab one last dilly dilly for the trip.
The trip from FDR to the Linc is a wild one. As you cross the highway and adjacent streets, you dodge oncoming traffic, footballs, and the occasional beer but in that case you go for an interception. E-A-G-L-E-S EAGLES! chants fill the air. Heart rates spike as you finally fixate your eyes on the Linc and hear Dan Baker’s voice make announcements through the PA system. Eventually you reach the dreaded lines in front of the gates but you pay no mind because you are just ready to get in there for the first time. You can already smell the fresh cut fries and cheese steaks but you know your eyes will eat first when you lay eyes on the field for the first time in your life. They finally scan your ticket and the gates of heaven have been opened. It’s showtime.
I remember sprinting up the steps and just trying to process all of the things going on around me. It was like when Bradley Cooper took the pill in the movie Limitless or when Captain America summoned Thor’s hammer. For those who don’t follow, it was a heck of a lot of stuff to take in. I watched as Cowboys fans were booed and Eagles fan would start break dancing in the middle of the concourse. Absolutely electric. My brother and I finally found section 119. My Uncle Johnny and Uncle Doc gave up their seats to my brother and I. We were set up right at the 45 yard line.
I was in total awe of the moment. TV truly cannot do this view justice. As I gazed upon the field and saw players as close as 20 yards away from me, I had to bite my tongue to make sure I was not dreaming. What really took my breath away was the sea of green in the stands. Fans were loud and rowdy in anticipation of the game. It truly was a playoff atmosphere. In my honest opinion, I do believe that several other NFL teams have an incredible home crowd (ie. Seattle, Kansas City, Buffalo, etc.); however, I will never believe that we do not have the best stadium, fans, and team in the world. Being an Eagles fan is something better than your dream girl/boy, car, or job, because this is real. I’m not saying that being an Eagles fan is perfect. Honestly, it is far from perfect. But it is absolutely authentic and real. And in today’s world, that does not come around too often.
Anyone who has ever stepped foot in Lincoln Financial field (or the Vet or Franklin Field for that matter) on game day knows that there is nothing quite like it. Other fan bases will never admit it but our home field is more than a stadium, it truly is our home. This was more evident than ever before in the 2017-2018 playoff run in the games verses Atlanta and Minnesota. 63,000+ fans were channeling years of disappointment and false optimism for those two home games and our players fed off of that. That stadium was electric.
One thing I will never forget about my first game and any game I have ever been to for that matter is the intro. The stadium grows quiet all at once as the video screen washes away advertisements. All eyes redirect to the jumbotron. Rocky and Adrian take up the screen. Adrian leans over to Rocky and says, “There’s one thing I want you to do for me.” Rock leans closer and asks, “What’s that?” Adrian looks at him dead in the eye and speaks the famous lines, ” Win. Win!” The screen switches to the Eagles highlights and the bells ring. I cannot even think about this without getting the chills. Additionally, I cannot think about that 44-6 slaughter without grinning to myself. That was a heck of a way to be introduced to the Linc.
So people, please ignore the disappointing news regarding the training camp practices. Just have faith and know that the 2019 Eagles are going to make up for it all year with their high flying offense and bone breaking hits on defense. In no time we will all meet at 1020 Pattison Avenue and be screaming our heads off as D Jax breaks away for a 75 yard touchdown. We’ll be chugging our beers as Fletch pummels Dak into the core of the earth. Girlfriends and wives will try to throw themselves at Dougie Fresh as he walks by the sidelines and you could care less as you throw a wink and wave his way as well. The road to NFC Championship will run through the Linc. Fellow Eagles fans, prepare your body, mind, and soul for a historic season. As Carson breaks records, accordingly, Giants fans will break their TV’s, it’s science. Speaking of science, there is a method to all of this madness. And speaking of madness, I will make a scientific hypothesis. Roseman + Pederson + Wentz = Lombardi. Maybe that is math, but who cares as long as we’re back on the Philadelphia Art Museum stairs next February. As Always, Fly Eagles Fly!