The Psyche of an Eagles Fan
“Mannequin was filmed at Woolworths, Boys to Men still keeping the beat, Freedom of 76”
- Lyrics from Ween “Freedom of 76”
Its three A.M. and I can’t sleep. I’ve found myself in a Youtube wormhole searching Eagles fans celebrations. There are too many videos of insane debauchery. The scenes look like a post-apocalyptic world where there are no rules or laws. I’ve watched them disgusted, yet with so much morbid curiosity. I’ve seen them all. The beer bottles thrown at the Vikings team bus, the eye patch guy, and the guy who wants to fuck Tom Brady’s wife.
So far the smartest fan I’ve seen is the dude who ran into the pole chasing the subway.
It reminds me of my earlier years in comedy when I was five whiskeys in, waiting backstage to go up. I was lying in the fetal position, trying to remember my act as I stuttered to myself. Another comic told me he was excited for my set. I thanked him completely flattered. He responded with: "I enjoy a great trainwreck."
How did Eagles fans get to this place? I’m sitting here trying to figure out their fans psychology. I think Eagles fans have taken the responsibility and challenge that they have to be the most savage, scary fans. The Buffalo Bills have the Bills Mafia. In the past few years it has grown into an insane cult of crazies, yet there seems to be this sweet camaraderie, that their shenanigans are just harmless fun. I wouldn’t be afraid to wear a visiting team’s jersey in the parking lot. Dare I say the Bills Mafia might even feel comfortable hanging with fans from the opposing team and sharing a cold one. But not in Philly…it’s a goddamn a war-zone!
I’m trying to understand the history of the city of Philadelphia itself, and how we got here. If we go back in time when our country was born I imagine it a great place for the birth of ideas. I wasn’t much of a history student, but I’d imagine Ben Franklin smoking copious amounts of marijuana, spewing deep philosophy, and slaying 18th century poon. It seemed like an amazing birthplace of ideas and discussion for our nation. Where did it go all wrong?
Being close to New York City, it seems like there's this major inferiority complex, as if Philadelphians feel like the little baby brother. The same thing could be said about Boston, but they cured that with delicious seafood and ten major sports championships in the last 17 years. Philly has the greasy cheesesteak and one championship.
If we look at movies based in Philadelphia, of course we first think of Rocky. Take away the final boxing match, silly sequels, and you have a very depressing movie about alcoholism, and broken dreams. Trading Places was a hysterical comedy, but it had an honest and sad portrayal of a city divided by class and hostile race relations. The movie Philadelphia wasn’t exactly a laugh riot, as Tom Hanks sadly deteriorates from Aids. And as badly cast as Silver Lining Playbook was, were we really supposed to believe that Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, both playing mental cases, would actually find true love? Philly doesn’t exactly have heartwarming tales.
But lets get back to the fans. One of my favorite writers Chuck Klosterman wrote an amazing book, called Fargo Rock City. Its about growing up in rural North Dakota and loving eighties hair metal. He writes about his fascination with the bands debauchery and tales of lewd behavior. He makes a strong point that these rock stars were well aware of what they were doing. They felt they needed to do crazy stunts and be insane hoodlums, because that’s what the public wanted and therefore they had to uphold their reputation. I believe this is the case for the insanity of the majority of Eagles fans. They have to show they're the lewdest, most savage sports fans, because that’s what everybody wants from them. They feel obligated to upheld their reputation and then some.
Or maybe because it’s a hardworking, blue collar city that takes pride in their team. Its that idea that if the Eagles win a Super Bowl somehow, everyone can be Rocky and defeat Apollo Creed, and their lives will improve.
There was one homemade video, with a rowdy Eagle fan dancing, and screaming. He then looked into the camera, and said: “I feel so damn good, how the hell can I go to work tomorrow?” I guess we’ll learn after Super Bowl 52. Whether the Eagles win or lose the fans might just climb the street poles and tear the city down. But sadly they’ll all have to go back to work the next day. Welcome to life as an Eagles fan.