Philly fans are one of a kind

MIKE ZEISBERGER, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 9:17 AM ET

PHILADELPHIA — It was a crisp cool autumn day in 1983 when a bus from Ottawa stuffed with NFL-loving university students pulled up in front of Philadelphia’s Veterans Stadium prior to kickoff between the host Eagles and the hated Dallas Cowboys.

As the doors opened and the passengers, including yours truly, poured out, an enterprising vendor was waiting for us, holding up one of the T-shirts he was peddling.

The message printed on the front of the shirts told the story:

“(Bleep) Dallas!”

It didn’t take long for us to get the hint.

Nothing, it seems, was more despised in the City of Brotherly Loathe than “the (bleepin’) Cowboys,” as the locals liked to call them.

More than two decades later, nothing has changed.

If anything, the passion for hating anything and everything Dallas, may, in fact, have escalated.

Consider the actions of Eagles website director Dave Spadaro who, prior to the Eagles’ humiliating 24-0 loss to Dallas this past Sunday, walked to the famous blue star at midfield of Cowboys Stadium and spit on it.

Twice.

Having Terrell Owens posing on the star at Texas Stadium while with the San Francisco 49ers in 2000 was disrespectful enough.

But spitting on the Cowboys logo? Multiple times?

Then putting a video clip of it on philadelphiaeagles.com?

That’s going a bit too far, isn’t it?

Obviously the Eagles think so. Spadaro subsequently wrote an apology on the website for his soggy actions while the clip quickly was removed.

Spadaro’s motivation for Spit-gate? “It’s something I’ve been asked to do by Eagles fans,” he told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Give the people what they want, right?

No wonder Philly fans generally are considered among the rowdiest, toughest, at-times obnoxious hombres you’ll find in North America.

Just ask the athletes who have played there.

Former Phillies reliever Tug McGraw, for example, once claimed that Philadelphia fans were so tough, they would go to the airport after a Phillies victory in order to boo successful landings.

Just a week ago, former pitcher Curt Schilling, during an NBC interview in the first intermission of the Winter Classic between the Philadelphia Flyers and Boston Bruins at Fenway Park, was asked which city’s fans were better. Schilling, who played for both the Phillies and Red Sox, claimed both sets were tops in the U.S., but quickly added that Philly backers were “more physical.”

Former Maple Leaf Tie Domi knows just how “physical” they can be.

While sitting in the penalty box during a game at the Wachovia Center during the 2000-01 season, Domi squirted water at the glass separating him from a fan named Chris Falcone who was obnoxiously yelling at him. Seconds later, while scaling up the glass, the panel gave way, sending Falcone tumbling into the box alongside a startled Domi.

But it’s the Cowboys who brings out the ugliest side of Philly fans.

Like on Oct. 11, 1999, when they loudly cheered as Dallas wide receiver Michael Irvin lay crumpled on the rock-hard turf at the Vet, having suffered swelling in his spinal cord. Asked about the crowd’s reaction, Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith replied: “It disgusted me to death.”

You want to know what disgusts Philly fans to death?

The prospect of losing to the Cowboys for the second time in less than a week.

By being crushed by Dallas on Sunday, the Eagles blew a chance to clinch the NFC’s No. 2 seed and an accompanying first-round bye. Now Philadelphia limps into Cowboys Stadium tomorrow for its wild card game knowing a loss to their hated rivals will end their season.

The prospect of such grid­iron armageddon occurring has ignited widespread panic here. There already are cries for the Eagles to cut the umbilical cord with quarterback Donovan McNabb should another Disaster in Big D unfold.

“No matter what happens, I will be here for a number of years,” a defiant McNabb said this week, reacting to the criticism. “Does that clear it up?”

Careful what you wish for, Donovan.

Remember how these bitter people reacted after Phillies closer Mitch (Wild Thing) Williams coughed up the World Series-winning homer to Toronto’s Joe Carter in 1993?

They egged his house.


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