Philly Fans Changing Behavior

Philly Fans Changing Behavior

Kyle Sullender '13, Senior Executive Editor

r of things, the birth of America, the home of the liberty bell, and Will Smith chillin’ out for most of his days, but most of all Philadelphia has become known for it is outrageously passionate sports fans. Since the ‘70’s, the city of brotherly love has engaged in countless memorable acts that have earned the city’s fans a reputation unlike any other. While some describe this unique brand of passion as classless, obnoxious, or even as far as disgraceful, those of us who have cheered on the Phillies from a seat in Citizens Bank Park or who watched a piece of themselves disappear with Veteran’s Stadium take pride in the fact that no other city is as passionate about their sports as Philly, and no one will ever demonstrate their fandom with such a unique intensity.
Some may welcome the shift, but over the last decade the intense displays of Philly devotion have slipped away. It has been more then ten years since Phillies fans pelted J.D. Drew with D batteries when he took the plate at the Vet for the first time after refusing to sign with the Phillies who drafted him. It has been two decades since Eagles fans took advantage of neglected snow in their seats and bombarded the Dallas Cowboys with snowballs as they took the field. It was not since the 1999 NFL season when Eagles fans cheered what ended up being a career ending neck injury to Cowboy Michael Irvin that Philly fans have done something completely immoral and been proud of it. The fans of ‘90’s Philadelphia acted out so often Veteran’s stadium had to add their own on site court room where immediate action would be taken on unruly spectators, common punishments included the forced forfeit of season tickets, fines, and spending the remainder of the current game in a holding cell also on site.
If you are not an avid NBA fan you would not even know the 76’ers were playing right now they are ignored so adamantly. Eagles fans jumped ship and stopped watching games after a losing skid knocked high hopes to the ground, and not too mention the total lack of coverage the Flyers got during the NHL lockout. The fact of the matter is that Philly fans today have been coddled. We have become accustomed to winning over the last couple of years, the days of constant disappointment have been forgotten and the expectations each year have been raised to incredible heights. It has gotten to the point where the Phillies and Eagles are walking into championship or bust seasons, and just making a run is not enough anymore.
This is not to say fans cannot be unhappy with a bad season, or have high hopes if they think they have a championship caliber team, but the mentality in Philadelphia has changed so drastically that half way through the season fans are just moving on to something else.
With the hiring of new Eagles head coach Chip Kelly, the Flyers were once again pushed out of the spotlight. The former coach, Andy Reid, who’s head fans have been calling for for the last couple of seasons received a very appropriate sendoff. What happened to the calls for him to be fired mid-season, that he was ruining the team? When did Philly fans start thinking of things in a long-term kind of way?
Philly fans today still chant inappropriate words, but there is nothing separating them from the rest of the country when it comes to behavior. No one is heckled relentlessly, or hit with objects from the stands just for showing up to the game.
There is certainly a shift taking place in the Philadelphia fan base. A possible change in the way Philadelphia is viewed by the sports community. Is it good that fans are thinking long term and being respectful, or should it be stopped immediately because rough and tough is what Philly fans are supposed to be. Unforgiving or reasonable? Every seat will impact the way Philly will be looked at, so you better make up your mind fast.