After working several connections I finally obtained four tickets to the Monday night contest and was immediately warned about how rough Eagles fans are to the opposing team's fans.
People kept telling me that I'd essentially be taking my life into my own hands by wearing Bears gear to this game, but I am not that kind of fan. I get to see the Bears live so rarely, that there was no way I was going without colors. So, at three o'clock in the afternoon yesterday, I threw on my Sweetness throwback and Bears hat and started the 3 hour drive to Philly from NY. I was joined by a buddy of mine who is also a Chicago transplant and a good friend who grew up in Philly (he wore a Vick jersey).
We got into Philly about two hours before kickoff and went and had cheesesteak at Jim's Steaks, a very Philadelphia place and got my first comment from the cashier, "We ain't kickin' ball to Hester."
"We'll give you a good game anyway." I replied.
After a delicious cheesesteak we made our way to the stadium and parked in a nearby lot. While walking to the stadium, we were the recipients of the "A**hole A**hole A**hole" chant a couple of times. The blow of this was softened by remembering these poor people had to live in Philadelphia, and that was punishment enough (kidding).
We waited for another Eagle fan friend at the Pepsi gate until about 7:45. While waiting, fans were actually welcoming and cordial, shaking hands and wishing us luck. Lots of small talk about our teams followed and curiosity about how we were Bear fans.
We ran into a good amount of Bear fans and shared handshakes and high-fives very quietly as not to rouse the anger of our hosts.
Our seats were nice (especially since they were free) and the best feature was that we were up against a wall so we could stand when we wanted and didn't have to worry about beer showers.
People were generally very cordial around us, with the only comments being pretty funny ones. We had a decent view of the game but were in the back corner of an endzone on the 100 level. We had a great view of EB's TD catch.
It was an emotional roller coaster for both groups of fans in the first half, and the moment of truth for my fan experience had arrived as I had to venture out of the safety of my seat and go to the bathroom.
Immediately I was met by an Eagles fan who called me an a**hole (original, right), but acknowledged that Payton was a great RB.
Waiting in line to use the urinals, I was serenaded with the a**hole chant again and a few middle finger salutes. We ran into a Bears fan who shook my hand after he used the urinal, and my stomach turned thinking about how he shook my hand before washing his. I got over this quickly because I had a guy get in front of me and instruct everyone that I was not allowed to use the urinal. He blocked me for about 30 seconds and then probably realized that he better go get some beer before halftime ended. All of this behavior led to apologies by several Eagles Fans who witnessed it. I laughed it off and told them I've been called much worse things.
I made it back to my seat and readied myself for the 2nd half which started out rough for us, but ended very sweetly. Needless to say, the comments and attitude dissipated very quickly as confidence in the Eagles was not high at all even with the lead. Everyone recognized Cutler and EB were having their way, and if it weren't for the Forte fumbles it would've been an even longer night.
In all, it was a great experience...and not just because we won. Eagles fans are like any other fans. They love their team and most of them are very cool, with the rare meatball fan thrown in (ok, maybe the meatball ratio is a little higher in Philly). And the walk back to the car with only one "Bears Suck" was nice indeed.