PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -The curiosity hovered for a few seconds, before glimpses of the maroon No. 5 jersey became visible out of the visitor’s tunnel of Lincoln Financial Field. Then, trotting on to the field amid a group of his newest teammates, the Washington Redskins, they saw him as the enemy for the first time.
Yet that’s when the outpouring for 11 years of service to the Eagles came thundering out of fans toward former Eagles’ quarterback Donovan McNabb. The Redskins’ quarterback tapped his chest a few times and raised his right hand in appreciation for the response he received, which was surprising to some, but not to others.
The boos, yes, they were there, too, though barely audible over the clapping and raucous support McNabb received.
“I knew they would do it,” said Eagles’ fan St. Clair Parson, of Wilmington, Delaware, of the fan’s reaction to McNabb. “I knew Eagles’ fans were going to give it to McNabb. In 11 years here, all the man has done is win, lead the Eagles to the playoffs almost every year and get them in the Super Bowl. I know it’s about winning, and I realize the Eagles had to do what they had to do after last year.
“But change happens—and I was glad to see McNabb get his respect from this crowd.”
Parson wasn’t the only one.
“I cheered McNabb,” said Scott Mayes, of Delran, New Jersey. “All the guy has done for the Eagles is win. But going into this game, that’s all you heard was the negative stuff about Philadelphia sports fans. It’s a bad knock this city gets ever since the Santa Claus thing, and that’s like an old wive’s tale that will never change. That will always be there.”
But will the McNabb reaction change that national perception a little?
“No, not really,” Mayes said. “I actually think Philadelphia sports fans love the reputation that they have. We’re hardknocks fans and that gives us a sort of badge of honor. But I do notice that some of the commentators that have half a brain knows the Philadelphia fans. They know we’re passionate and love our teams.”
Hugh Douglas should know. The former Eagles’ All-Pro defensive end has lived both sides of that passion as a player, and now as a talkshow host for 610 WIP. Douglas, a former teammate of McNabb’s, was very pleased with the way the fans reacted to his former teammate.
“It was deserved and I’m happy they did it,” Douglas said. “Donovan was the greatest quarterback in Eagles’ history and every time he stepped on the field, you had a chance to win, and that’s something I know about. The man always gave a chance each season to get to the Super Bowl.
“I understand the frustration of Eagles’ fans. They’ve been so close, and never got there. But it’s too bad the media outside this city doesn’t understand the fans here. This was something good, a great response, and do you think anyone in the national media will report that: Probably not. Philadelphia fans are passionate about all their teams here. I’ve seen it many times where a fan comes from a Phillies’ game and change into their Eagles jersey and walk across the street to a game. Philadelphians loves their sports teams and it’s too bad a lot of the national media don’t see that.”
Vick Out With Rib Injury
On a separate note, Micheal Vick left the field with :26 left in the first quarter after scrambling to the Redskins’ 1-yard line on a third-and-six play from the Washington 24. It was announced at halftime that Vick would not return to the game, out with a rib injury.
Reported by: Joseph Santoliquito