History of Tailgating in Philadelphia

Tailgating in Philly has a rich history (Credit, Cassie Hepler)

The Eagles are in Tampa Bay for week 14 of the NFL 2012 season. All will be quiet at Lincoln Financial Field this Sunday as Eagles tailgaters watch the game from home or the local pub. Eight straight losses might leave some fans in a funk, but die-hard Philadelphia fans will always rally in support of their team, looking to the future with hope and to the past with pride. Philadelphia football is rich in history, and that goes for sports teams, stadiums and tailgating.

The Stadium Now

Lincoln Financial Field, known locally as ‘The Linc’, is the current home of the Philadelphia Eagles and located between 11th and 10th streets on Pattison Avenue in South Philadelphia. The stadium, which opened in 2003, seats about the same number of fans as the Eagles’ former home, Verterans Stadium, but the new facility boasts twice as many wheelchair-accessible seats.

A few interesting facts about Lincoln Financial Field include:

  • Construction on the Linc began in May of 2001. It hosted its first event, a soccer match between Manchester United and FC Barcelona, only 28 months later.
  • The inaugural football game was played at Lincoln Financial Field on September 8, 2003 between the Eagles and Tampa Bay.
  • Temple University football home games are played at Lincoln Financial Field.

The Stadium Then

Before ‘The Linc’, there was ‘The Vet’. Philadelphia Veterans Stadium was located at the northeast corner of Broad Street and Pattison Avenue, and was home to the Philadelphia Eagles from 1971 to 2002.

Some interesting facts include:

  • The Philadelphia Phillies also called The Vet home from 1971 to 2003.
  • Philadelphia Veterans Stadium was host to the annual Army-Navy game 17 times.
  • The first game played in the stadium was April 10, 1971, when the Phillies played the Montreal Expos.
  • The last game played in the stadium was between the Eagles and Tampa Bay on January 19, 2003.

From 1958 through 1970, the Eagles played at Franklin Field. The stadium, located at South 33rd and Spruce streets, is the University of Pennsylvania’s football stadium. Franklin Field had the country’s first two-tiered stadium and scoreboard. It also holds bragging rights to being the first to broadcast a football game over the radio, which took place in 1922, and the first to televise a football game, broadcast in 1939.

Other interesting facts:

  • Because the University was a non-profit organization, the Philadelphia Eagles didn’t pay rent to use Franklin Field. Instead, they donated from $75,000 to $100,000 each year to cover expenses and maintenance.
  • Bert Bell, the then NFL Commissioner, suffered a fatal heart attack at Franklin Field during the final moments of the October 11, 1959 game between the Eagles and the Steelers.
  • Packers’ coach Vince Lombardi’s only career playoff loss happened at Franklin Field at the 1960 NFL Championship game between the  Eagles and the Packers.
  • The infamous Santa Claus booing incident happened at Franklin Field on December 15, 1968 during a game between the Eagles and the Minnesota Vikings.

Check out Tailgate Fan to keep the party going at tailgatefan.cbslocal.com.

Christy Ayala covers sports, recreation, the outdoors, and leisure activities in the Philadelphia area. She earned a masters degree in recreation administration from George Williams College and managed programs in the Midwest, Hawaii, and Pennsylvania. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.

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