By Tim Jimenez
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Wildcard weekend has arrived in Philadelphia. The Eagles play their first playoff game in three years tonight, hosting the New Orleans Saints. Fans say they’re ready to bring the heat to frigid Lincoln Financial Field.
All of the snow on the ground and the blistering cold temperatures are no match for Eagles fever.
“It doesn’t matter at all,” said Jose Rivera. As long as the Eagles win we’re happy.”
Rivera has been waiting for this day since the Eagles lost to the Packers in the playoffs in 2011. Back then, Michael Vick was at quarterback and Andy Reid was in charge. Fast forward three years later, Nick Foles is under center and first year head coach Chip Kelly is calling the shots. That has fans like Tom from South Philadelphia reenergized.
“It is just fantastic to have playoff football back in Philadelphia” he said. “It’s great, I love it. It’s so great for the city.”
Steven from Mt. Airy saw the Eagles lose to the Saints on the road last year. But, with Kelly on the sidelines and Foles on the field, he said this time will be different.
“I’m looking for them to win,” Steven said. “Prediction: 27-20 Eagles. It’s on to the next one.”
The Saints are one of the best home teams in football. Their fans are known for raising the decibel level inside the Superdome. But the game is far from New Orleans and Eagles President Don Smolenski knows those bleeding green will give it their all.
“The fans are going to be loud and bringing it,” Smolenski said, “and we’re psyched to be playing at home.”
And fans have no doubt that the crowd at the Linc will lift the Birds to victory.
“This city is hungry for another winner, ever since 2008,” Tom said. “I was here for the parade for the Phillies. It was loud. I think we can get just as loud.”
But the Saints marching into town has some fans a little concerned.
“It’s going to be tough to stop Drew Brees and that offense,” said Cory from New Jersey. “Fingers crossed.”
Most fans however are confident the Eagles will pull through.
“The Eagles are like the postman to me,” said Debra from West Philadelphia. “They come through the rain, the snow, the wind, the hail. And they deliver.”
But the team has yet to deliver a Super Bowl, and fans hope that Kelly and Foles can finally lead the way.
“I actually predicted the playoffs,” Rivera said. “I don’t know about the Super Bowl, but hopefully we do. One game at a time, simple as that.”