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Monday, December 05, 2005
Hot Topics Can Eagles Fans Behave in the Snow?
In 1989, police escorting snowball-target Jimmy Johnson to safety.
Tonight, a snowstorm is likely to drop ammo into stands filled with disgruntled Eagles fans. As national TV cameras watch. Oh, it may not be pretty.
Maybe owner Jeff Lurie and sidekick Joe Banner should carry protective umbrellas if they come out for the halftime ceremony honoring Reggie White.
After all, our snow history is legendary. In 1968, fans, upset with a lousy team and a sorry-looking phony Santa, pelted the imposter with snowballs. The definitive story -- unlike the nonsense you'll probably hear repeated on tonight's broadcast -- was told in The Great Philadelphia Fan Book, by WIP's Glen Macnow and Anthony L. Gargano, two ex-Inquirer sportswriters. This was no merry old elf who could charm a mall. It was a 19-year-old kid wearing a Santa suit and an obviously fake beard, recruited right out of the stands. " I thought it was funny," the ersatz Kringle, Frank Olivo, told the authors, who tracked him down in Ocean City, N.J. Here's a fuller recap.
Then there's the "I didn't do it" tale of future mayor and governor Ed Rendell. A fourth-quarter snowball barrage in December 1989 scattered cheerleaders, decked an official, and led cops to escort Cowboys head coach Jimmy Johnson off the field (see picture). But the most lasting part of that story is that future mayor and current governor Rendell was spotted betting a guy $20 he couldn't reach the field. At first Rendell denied it to the Inky's Steve Lopez. Later, he called back to admit the truth.
I've posted the original Lopez column, "Honest Ed's True Confession." It's a classic. You have to read it. At one point, Lopez writes, saying this guy's too honest to be a politician:
"Maybe it's good he isn't mayor or governor. Can you imagine him in contract negotiations?"
No wonder in January, the Eagles cleared every flake that fell inside the Linc from a storm the night before the NFC Championship game. But even that had its harmful side, when a fan, James Phillips, worked for free for 30 hours without gloves and wound up losing eight frostbitten fingers.
Can you think of other incidents? Do you recall taking part in any? Post your comments here.