The Fine Line Between a Good Winner And Rubbing It In Someone's Face

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I sat down at Mulligan's bar, ready for a good football game on Sunday. We had a decent, crowd of about 40 people at the bar. I didn't expect a tremendous showing since the game was on national TV and a few of our friends would be going to the home game.

In walks an older couple, who look to both be in their 50's. They walk around the bar a bit, and seem a bit out of place. I ask, "Are you Eagle fans?"

The gentleman scrunches up his face and makes a "Psstch" sound, like air blown out of a tire. "Eagles? No way! Giants!"

I jokingly tell him and his girlfriend that they are in the wrong bar, that this is the Eagles bar.

They basically pooh-poohed my suggestion to change bars and they seemed harmless. Of course they sit down at the bar right next to me, and are mostly very nice to everyone around the bar, so i'm thinking its no big deal. They cheer a bit when the Giants do good but also come off as not very knowledgable about the Giants. They know about four players - Shockey, Manning, Barber, and Strahan. They are homers, born and raised in New Jersey. They didn't know much about the Eagles. They asked me about some of the players and we joked a bit with each other during the first half.

They asked me about the Eagles fans and I went to tell them how the football is more than just a game to the fans. Its a sense of identification. Around here people enjoy football, but its not the game for a Philly fan. We love football much like Yankee fans love baseball. Losing a game is not just watching a team lose, but can sour the mood for most fans for days. Winning a game can be like a natural high. Compound that with living in Hoboken and working in New York City - any time we play any New York team we really want to win. They are interested about what I have to say, we talk a bit more and one Eagle fan remarked next to me, "They seem nice enough." I reply back, "Yea, that's because we are winning the game."

The bar is having a great time for the better part of the game. The Eagles looking great, we are cheering with every score, and doing our normal chanting and singing. Its the Eagles bar, I explain to the Giants fans, we come here as an oasis from the other bars in town. We celebrate in our victories and console in our losses.

The fourth quarter arrives and the game slowly starts to change. Our once dominate team looks like a deer caught in headlights. My once quiet Giant fans become rambunctions and loud. I can feel my blood start to boil, and i'm just watching the game get from bad to worse. I listen to their comments next to me, and its simply irritating. If I wanted to be next to Giant fans I could choose about 57 other bars in Hoboken. I get enough grief listening to every co-worker come up to me with a jab about Eagles football during the week.

The game goes into overtime and the couple next to me are drunk and happy with glee. The fans in the bar are subdued, but not quiet. We can feel another monumental collapse coming. When you are a Philly fan, you can see these things coming. Someone commented to me in overtime that I looked like I was angry. Hell yes, I was angry. Not only was my team losing, but I have to sit next to two Giant fans for the entire game.

The game ends with the Giants beating the Eagles in overtime, after coming back from 21 points down. The Giant fans are cheering, clapping and making obnoxious hoots and hollers. It was only the two of them. The other assorted 40 people are Eagle fans. The Eagles fans are quiet and saying their goodbyes to each other and the two Giants fans still continue clapping and high fiving - for a long enough period of time that it starts to go from them being happy to them being obnoxious. I had few drinks in me by the end of the game, and simply couldn't stand listening to it anymore. I turn to them and say, "OK, you had your fun, now get the fuck out of the bar."

They both are wide eyed with shock and their jaws drop open in mute surprise.

I can't say this was my finest moment, but I was upset not only for me, but also for the other Eagle fans who had to listen to these two nimrods.

I continue my rant with the vitriol of anyone who sat in the 700 Level, "This is an Eagles bar. You wanna watch the Giants game? Go to another fucking bar. You got your win, congrats, just don't sit here and rub it in our faces. Everyone here are Eagle fans, I told you that when you sat down and still wanted to watch the game here.", I gestured to everyone around the room, "You had to watch the game HERE. You couldn't go to the room on the other side of the bar or another bar in town. No, you HAD to watch it amongst the Eagle fans and when you won - you had to whoop it up and make us all feel lousy even after we feel bad enough for losing the game."

The woman shot back, "Oh, you are just a sore loser."

I reply, "Nah, that's not it. I take my wins and leave it at that. There is a fine line between good natured heckling and rubbing it in someone's face. You are simply throwing salt on our wound and enjoying it."

She countered, "The rest of you were clapping and cheering earlier, when the Giants were losing, how is this different?"

I replied, "This is the EAGLES BAR. I told you that when you sat down. Everyone here is an Eagles fan except for you two. We come to one bar for that reason, it is a haven from the rest of the rude and obnoxious Giant fans."

The manager of the bar, Jim, who was bartending, and incidently a Jets fan, was watching this had come around before I started my tirade. He approached us both and put his hand on her shoulder, saying that he agreed with me. He said that he also felt that they crossed the line from cheering to making the people there feel bad over the loss. I'm guessing that Mulligan's may have some experience in passionate fans having to nurse a loss amongst opposing fans. I thanked Jim and ended my conversation with the two Giant fans, turning my attention to saying good-bye to friends and watching the closing interviews on the TV.

I'm not proud about what I said to them, I might have been a bit rougher in the wake of the loss. But I do write, warts and all, what happened. I know that some people are going to read this and not understand how someone can get so upset "over just a game". I think the only people who could understand are people from Philadelphia or true Boston Red Sox fans. It was a bitter, ugly defeat. It's not like we are talking about a loss to the Bengals. It was the Giants. At Philadelphia. After a game where for the first 3 quarters we looked like a Super Bowl team. The Eagles sacked Eli Manning 8 times. I was already looking foward to going to work for that week. It was going to be great to read perrenial nay-sayers about the Eagles, like Cris Collinsworth and Deion Sanders, have to praise our Birds. I could already see us being 4-0 and headed to the Dallas game with a chip on our shoulder.

Now we are 1-1. Could we afford losing? Sure. I don't know if we could afford such a disasterous loss, however. It was a demoralizing defeat, but also a good lesson learned. When you have your foot on the enemy's throat, you have got to put him away.

Another lesson learned?

Never watch the game with strangers who are opposing fans again.

17 Comments

I saw the whole thing, and you were fine. She told me during the game how much she enjoyed watching the game in "enemy terrority" and I said "at least we're not heckling and nice fans" and she agreed. Then to turn around and be a complete c*** about "her team" winning was ridiculous. She's lucky you were sitting there and not me, b/c she'd have been wearing my beer.

I'm an Eagles fan from South Jersey (now living in Hoboken). After the game ended I left my apt. to run some errands with the hopes of blowing off some steam. With my McNabb jersey still on I walked down Washington Street with people all over yelling f- the Eagles and other pleasant things. When people were joking around and having some fun with it, I didn't care, even talking with people about how the Giants never folded. However, some idiots were taking it way too far. That's when I realized the difference between Philly fans and New York fans. It seems as if you realized this as well yesterday. Philly fans are ALWAYS passionate about their team. It's been 23 years since a parade down Broad Street and yet fans still turn out. New York fans are beyond fair weather (see Yankees Stadium in late 80's/early 90's). Philly fans always had and always will have pride. New York fans show their pride too, but it's usually when the game is over.

If you want to have an Eagles only party have it at your house or deal with what comes. I wonder why there is a jail and judge in the stadium?

I saw that couple and like mel posted -we did speak to her and they did seem pretty cool until the end. In fact, I gave the old guy a bar stool that I had saved for and Eagles fan that was running late because he looked so old and I felt bad that he would have to stand (also, before knowing they were giants fans). I don't think you were wrong- it is an Eagles bar, they could have picked any other place in hoboken to watch the game.

phast- What a lame response! If I'm at any bar other than Mulligans, I don't revel in the defeat of any team. It's called common courtesy! I stayed and watched the Jets game, and even though I don't like the Jets I routed FOR them. It's just about knowing how to handle yourself in a social setting.

As for our court, I'm almost positive Dallas started the court in the stadium idea BEFORE Philly did. Although we probably use it more. :)

Jimmy is an AWESOME bartender!!!! He likes us as does the rest of the crew at Mulligans!! And we like him and the rest of the crew!!! I am sure he has seen his shares of fights considering when Mel and I got there it was filled with Irish fans watching county mayo and county kerry playing soccer. And some fans were not happy with the outcome of that match!

It sounds like something was left out. If you went up and asked them to "get the fuck out" then I think you're in the wrong (note: I've never met you, so don't take that as personal judgement -- I reserve that kind of thing for actually meeting and talking to a person). If they were just enjoying a victory at a bar, then I think you just have to take it, as long as they don't make it personal towards anyone in the bar. Trust me, I take sports way too seriously, and I would feel the same way as you were I in a similar situation. But, I think the best thing to do is to suck it up and move on (of course, I think Philly fans might be an exception case here, given history -- I'll have to ponder that one more).

I'm actually a diehard 49er fan from CA and was planning on watching that game at Mulligan's since I like the bar and it's near where I live. Now, that game should be cake for the Eagles since the 49ers suck, but will I be subject to the same treatment from the Eagles fans there if I cheer on my team? I don't consider myself obnoxious, but those lines are often blurred when alcohol is involved.

Michael, you didn't get the story, no one harrassed these fans, NOT ONCE during the game or at the end -the decided to cheer on endless over our loss which was not cool - they knew from the beginning they were in an Eagles bar. By all means come out and meet fellow football fans!!!!

I hear what you guys are saying, people can get sour when their team loses, especially around dozens of fellow hardcore fans. But Sean, can you further explain what was truly and honestly "obnoxious"? Maybe you left something out.

"The game ends and the Giant fans are cheering and obnoxious. The Eagle fans are quiet and saying their goodbyes to each other and they still continue clapping."

I'm sure the same thing happened in Philadelphia, no?

Were they cursing, pointing, laughing? Or just plainly celebrating and clapping?

Were they supposed to be quiet? I understand Mel, that you're saying "revel in defeat of any team", but look at the flip side, they were cheering the victory of their team at a public establishment. It wasn't a funeral, it was just a game. A crazy OT tight game, but nonetheless, properly dealing with rival and over-celebratory fans would make you better sports.

If what you guys are saying is true, then they really wouldn't be able to clap or cheer when the Giants made a good play even! That, too, would be considered obnoxious, no?

I sort of agree with the poster that said make the party private, or deal with the other patrons that may come in. Haven, oasis or not, it's still public, like the Link.

Maybe you should re-phrase it from "eagle bar" to "a public place where eagles fans have decided to congregate". Because although you guys go there, you still don't own it. That is where I think the problem lies. You feel it's your "territory" or "home field" and as a result, tempers and emotions flare. Just like fights happen at a particular stadium.

If that was Stallworth catching the winning touchdown, would you guys be quiet knowing full well that there were Giants fans present? I doubt it. The rules would apply differently.

Is it possible that you just viewed their happiness as obnoxious because the Eagles lost?

I guess the bottom line is that there is strength in numbers. I'd chalk it up to the home/away field comparison. Which is why at almost every football game, some fan of the away team always gets his ass kicked by the home fans :)

Thankfully no one got hurt!

Mike - they were sitting next to me the entire game, so I didn't go up to them. They were cheering, and I waited. Cheering more. I waited. "Woo-Woo" and more cheering. It went on for a while. It wasn't simply that the Giants won and I snarled "GET THE FUCK OUT". Not even close. There was a PROLONGED amount of them whooping it up and after a bit I knew that it was "crossing the line" to all the Eagle fans who were in the bar. Its not like I was standing in Black Bear or Whiskey Bar or Madisons with my Eagles jersey on, amongst a diverse fan base. We had 40 Eagle fans and 2 Giant fans. The Giant fans made it a point that they wanted to rub the loss in our face. As for coming to the bar as a 49ers fan, I wouldn't suggest sitting on the Eagles side. There are two sides to the bar, the "Front" bar and the "Back" bar. I'm going to ask for future opposing fans to watch the game at the Front bar.

Perry - I'm sure something gets lost in the written translation. I 100% agree with you that they have every right to cheer and be happy. They went past the normal amount of happiness and glee to a point where they were simply obnoxious. Ya just gotta take my word for it, man.

As for the "Eagles bar", its not like we randomly chose Mulligans and descended upon it. The bar approached us about hosting our club. They wanted our business. I think part of that is getting a comfortable setting to enjoy the game. This isn't a situation of a group of fans going to some random bar and watching the game - this is a bar that is hosting a club, a gathering, a group of people to enjoy their team play.

Aside from that the manager of the bar was even on our side and he wasn't even an Eagles fan. If he came up to me and said, "Sean, they can cheer, I don't see anything wrong." I would have apologized and seethed in my loss. But he didn't.

I absolutely was angry with the Eagles loss, as was everyone else in that bar. We didn't need salt on our wound right after the game and the two Giants fans were gleefully rubbing it in - that's the bottom line.

Seems that even some Eagles fans got unruly after the game. It was reported in the NY Post (the paper of record) that fans vandalized a NY-area news van by breaking windows, antennae and urinating on the van. So, it seems that ugliness went both ways that day. That being said, I find it completely out of character that you vented so vehemently, but it was a colossal loss. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt on that one, I've been known to spout an obscenity or two myself.

I can understand that -- it sounds like they clearly overstayed their welcome and were I in a similar situation, I probably would have reacted more violently.

I'll take your advice and steer clear of Mulligan's and watch the game somewhere else on Sunday. Good luck, but you won't need it to win anyway.

Actually my advice is just watch it in the "Front bar". There are other fans there and they are seperated from the "Back bar" where the Eagle fans sit.

Also I was thinking about something. The equivalent is like a bunch of Eagle fans going to Giants stadium to watch a game. I have been there lots of time, wearing my Eagles jersey. I have gotten heckled and threatened and peanuts thrown at me.

I usually keep my cheering down to a respectful level. I'm sure there are plenty of obnoxious Eagle fans who go there and love to rub it in people's faces, too.

What do you think happens to the obnoxious fans? The nice Giants fans say, "Pardon me? Please keep it down, sir!"

No, Giants fans will throw punches.

Much is the same with our bar. You wanna come there, have some respect with who you are watching this game with. At the VERY least sit in the Front Bar. If you can't help yourself and feel the strong need to sit in the Back bar with the Eagles fans and also the strong need to cheer amongst them - maybe find another bar.

Sounds fair. I guess I'm used to rooting for my team in the company of the enemy so I think I have perfected the "respectful" cheering thing. Plus, I always think it's fun to wager a drink or an appetizer on one of the game's outcomes (like who scores first, halftime leads, more interceptions, etc.) with someone from the opposition. But, I will respect your wishes and watch at the front bar or somewhere else.

Michael-
Two points to keep in mind:

Mulligans has a door that separates the back bar (where we are --dance party is usually going on in there Friday/Saturday nights) and the front bar - where all the games are on and a mix of fans hang out. After the game, I was outside smoking and several Giants fans came out of the front bar and were heckling me... it's their right to do so, we lost. Now if they had descended upon the back bar and done that, they might have gotten punched (as an aside, I made friends with them after the heckling stopped, it was all in good fun). The two idiots Furey is referring to are not only true Giants (or even football) fans, they're just out to get a rise out of people. At their age I'd expect them to be over that.

Second point - A good looking guy should ALWAYS feel welcome at Mulligans during football season! :) Or more seriously, is it NOT the Eagles Club intent to keep anyone away (furey will have to verify it's his club, but that's my guess). I think I speak for everyone when I say we're all very glad to have a place to watch our games and we would hope that our presence increases Mulligans revenues and thereby encourages them to allow us to stay there for many seasons to come.

Well said. I think you've sold me on watching the game at Mulligan's -- I'll be there with bells on. And seeing as how good looking men are welcome, I really can't say no (I'll try to bring at least one of my good looking friends, just in case). Should any of you Eagles fans care to express your condolences to a downtrodden 49ers fan in the front bar, feel free to do so.

Should the 49ers win the game, I'll buy a round for anyone in the back bar.

I'll be sitting with Furey (he wears his Villanova edition Westbrook jersey), I will be wearing a white #36. Feel free to introduce yourself. I assure you Furey's one of the friendliest guys in the bar, and I'm mostly all bark and no bite. :)

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This page contains a single entry by Furey published on September 18, 2006 12:16 AM.

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