My weekend was good. If you didn't read, I was interviewed by the Philadelphia Daily News about my Eagles club here.
Of course, after reading the article I was happy, then the comments came along. I guess what Tina Fey said yesterday at the Golden Globes says it all..
There's a few non-championship playoff games that go down in our collective sports history that I remember as the "best" ever. I'm sure to say that beating the Giants, the #1 seed, at East Rutherford, with all the hype surrounding this game...was unbelievable. There were moments i'm watching the game in disbelief, much like some of the Phillies game this season, where i'm watching history happen. I honestly believe that just some things are starting fall into place to make this a magical year.
Rivalries are made by games like this. The Giants fans were giving me grief all week long, but most were secretly nervous. For good reason. Giants lost 3 of their 4 regular season games, and lost the momentum of their 11-1 start.
Most sports writers and newscasts have covered what happened yesterday. I can go over the obvious, but they have already done so. The better team won.
One thing that always has gotten me over my years here is how Giants fans complain that Eagles fans are so proud of their team even though we haven't won a Super Bowl. The proof is in our recent history. We have been to five NFC Championship games in the last eight years. Everyone has a different measure of success. To me, the Eagles have been a successful team, albeit without the rings to prove it, for the better part of this century.
Eagles are on to Arizona, the House Of Cards, and are the early favorites. We can only hope that the Birds don't deflate after this big win, or look past the Cardinals. This has been just a great year to be a Philadelphia sports fan, and win or lose next week, it's just been a wild, fun year. No matter what happens in the upcoming games, I have had one of the most memorable years as an Eagles fan with two critical wins over our NFC East rivals.
Sam Donnellon: Eagles have fans in Giant country
by Sam Donnellon
Philadelphia Daily News
Daily News Sports Columnist
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Here's the question, the answer as good a reason as any for you to amp up your personal holiness.
Say you don't make it up to the pearly gates, and the devil gives you this choice:
Would you like to spend eternity all hot and bothered with a roomful of Cowboys fans - or Giants fans?
"Oh, good Lord," Sean Iaquinto, founder of the Eagles Club of Hoboken, said yesterday.
Uh-uh. The good Lord has been deactivated for this one. You're on your own, Sean.
"I would probably say the Giants," he said after mulling it for a while. "I hate Dallas for many reasons, but the Giants are like our brother from another mother. They have the same kind of smash-mouth reputation. They're a similar organization with similar fans. A lot of my friends are
Until Iaquinto started his little club 5 years ago, they were pretty much his only friends.
"I was the lone, loud Eagles fan in the bar," he said. "Even when the Giants or the Jets weren't playing, I couldn't even get them to turn the sound."
Solution: Find your own bar and populate it with transplanted Bird watchers. Enter Irish-born Paul Dawson whose bar, Mulligan's, located in the heart of Hoboken (isn't that a song?), was amazingly unaffiliated. Hoboken is just across the river from Manhattan, 9 miles from the Meadowlands, a yuppie community with a sizable representation of Philadelphians.
Mulligan's can hold about 200 people. It is often packed early on weekend days with soccer and rugby fans transplanted from the Old Sod. But afternoons, and Sundays in particular, were pretty empty.
Were pretty empty.
"I told him that I could bring down 100, even 150 people on most Sundays," Iaquinto said. "He had no idea what was about to happen to him."
That was a couple of years ago, after the club outgrew a smaller Hoboken pub. Now a blog (www.philly2hoboken.com) and group at Google (http://groups.google.com/group/philadelphia-eagles-club-of-hoboken) have grown their numbers well into the hundreds.
"We have a ton of girls come, too," he said. "One way I promoted the club was to make sure I included pictures of cute girls at Mulligan's on the Web site. Why? Girls bring guys."
But faith waned on the Hudson just as it had on the Schuylkill this season, as the Birds fluttered to that 5-5-1 record. Iaquinto said some games during that late fall stretch drew as few as 25 club members on game day - then again, that might have had as much to do with the Phillies' World Series run as anything. The Philadelphia Eagles Club of Hoboken changed its colors for a while there. In fact Iaquinto blogged only once about the Birds from September to December.
But the late-season surge - and particularly the Dec. 7 victory over the Giants up here - has recharged the rowdy group. When things are going well, like now, patrons in bars all along the street are subjected to the sound of the Eagles' fight song.
Tomorrow, Mulligan's will be packed to capacity with fans of Premier League soccer team Chelsea - the owner's true love - and Eagles fans. Chelsea kicks off against hated Manchester United at 11; the Eagles play the Giants at 1.
Giants fans are allowed in. But they must stay at the front bar.
"The back bar," said Iaquinto, "is ours."
On his blog, that is Rule 4:
"If you want to bring your friends, who are Giants fans, then sit at the front bar, please. We are doing this to just keep the peace, during a game where emotions and alcohol can get in the way of good fun."
"I think a lot of them come to watch us wallow in our misery," Iaquinto said. "It's like me with the Mets. Some people enjoy other's misery. I do."
Most of the time, it's all in fun. As he said, some of his best friends are Giants fans. They're kind of his half-brothers after all, sharing the same passion for their team as he does for his.
As for the occasional Dallas fans? Iaquinto won't make that same leap. He wouldn't be caught dead with one.
No matter how nicely the devil asked. *
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