By: Julio Olmo
In order to understand Eagles Nation fans, you must know your Philadelphia Eagles history.
The story about Eagles fans booing and then belting Santa Claus with snow balls is absolutely true.
The fan base was very frustrated for a long time.
Hand to God!
A fan once fired a road flare into another section inside the stadium,
“Eagles fans often get into fist fights with visiting fans wearing another team’s jersey…”
Also true, and…
I witness a young lawyer, personally – who shall remain nameless – wager with other Eagles fans during a game against the Dallas Cowboys to see which one could throw a snowball from the stands and knock off – former Dallas’ Head Coach – Tom Landry’s hat off the top of his head.
Eagles fans throwing snowballs at San Francisco 49ers fans during a home game
The turning point back then for the frustrated fan base was the hiring of Dick Vermeil in 1976.
His compulsive work ethic almost immediately started to pay dividends and his outside the box thinking ignited Eagles Nation back then.
Vermeil did bond with fans when he held open tryouts for a roster spot on his team.
It was an obvious publicity stunt to gain the favor and the goodwill of the fan base, but then Vermeil Upped The Ante,
Shocked everyone in the NFL by really selecting, walk on Vince Papale as part of his roster.
It’s impossible to put into words the feelings of pride that we felt every time…
We saw one of our own!
Run out that tunnel wearing a Philadelphia Eagles’ uniform.
Dick Vermeil’s compulsive work ethic would finally get the better of him as he cited feeling burnt out and retired in 1982.
The burnt out factor was predictable.
Vermeil, very often, would go to sleep on a couch in his office after burning the midnight oil and cleaning crews had to wait until he was in the film room in order to properly clean his office because the man was always in there.
He returned to coaching in 1997 and guided the St Louis Rams to a Super Bowl victory in 1999, then retired shortly after settling that piece of unfinished business.
We always felt that if all the Philadelphia Eagles head coaches who followed Vermeil had put in at least half of his dedication and guts to the job, a Super Bowl victory would had been ours a lot sooner.
It is not possible to put a price tag on the amount of goodwill that he brought to the franchise during his tenure, but wherever you’re nowadays…
Coach, thanks for all the hard work you put in!
INVINCIBLE ~ Is the True Story of Vince Papale, starring Mark Wahlberg
“One of our own gets a one-in-a-million chance to live every football fans’ dream…to play in The National Football League!”