I don’t know if it was the beautiful weather, the day’s specific opponent, or the lingering excitement from the previous game where the Eagles moved the ball at will against a team the national media has crowned Superbowl champs already. I left for the parking lot a full 45 minutes ahead of schedule sensing something was a bit off. It didn’t take long to realize that my spidey senses were correct, but I was still about a half-hour too late… our normal tailgating spot, and the entire parking lot it was in, was jam-packed already. The reasons for the outcome was most likely a combination of the three reasons I mentioned previously, but an overflow of black and gold jerseys had the most to do with it.
Yep, this was as close to a takeover as I have seen in my tailgating days. No, it wasn’t even close to a real takeover, but I haven’t seen this many opposing-team fans tailgating since… well, ever. I have to give credit to the Steelers’ fans. Many other fans don’t have the stones to brave the overblown bad reputation of the Philly faithful. The bigger issue I have is with the aforementioned faithful. How could a fanbase with so many self-proclaimed “die-hards” in it, let this many tickets go to opposing fans? Here’s a tip for my Philly bretheren: next time you get shut-out from buying single game tickets for the very few thousand available seats there are in the stadium, instead of logging on to the Eagles message board or sports talk radio to piss, cry and whine like a high school girl stood up on prom night, go over to StubHub or Ebay or any ticket broker and buy the tickets yu wanted to watch the team you claim to love so much… or are you just a “die-hard” for the right price?
It was a disgrace to see that much yellow in the parking lots and stadium on Sunday, and the Eagles fanbase should be flat-out embarrassed by it.
As I mentioned previously, it was a beautiful day out and due to my gut feeling, I’m sitting all alone in the parking lot waiting for the rest of the crew to arrive. I fire up the smoker and chat with a few fellow Eagles fans nearby who were already a few hours into their tailgate. As the crew arrived, the fare started making it’s way to the grill…
A 4:15 start means no brat and egg this week. Sorry. We start off with the standard cheeseburgers with some big-ass beef ribs sitting off to the side getting a quick smoke. Following the burgers and ribs was honey mustard-marinaded pork, hot sausage, and a few turkey drumsticks. The turkey is just a warm-up for the Thanksgiving feast that I have planned when the Eagles host the Cardinals this year in the prime-time game. The preview tasted pretty damn good.
Some slaw and pasta salad complimented the meats. Side dishes aren’t that popular in our group, but the pasta salad was very welcomed on what turned out to be a very hot day atop the blacktop of the parking lot.
The quantity of the selections this week paled in comparison to last, but the quality did not. Stone IPA was the headliner for week three and the second tailgating affair of the season. Stone Brewing has been represented at both tailgates so far, and that should be the case in the future as well. The change-of-pace beer was Dogfish Head Punkin Ale. Yep, ’tis the season! I only cracked one this week but the next two gatherings on October 5th and 26th should feature them heavily. The low-key option for this week was a choice of Bud Light in the bottle or can.
Let me take this opportunity to point out that the youngest member of the group this week didn’t consume a drop of alcohol due to overdoing it the night before. I’ll make sure I remember to bring some milk for you next time, Bo. Better luck next time, rook.
Even though there is way too much black and gold in the area, including our very tailgate, the parking lots were extremely civil… as was the longer journey to our seats due to the forced relocation of this week’s gathering. Once the game started there was the normal smack talk and asshole chants as Steeler fans took their seats, but the altercations were kept to a minimum for the first three quarters of the game.
Once it was apparent in the 4th that the Eagles weren’t going to let Pittsburgh move the ball at all and the crowd reached deafening-levels on third downs, blood started to boil in the Steelers fans that were probably catching shit all game long. Security started running up and down aisles to check on a some shouting matches and a few Steelers fans were escorted out in the surrounding sections. Two or three terrible towels took quick flights across the section as well. Finally, I saw something I can’t really say I’ve ever experienced in any stadium before… a short pose-down between a Philly and Pittsburgh fan.
One XL-sized Steelers fan started challenging Eagles’ fans who must have been busting his balls, waving to them to come to him and throw down. He caught the attention of all fans in the section and the asshole chant started brewing, but he didn’t stop challenging the surrounding fans… who were now laughing at him. On the other end of his row, stands up an Eagles fan, sized XXL, waving the Steelers fan to come over to him… and then takes his shirt of and started doing a Hulk Hogan-style pose session. In response to that, the Steeler fan took his shirt off and went pose-for-pose. What started out as funny evolved into pretty gay so we all focused our attention back on the game. The two half-naked guys sat back down and watched the game as well with no further interactions.
The game ended but it was time for one more quick round on the grill. Burgers, hot sausage and dogs cooked up pretty quick as we discussed the game and waited for the crowds to disperse… but after a win like that, no one was in a hurry to pack up and leave.
I topped the day off with a double cheeseburger on a kaiser roll… and it kicked my ass harder than the Eagles D stomped Big Ben. After eating, drinking and baking in the hot-as-hell sun for the past ten hours, it’s time to call it a day. Another one is in the books.