The "incident" in question occurred back in December of 1968 when the Philadelphia crowd of 54,535 booed Santa Claus, as portrayed by life-long Eagles fan Frank Olivio. Then just 20 years old; Olivio, whose family were long time season ticket holders, had established a tradition of wearing a Santa Claus outfit to the final home game of the season. According to legend, "Santa" was intoxicated and his red suit was in tatters when he took the field, but Olivio wants fans to know that nothing could be further from the truth. According to author Glen Macnow, who penned "The Great Philadelphia Fan Book" in 2003:
the erstwhile Santa in question -- wasn't drunk, nor was his red suit in tatters that December day in 1968 when he walked onto the field for the halftime show
As Macnow stated during his radio show on WIP-AM in Philadelphia."There's nothing that sounds worse than throwing snowballs at Santa. It's like spitting on Miss America." That brings us to our next point, anyone who would disrespect Miss America, certainly would have no qualms about their dislike for that other symbol of all that is good about America, the Dallas Cowboys.
Current Eagles head honcho Chip Kelly is trying to downplay the rivalry, but there is no denying that the Eagles consider the Dallas Cowboys to be their number one rival.
"I think maybe we respect all, we fear none. I've never been a guy that's got into the whole hate aspect of 'We hate them, so let's stay later tonight and study harder and work harder.' You've got to prepare the same way, because if you don't, you're going to get beat in this league." - Chip Kelly
Kelly is correct, of course (though it pains me to even admit that), but on the other hand there is no game that matters more to the Eagles fan base than the one that will take place this weekend. To a Philadelphia fan, outside of supporting his feathered flock, the team he most enthusiastically roots for is the one that is facing the Cowboys during any given week. That is a belief that is fully embraced by former players and coaches, none more than one Buddy Ryan. The patriarch of the Ryan football clan made no secret of his hatred of all things Dallas. In a head coaching career that saw limited success, Buddy Ryan was most proud of his 8-2 record against the Cowboys during his tenure as the Eagles coach.
New to the Philadelphia Eagles-Dallas Cowboys rivalry is cornerback Cary Williams, who joined the Eagles after a four-year stint with the Baltimore Ravens. Williams has publicly stated that he looks forward to developing the same hatred for the Cowboys, similar to the feelings he had for the Pittsburgh Steelers during his time in Baltimore.
"Right now, I’ve only played in two games against the Dallas Cowboys in my career. I didn’t like them the first time. I don’t like them this time." - Cary Williams
And then there are the fans; in the words of Brandon Lee Gowton, over at our sister site Bleeding Green Nation, for an Eagles fan, this is the highlight of the year.
This week is always fun, especially when the stakes are high. The winner of Sunday's contest will gain sole possession of the division crown for the time being. Beyond the implications of the game is the intrigue of the rivalry. There's no love lost between these two teams or their fans. The passion is intense. The will to win is high. There is almost no greater feeling than an Eagles victory over Dallas.
Of course, having never hoisted the Lombardi Trophy, I can understand why an Eagles fan would find a victory over the Cowboys to be the epiphany of Philadelphia fan-hood, akin to Newton's discovery of gravity. For them, it should be a divine experience.
Eagles fans have a unique way of thinking, especially when it comes to the Dallas Cowboys.
Now, the Cowboys haven’t really been on our radar these past two years; we’ve focused most of our energy on hating our own team. To truly hate another, as they say, you must first hate yourself.
Finally, we can once again channel our efforts to what really matters:
Hating the Cowboys.
They even have a Hater's Guide To The Dallas Cowboys, I guess it is some sort of "Cliff's Notes" for Eagles fans who cannot totally comprehend the jealousy that comes from the varying levels of Tiffany-crafted sterling silver trophies possessed by the respective teams. At least while reading the article, I was treated to a good chuckle or two.
Consider this a public service announcement, ladies. Sure, we Eagles fans have lousy facial hair, and, yeah, you have to look past the neck beards, but we’re loyal to a fault. We’re like dating a golden retriever. Besides, what’s a little neck hair between lovers? According to Match.com, 98% of marriages that involve a Cowboys fan end in divorce. The other 2% just haven’t found their spouse’s Ashley Madison profile yet. You’re better off dating a Penguins fan you met on Craigslist.
Heck even the former Govorner of Pennsylvania, who was in attendance at the Santa-game, is not above getting in on the churlish behavior.
In 1989, even Rendell played a role in the misbehavior when he bet fellow fans in the rambunctious 700 level of Veterans Stadium that they couldn't reach the field with snowballs.
He lost, in more ways than one.
Rendell, then the city's district attorney, made good on a $20 bet, but later apologized when the story inspired bad press.