COMMENTARY | The start of training camp always seems to generate a loud buzz in Philadelphia, but this year marks the start of a new era for the Philadelphia Eagles. With a new coach comes a new perspective and outlook on the future of the Eagles.
No matter what changes have been made or will be soon to come, the Eagles will continue to be the big talk of the town, as I discussed previously. So what is it about the Eagles that Philadelphia loves?
1. The Buddy Ryan EraBuddy Ryan is a man who never won a single playoff game as head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles but continues to be admired by many. This is because Ryan had the kind of personality the typical Philadelphia sports fan could get behind. Ryan spoke his mind, was never one to shy away from controversy, and his team bought in to that mentality. Ryan's defensive mindset set the tone for the Eagles of the late 1980s, and fans loved watching a tough, gritty hard-nosed defense take the field on a weekly basis.
In the more recent era of Philadelphia Eagles history, there is one player who may have been a perfect fit on those earlier Buddy Ryan teams. Brian Dawkins, viewed as the team leader during his time in Philadelphia, embodied the spirit of Philadelphia anytime he stepped on the field at Veterans Stadium or Lincoln Financial Field.
Dawkins was a kind and reserved man off the field, looking to do good in the community. But as soon as he placed the helmet and shoulder pads on him, he turned into a fierce character that was willing to lay it all out on the field just to make a play. That was the kind of spirit that Philadelphia fans want to see in their players.
3. The 700 LevelEagles fans often are viewed in a poor light, but that is certainly deserved. Some might even take pride in being a rough and tough crowd as they feel they intimidate the opposition. That reputation stems back decades but is highlighted during the era of Veterans Stadium, when the upper level (the 700 level) would be the place for pregame drunkards and loudmouths to gather and cheer for the Birds or ridicule the opponents.
4. It gets passed down through familiesFandom is often passed down in every city. In Philadelphia, this is also true. Our parents watched the Eagles, and our grandparents probably did as well. For a number of families in the area, Sunday rituals in the fall are planned around kickoff times.
5. The constant pursuit of a Super Bowl
Philadelphia fans are starving for a Super Bowl championship. The Eagles are the only team in the NFC East without a Vince Lombardi Trophy, and they are also the only franchise without multiple trophies. That day will come at some point, and all of the pain and suffering experienced thus far will be rewarded.
Kevin McGuire is a Philadelphia area sportswriter. Follow McGuire on Twitter @krmcguire.
Read more of Kevin McGuire's stories about the Philadelphia Eagles:Donovan McNabb Understands Philadelphia Fans and Media as Much as he Misunderstands them
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