Philadelphia sports fans are notorious. So, naturally, with their Eagles going to the Super Bowl for the first time in 13 years, for every story about Nick Foles or a dominant defensive line, there is a headline about the fans themselves. And mostly, of course, about their raucous or appalling behavior.
Minnesotans, coping not only with defeat but also the prospect of hosting those fans for the Super Bowl, are particularly peeved. They’re alleging hat thievery, urine-related incidents and “random acts of violence.” They’re not going to let the storyline die. And in that regard, their quarterback is helping them out.
Case Keenum appeared on “The Dan Barreiro Show” on KFAN in Minneapolis on Tuesday, and when asked about Vikings fans, he went out of his way to mention some “other fans that we may have dealt with recently – that even our girls had to deal with recently.” Of course, he meant Eagles fans.
A few minutes later, when asked to follow up on the treatment of family members in Philadelphia, he declined to get specific, but hinted at some ugliness:
“It was tough, man. I’m not gonna tell you any stories, but there were some situations that were not good. I’m glad I had some of my friends that were there to intercede in some situations. But it was tough for everybody involved, not just us on the field.”
On one hand, it’s difficult to get too worked up about comments that are so vague. On the other, there’s precedent here. We know that verbal abuse and beer-bottle throwing were features of the Viking fan experience in Philadelphia on Sunday. We know that some Eagles fans pelted the Vikings’ team bus with eggs and containers of all kinds.
We also know that Eagles fans have a history of crossing the line with their treatment of opposing players’ family members.
“I heard that’s the one stadium you keep your family from going to,” Redskins running back Chris Thompson said earlier this season. “I was told that right away my rookie year: Keep your family away.”
Keenum’s comments, therefore, aren’t all that surprising. Which is exactly the problem.
Philadelphians would surely like us to point out that most NFL cities are home to unruly, rude, and at times abusive fans. Philly isn’t unique. They’d also probably like us to point out that the fans who did dole out “tough” treatment to Keenum’s family are in the minority. The majority of Eagles followers just wanted to celebrate by driving dune buggies up the Art Museum steps and climbing light poles.
But for the first NFC championship game in Philly in 13 years, it does seem like the treatment of opposing fans was especially harsh. And apparently the Keenums weren’t immune to it.