First I want to say a big thank you to bebin, Jerz, and hoosinhole for all of their wonderfully appreciated advice concerning things to visit and see while in Philly. I pretty much checked off all of the things you guys offered, but I have to say, my favorite thing to see was something nobody mentioned: the Eastern State Penitentiary. But that is neither here nor there.
Second, I want to remind you all that I am Canadian (this will be important later lol). So to fly down and watch a game was no cheap task. That being said, we were stuck in the 200's, way at the back. Behind us were some obnoxious Redskin fans (all with RGIII jerseys, apparently they just started being fans 2 years ago like 80% of that fanbase). In front of us was this young woman who was taking selfies all night and updating her facebook but was not watching the game (she would ask her boyfriend when/if someone scored) - basically living her life through her phone and just generally everything wrong with young people these days. On my left was this old woman who spilled beer on me in the 1st quarter. On my left was my girl, and then some dudebro who kept saying that Foles is going to the HOF because of 7TDs. He was the "analyst" in the group.
That being said, it was THE greatest experience of my young life.
You must understand, as a Canadian, you would never see half the shit that goes on during football games ANYWHERE in Canada. I'm talking about everything from the tailgating, to the actual game, to the post-game ride on the subway where the subway attendant was chirping a Redskin fan THROUGH THE MICROPHONE. This might sound standard to some of you but it was by far the most outrageously awesome thing I have ever experienced.
So we get to The Linc around 10ish, not knowing what exactly we (my gf and I) were going to do, because, despite our best research, tailgating is entirely foreign to us. Luckily, we almost immediately find these dudes BBQing with a Canadian flag on their car - what an opportunity! So we go make small talk and eventually they like us enough to offer us some beer and fit us into their social circle. We basically just hung out, but at some point you realize, "Damn, it's 11 o'clock and I am already drunk". Then you see the cops come by and they are cheering you on to shotgun a beer. This would never, I repeat never, happen in Canada. From my small experience here in Philly, I have to say that most Americans are generally far from more friendly than up here (here people, I would say, are far too polite to be either friendly or rude, you know?). But I digress. To keep things a little brief, the highlight for me was when all these randoms came up to us, basically talking to us like we were friends of 20 years, just because we were wearing an Eagles jersey. That was amazing. Then some homeless-looking people came up to us, and after chatting with us for a bit, said, "So you guys ACTUALLY HAVE tickets to the game?". This is when I realized that people come to the stadium just to tailgate and get drunk with fellow fans. Fucking awesome. Pardon my French. But it's just fucking awesome.
Now, I already feel like I've gone on too long so I'll keep the "inside the stadium" part shorter. I quickly realized that football is an event. Like, you don't just go watch a game and cheer whenever your team scores. You sneak in your buddies, sit in whatever empty seats you find, you come and go, order beer for randoms, etc. etc. And I don't know how loud The Linc sounded on TV, but I can tell you it was LOUD in there. I know the fans get a bad rep for not making noise, but the entire game there was just sound coming from the stands. I lost my voice near the end of the 4th. When the ref announced a penalty, it was barely audible. When Celek's TD was overturned, the boos (although it was the right call) were deafening. And when Boykin intercepted that pass, the entire stadium erupted (it was awesome because someone yelled, "Intercept that shit" just as RGIII lofted that pass in). I personally was jumping up and down in my seat. I basically acted the way I normally would at home, where no one else can see me. In Canada, you have to tame yourself a little (as a contrast, we went to see a GSP fight in Montreal, and the atmosphere was not nearly as crazy as it was at The Linc). I have never seen that many people in one spot. Old men dancing. Staff members telling you to get loud. Just a sea of green and noise. It was crazy. Just crazy.
As for the Skins fans behind us, I kept chirping "RG 3 wins, eh?". That really pissed them off lol.
The greatest part was, when leaving the stadium, pretty much all of the staffers were high-fiving us and excited. Again, in Canada, the dynamic is just not quite the same. The player entrances are more grand, there's fireworks (of course you couldn't have fireworks in a hockey stadium, but still), jets flying over, just a general feeling of grandiose that is not found up here.
Oh, and I made sure to grab my "First Eagles Game" certificate. It's kind of cheap-looking but whatever.
Overall, just an awesome, awesome experience.
Thank you to the Eagles organization and their staff for making this such a memorable experience for a pair of reserved Canadian!