Snowballs for Santa

David Rogers

If you want to piss off an Eagles fan, make an ignorant, cliched reference to one incident that happened 45 years ago.

Bob Costas really stepped in it during last Sunday's broadcast of the Bears - Eagles game. During his pre-game introduction, he said "the spirited fans here in Philly once infamously booed Santa Claus, but we expect nothing but cheers for the guy they’ve taken to calling St. Nick around here."

Yes, on December 15, 1968 Eagles fans booed a man in a red suit and pelted him with snowballs at halftime of the Vikings game. But remember, Bob, it wasn't really Santa. It wasn't even the actor hired to play Santa. The Eagles had a mid-game extravaganza planned, near the end of this 2-12 season, where a Santa figure would ride around the field in a massive sleigh-topped float. But the float got stuck in the mud, and "Santa" never showed up, possibly drunk.

As we learn from Snopes.com's very entertaining account, the Eagles' entertainment director found a 20-year-old, 5'6", 170 lb. dude named Frank Olivo in the stands, who was wearing a red corduroy suit and a fake beard. CORDUROY!

He paid Olivo some money, handed him a sack and sent him out. The guy was terrible. Here is what the Eagles own Public Relations Director said about this "actor": "He was the worst-looking Santa I'd ever seen. Scraggly suit, bad beard, I'm not sure whether he was drunk but he appeared to be."

So yeah, fans threw snowballs to protest this defaming of the good name and image of Santa. But even today, 45 years later, lazy newscasters continue to throw out hackneyed references to cheesesteaks and snowball assaults on Saint Nick, content to not ever have to read a word about Philly or even ask anyone what's going on these days. "Hey, we got a new coach." "Whatever, how about them snowballs!?!"

Besides, if you really want to illustrate the cussedness of Philadelphia fans, you should be talking about throwing batteries at J.D. Drew or the fact that Veterans Stadium had its own jail cells and courtroom for violent fans.

Costas's hackneyed reference got answered well on Twitter. Joe (@corrado_19) referred to Bob's blatant cosmetic surgery, noting that "That booing of Santa reference is older than Costas' original eyelids...". But the best response was by Not Famous Jason (@JasonAAV): "I think we should boo santa again. Let's own this shit. F*** santa!

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