We all saw the play. Where 275lb Mike Rucker hit Garcia after a pass and landed on him with his full weight. Garcia lay on the ground for a moment in pain and AJ Feely immediately put on his helmet and starting warming up. The crowd seemed to cheer for Feeley running out on the field.
Then, ESPN showed Garcia getting up and Feeley leaving the field. It seemed, and the MNF guys acted as if, that the fans were booing the fact that Garcia got back up and was staying in the game.
Apparently we didn't see the whole picture and that might not be true...
The crowd cheered; just the sight of the local favorite provoked a rumble in the stands. And here Monday night took an odd turn.
As Garcia shook off the hit and stood, and Feeley stopped throwing and sat back down, the crowd booed. It looked horrible, just reprehensible -- cheers when Garcia went down and Feeley stood, boos when Garcia got back up and Feeley retreated.
On national TV, it was another chance to bash the locals (hey, have you heard we booed Santa?), and the Monday Night broadcast crew rose nicely to the bait. There were some extenuating circumstances -- specifically, a scoreboard replay of the hit on Garcia (which might have been roughing, but wasn't penalized). Some in the crowd insisted the booing was for the replay and the no-call.
Since the game, some media outlets and some fans have held that the boos were for the replay of Rucker's hit on the big end-zone screens, Eagles fans feeling the Panthers should have been penalized for roughing the passer, for the second play in a row. And some have said the cheers actually were for a flag dropped on the play, fans thinking it was for the hit, when actually it was against center Jamaal Jackson for venturing too far downfield on a pass play.
We'll never know for sure who was booing or cheering what. From the press box, most of the crowd activity seemed focused on Feeley, which was the way several players saw it, as well.