No NFL Draft will ever compare to the festivities at the Art Museum in Philadelphia back in 2017. It kicked off a magical 10-month span for the Eagles that began with iconic fumble recoverer Derek Barnett being drafted and ending with Jason Kelce delivering a speech for the ages from the very same spot. 2017 was likely the first time the vast majority of Eagles fans were able to attend a draft, myself included, and it was absolutely bonkers to see so many Birds fans gathered together in a non-game setting in the middle of April. That’s the unity I truly adore when it comes to this fan base.
Obviously, there will be no in-person NFL Draft this season. Las Vegas, the would-be host city, is out, as the league shifts toward an entirely virtual draft on account of the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only will NFL teams and potential draftees not be able to gather in a centralized location, fans won’t be able to pack into their friends’ and family’s houses and apartments to watch the Eagles make a pick that will either make or break the team. It’s a huge bummer, but just because you can’t boo the crap out of Howie Roseman for drafting a linebacker at 1-21 while your boomer uncle sitting next to you goes gaga over it doesn’t mean you can’t have a blast this weekend. I’m here to help you plan the best quarantine-safe draft party possible.
I consider myself somewhat of a fashionista. Besides my daily go-to clothes, I have an unhealthy addiction to buying vintage Eagles junk on eBay. During this quarantine alone, I’ve bought a Hugh Douglas jersey, an Eagles windbreaker, an Eagles crew neck sweatshirt and a kelly green Starter cap (it was like $75 total, so get off my ass, I find the deals). You don’t have to be a crazy idiot like me to look good for the draft, but you need to rep the Eagles.
You have a lucky jersey? Wear that bad boy Thursday through Saturday. Do not take it off. Do not shower. The fate of the Eagles’ universe is in your hands. Are you one of those lucky ducks who has a Carson Wentz North Dakota shirsey? Are you a Penn State loid who has a white #24 jersey in honor of Miles Sanders? There’s never been a better time to showcase the college of one of your favorite players. I regretfully inform you all that Oregon Ducks apparel is banned for the rest of eternity after Chip Kelly’s unceremonious departure from Philadelphia.
Just have some fun with it! No one gets to dress up for a night out to dinner or for hitting the bars because we’re all stuck inside. Spice things up and enjoy yourself!
Now, if you don’t drink alcohol, I 100 percent respect your commitment and decision. Get yourself a case of Polar seltzer water and indulge.
If you do drink, and I always encourage you to drink responsibly and never drink and drive under any circumstances, you’re going to need some booze. I went on a little voyage last Friday, as I traveled to New Jersey to buy some liquor from one of those Joe Canal’s stores (did I just incriminate myself?). Should you commit interstate crimes? I would never tell you to explicitly do that, but you’d for sure get away with it in the current climate.
For me? I’m a big fan of the alcoholic seltzers. My favorite brands are Crook & Marker and Truly, which has a new lemonade-flavored variety pack that I’m all about. I have some of those on ice in addition to the killer Yards variety pack. Even if the Birds aren’t playing, you need to put out for Philly and Yards does just that. Yards Brawler is a particular favorite of mine. If nothing else, you can’t go wrong with some good ol’ light beer. I have a case of Miller Lite ready to be shotgunned when the Eagles get K.J. Hamler and K’Von Wallace on Friday night.
As for liquor, I’m excited to start Saturday’s afternoon draft slate with a little mini brunch. I have some Jameo and Bailey’s for an Irish Coffee as well as sparkling rose to mix with grapefruit juice for a delicious mimosa.
Find the drink concoction that works for you! Make sure you have some Eagles-themed koozies (I have approximately 84), kick back and relax. Only drink what you’re comfortable with and be responsible!
As many of you know, I am a lifelong Philadelphian, having spent my childhood and “adult” years in South Philadelphia after living in University City during college. If you don’t live in the city proper, I am unfortunately unable to give some good food recommendations, but if your license says “Philadelphia” on it, I’m here to help. Whether you’re doing pickup or delivery, there are a ton of great options for football-ready food.
Wings: I love the baked wings from Stogie Joe’s Tavern on East Passyunk Avenue. Their wings are my top candidate for my Thursday night dinner. Stogie’s also has some of the best mussels and strombolis in this city, not to mention their unique BBQ sausage bites with sweet and hot Italian sausage. I’m frigging starving just writing this!
Pizza: Order from any of the 467 Santucci’s spots in the Philly area. It’s a staple and you can never go wrong with them. As for other places, I’m really digging Pizza Plus, a new shop at 12th and Mifflin from the people behind the award-winning Pizzeria Beddia in Fishtown. They’re only doing pickup during quarantine and it can be a long wait because the place is so buzzworthy right now, so make sure you order early! Some of my other favorite pizza joints in no particular order: La Rosa, Slice, Marra’s, Zavino, Emmy Squared, Allegro Pizza, Pizzeria Pesto and Big Ass Slices.
Cheesesteaks: If you know me, you know I love a nice juicy cheesesteak. I actually wrote an article last year about my favorite cheesesteaks in the city for NBC Sports Philadelphia. Before people start hating on my for choices as they’ve been doing since the list dropped, I’d like to remind you that almost every single cheesesteak you can find in the city is good. Everyone has their own favorite joints. They’re all good. Enjoy.
I’d like to shoutout the great folks at Philip’s Steaks in South Philly specifically, as they dropped steaks off at numerous Bleeding Green Nation tailgates during the 2019 Eagles season. Get some pizza rolls and cheese fries on the side or get whacky and order a pizza steak! Live it up this weekend! We all deserve it.
Snacks: You’re going to need some munchies because you’ll be stress eating during the lead-up to the Birds being on the clock. I’m a big hummus guy. It taste amazing and it’s relatively healthy, so you can eat it guilt-free. My go-to brands are Ithaca and Tribe. Grab your chip/cracker of choice (I’m fond of the Tostitos Multigrain Scoops and the Blue Diamond Almond Nut Thins) and dig in.
I’m also obsessed with sweet potato fries. In all honesty, it’s hard to find tier-1 sweet potato fries in Philly. I do like the baked ones from Fuel, which has multiple locations throughout the city. I may try to pick up some of the frozen Alexia ones from the grocery store today. Make sure you’re stocked up on comfort food! You’re really going to need it if Howie blows it.
If you’re quarantined all alone, FaceTime some friends, hop on Zoom or use that Houseparty app that’s popping off. Soak it up if you’re at home with your significant other or parents or kids. The Birds bring us all together. Even if we’re not in the same room as people we’re used to cheersing brews with after a big Zach Ertz touchdown, you can still feel that sense of community from miles away. If you’re looking for another option, you could always check out the Bleeding Green Nation Instagram account (@bleedinggreeninsta), where we’ll be doing some IG Live work all weekend long.
Have fun. Go Birds. Let’s get Carson some weapons and gear up for another NFC East crown!