I live in L.A. and the Eagles are playing here on Sunday. I haven’t been to a road game in person since 2009. Before then, I’d gone to games in San Fran, Oakland, San Diego, Jacksonville and the old Giants stadium. I would get decked out in green and sit amongst the hostiles (and several Eagles fans). The Jacksonville crowd in 2010 was 80% Eagles fans. The Jags fans seemed bemused and confused by us.
Friendliest local fans? Oakland Raiders. No joke. I drove up to Oakland in 2009 and strolled through the tailgates in my Eagles gear. People said hi and kept telling me how the Eagles were gonna kick their ass. When JaMarcus Russell and the Raiders pulled off the upset in a boring and frustrating game, Raiders fans apologized to me. This really happened. Now, I wasn’t sitting in The Black Hole but, still, I was surprised.
Worst experience? San Diego. This was also in 2009, a few weeks after the Oakland game. I stayed overnight in San Diego and headed out for the stadium three hours before kickoff. It was only four miles from my hotel but I wanted to get there super early! Well, San Diego isn’t really a football town so they didn’t prepare for tens of thousands of Eagles fans to arrive. The freeway exit for the stadium was backed up for miles and I sat in my car watching minutes and then HOURS go by. My girlfriend at the time was in the passenger seat and saw me melting down. She didn’t care about the Eagles or football so she took the wheel when I jumped out onto the freeway to walk to the stadium while she finished the drive and found parking. I sprinted to the stadium along with other Eagles fans who had abandoned their vehicles. I made it to our seats halfway through the 2nd quarter. And we were losing. I had a bad view of the game and was a little worried about my girlfriend and my car. She arrived at the two minute warning in the 4th and we watched the Eagles lose. On the somber fourteen mile walk to the car, we were taunted by Chargers fans who seemed really angry despite the win. Perhaps they sensed their team was going to move in a few years and were taking it out on us. We didn’t say anything to these fans and just stared straight ahead. One fan followed us in his pickup for a few minutes shouting “I’m gonna f***ing kill you!” He didn’t, but he killed my desire to go to road games. From then on I would be watching from home.
My road record is a measly 2-3. That means I had to schlep home with a loss three times. If I watch a loss on TV, I can play with my dog or watch a movie to cheer up, or I can roll up in a ball and sob. If I’m at the stadium, I have to stoically navigate my way out of their stadium and then back home, processing the pain and disappointment. It could take hours or days to get home. Brutal.
The Eagles have played in L.A. three times since the Rams and Chargers moved here and I haven’t gone to any of those games. I’ve been spoiled by the TV watching experience. Why squint and wonder about the details in this “game of inches” when you can see everything up close and crystal clear? Why deal with hostile fans, unpredictable traffic, bathroom lines and expensive tickets and food? I’d rather watch on TV.
And yet, I am going to Sunday’s game.
Why am I going back in after fourteen years? Let’s break it down:
SoFi is brand new and beautiful with a giant screen to see the details we may miss from our seats.
The Rams are honoring Eagles legend Dick Vermeil at halftime. That’ll be nice to see.
When Sirianni shouts out the Eagles fans who showed up and helped the team win, then I’ll feel like I contributed.
Hostile fans? I think L.A. has a complicated relationship with the Rams. Imagine if the Eagles left Philly and won a Super Bowl as the St. Louis Eagles and then after twenty one years they moved back and brought the Chargers with them. I feel like it would just be weird. That’s kinda the feeling I get from the fan base. I’m sure there’s some die hards who really love them but they’re gonna be outnumbered on Sunday. The big crowd chant the team started when they moved back to L.A. is “Whose house? Rams House!” The week they won the Super Bowl, L.A. changed the Hollywood sign for a few days to say “Rams House” but instead it looked like “HAMSHWOGE.” And nobody seemed to care.
The main reason I’m going to the game is so I can be in the same building as the team. See them up close and support them in person. As a kid that was the coolest thing in the world. I’ve never seen Jalen Hurts or A.J. Brown or Jason Kelce or Lane Johnson or Brandon Graham in person. Now is my chance, I gotta go! And if I hate the experience then I can take another fourteen year break. No matter what, I’ll have a story to tell.
Would you rather go to a road game or watch on TV?
This poll is closed
Gotta go to the game!
I’ll stay cozy and watch at home, thanks.
I’ll watch at a crowded bar