Opinion: A jail at Eagles stadium to deal with unruly fans?
This is an editorial piece. An editorial, like a news article, is based on fact but also shares opinions. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and are not associated with our newsroom.
It’s Superbowl weekend! Wahoo!
I grew up near Philadelphia, so my brother and I were big Eagles fans as kids. Those were the days of quarterback Ron Jaworski (Jaws), who is second in Eagles’ history for passing records but first for most interceptions thrown.
Of course, my brother and I were very well-behaved fans. (We were 10 and 11 years old, after all.) We, unfortunately, were not like most Eagles fans, who deserve their reputation for being the worst in the league.
Eagles fans threw snowballs at Santa during a halftime show in 1968. They burned DeShawn Jackson’s jersey before the 2015/2016 NFC title game (which they lost to the Redskins.) In 1983, they even beat up the Redskins’ mascot, Chief Zee, twice — once in the stadium and again in the parking lot after the game.
I talked to former NFL quarterback and current host of KSL Sports Zone‘s Unrivaled show Scott Mitchell about the big game and asked him if he was rooting for the Eagles or the Chiefs.
“I hate the Philadelphia Eagles. I hate their fans. They are the worst people in the entire world.”
Really? Are the Eagles that bad?
“No. They’re worse,” Mitchell replied. “Whatever people say, it’s 10 times worse.”
This is how bad they are. They installed a jail and judge at the old Eagles Stadium (Veterans Field) after a game against the 49ers in 1997. The Eagles were losing, and a fan pulled out a flare gun and fired it across the stadium at 49ers fans.
Judge Seamus McCaffery presided over the ad hoc court at the stadium for years. Often misbehaving fans would be caught in the act, so they pleaded guilty and paid a fine of between $150-$300. Sometimes the judge would tack on community service for good measure.
“It’s probably not enough. They need more jails,” Mitchell laughed. “More judges. Throw ’em all in prison.”
When the Eagles moved to Lincoln Stadium in 2003, they brought back the jail, but not the court. They arrested 79 people in the first year of the new stadium, which might seem like a lot, but compared to the 300+ from the year before, it was a vast improvement. The Eagles only kept the stadium jail at Lincoln open for a couple of years.
Back to the game
Whether you’re a Chiefs or an Eagles fan, don’t we all just want a good game Sunday?
Mitchell says that’s what almost everybody wants.
“The only question mark is how healthy is Patrick Mahomes,” said Mitchell. “The Eagles have an amazing defensive line, and if he’s not healthy, he could run into a lot of problems.”
Hopefully not with the fans. Enjoy the game!
Amanda Dickson is the co-host of Utah’s Morning News and A Woman’s View.
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