Donovan's Return

October 3, 2010. This date had been circled on the calendars or myriad Philadelphia sports fans since the Eagles' schedule was released. It marked the date that Donovan McNabb, Eagles quarterback for 11 seasons, would return to Lincoln Financial Field not in green, but wearing the hated burgundy and gold of the division rival Washington Redskins. Philly couldn't wait to see him again, and judging by the buzz from the media in the week leading up to their meeting, people couldn't wait to see how Philly would treat him upon his return. After all Philly sports fans are notorious. These are the people who booed Santa Claus, many would remind you. Batteries have been thrown at opponents. They've cheered injuries to opposing players. In short, the Philadelphia fanbase is a bunch of assholes.

I was pleased, then, that the reception McNabb got was both what I expected and what I would have done as a fan, had I been present. Upon team intros, he was cheered vigorously, even given a standing ovation. This didn't come as a surprise to me, I remember both feeling the same and seeing the same when other former Philly standouts returned to town. See also: Dawkins, Brian and Iverson, Allen. Upon the first offensive series, however, McNabb was booed with equal fervor. As well he should have been.

That said, I do take exception to one of the sentiments I heard mentioned a few times. There were some who stated that the cheers were Philly fans on their best behavior because everyone was watching. Make no mistake--Philly fans do not give a damn about what you think. In fact, I'll let you in on a little secret. We actually, to varying degrees, like the asshole brush with which you paint us. After all, why be famous when you can be infamous? That said, there is some truth to the City of Brotherly Love moniker: When we hate, we hate with the best of 'em, but once you earn the love it's hard to shake.