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January 19, 2018

Hey Eagles fans, here's a reasonable Minnesotan!

Vikings fans are being warned about Philly, but one Minneapolis columnist has his head on straight

Opinion Eagles
Vikings Fans Brace Hemmelgarn/USA TODAY Sports

Vikings fans cheer during the first quarter in the NFC Divisional Playoff football game between the Minnesota Vikings and the New Orleans Saints at U.S. Bank Stadium.

I have nothing against the state of Minnesota or its largest city, Minneapolis. That's mostly because, well, I know almost nothing below surface level about either. My brother lives there, and he says it's cold. So, there's that.

I bring this up because, if the roles were reversed in the upcoming NFC Championship game, and the Vikings were hosting the Philadelphia Eagles, I certainly wouldn't opine about how scary and unsafe and lawless Minneapolis is for Birds fans making the trip northwest.

But, of course, the game will be held in Philadelphia, the land of drunk boors, swinging their fists at anything that moves and isn't green.

Or so you would think after watching this recent news report from a Minnesota TV station.

In the story travel agents warn of a "gang" mentality among Philadelphians and suggest Minnesota fans avoid drinking alcohol or even wearing purple and gold.

Sports talk radio in the area, apparently, is employing a similar, tired shtick.

When I read the lede of a recent column from Michael Rand of The Star Tribune in Minneapolis — with the ominous title of "Philadelphia police to businesses before NFC title game: 'Protect your property'" — I figured it was more of the same old, same old.

Eagles fans have a reputation for being a bit, um, rowdy when it comes to their behavior at games.

Here we go again...

Some of it is probably overblown. Some of it is probably the residue from instances from a long time ago.

You know, like throwing snowballs at Santa Claus, which happened almost 50 years ago.

Wait, what's that? Is this recognition from someone outside the Delaware Valley that many stereotypes about us are "overblown" or so dated that they're no longer relevant?

Rand goes on to note the precautions police are suggesting if the Eagles win, particularly in the Northeast, where officials have told businesses to make sure security grates are locked, trash cans aren't left outside, surveillance cameras are on and alcohol is only served in plastic cups. The warning of a potential riot, like the news segment, has made the internet rounds.

Granted, these measures can be credited to a reputation we've earned. (Those who flipped cars after the 2008 World Series, you know who you are.) But Rand characterizes this as "Philly on Philly crime," and acknowledges his own region's history of getting rowdy after big wins (and losses).

We might laugh at the idea of a wild celebration, but don’t forget jubilant fans got wild in the streets after the Gophers men’s hockey team’s championships in both 2002 and 2003 — and again in 2014 when the team lost in the title game to Union.

For all the nonsense spouted by national pundits and cranky columnists in fair-weather cities who feed into the Philly fan as boogeyman image, your misconceptions about our city are nothing new – read this Sports Illustrated article from 1972. So Rand's level of self-awareness and reason is refreshing. I applaud you, Michael, and I hope your city's team gets its ass kicked Sunday.

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