January 27, 2023
A topic of conversation in the lead up to the NFC Championship Game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the San Francisco 49ers has been how loud Lincoln Financial Field will likely be on Sunday evening.
For example, when the Eagles played the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship Game following the 2017 season, current Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon was the assistant defensive backs coach for the Vikings.
"In warmups, a guy that I was coaching, he looked at me with a look in his eye like, 'whoa,'" Gannon said. "Harrison Smith. I said, 'whoa,' back."
The Eagles wrecked the Vikings in that game, 38-7, on their way to their first Super Bowl win. But things haven't always gone well for the Birds in NFC Championship Games played in Philly. During the 2002-03 NFC Championship Game, for example, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers dealt the favored Eagles a devastating loss that was punctuated by a Ronde Barber pick-six. That was arguably the most distasteful loss for Eagles fans in recent memory.
On Friday, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan showed that game (or presumably, parts of it) to his team, as John Lynch, currently the 49ers' general manager and formerly a Buccaneers safety who played in that game, watched.
Wow. Kyle Shanahan showed 49ers the January 2003 NFC title game — when Tampa Bay went into Philadelphia and closed Veterans Stadium with an emphatic road win (Ronde Barber 92-yard pick 6 sealed it).— David Lombardi (@LombardiHimself) January 27, 2023
John Lynch was on that Tampa team and pacing in Shanahan's office while watching
We're left to guess what Shanahan's messaging could have been by showing that video, but if I were to guess, it was probably something along the lines of, “It’s not so scary to play there.” Of course, if you have to try to prove to your players that the crowd/environment isn't daunting before you even fly out, the crowd has already affected you.
I would also question the wisdom of pissing off heavily liquored-up Eagles fans before a huge game and giving them more reason to try to affect the game, but whatever, it's going to be crazy loud out there anyway.
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