September 06, 2019
On Friday morning, the Philadelphia Eagles' official Twitter account shared a two-minute video designed to stir the team's fans into a frenzy ahead of Sunday's season opener against Washington. Before I even clicked on the video to watch it for myself, I knew what I would find in the replies.
You see, a certain sect of Eagles Twitter — the people who talk to one another about the Eagles online every single day — has turned replying to an Eagles hype video into an art form, a playground for very strange comedy.
The video was posted at 7 a.m. By 7:45 a.m., before plenty of people in Philadelphia were dressed for work, Eagles fans had fired off these absolutely deranged tweets:
JUST RIPPED OFF MY SHIRT POURED A PUMPKIN SPICE AMERICANO OVER MY HEAD IN THE MIDDLE OF STARBUCKS— Zoo With Roy (@zoowithroy) September 6, 2019
I’m ready to run butt naked down the Schuylkill Expressway😤😤😤😤— Miss. RJ 🆘 ♒️🏳️🌈 PHI: (0-0) (@MsUptownWOL) September 6, 2019
Please have Jason Peters run me over with his truck then put my ashes back in his tank to be used as fuel— Trey Burke Turbo Team (@DanSaysThat) September 6, 2019
Ripping all the shingles off my roof and throwing them at the children waiting for the school bus— Charton Brand (@SnowmanEmbiid) September 6, 2019
My yelling just set off the smoke alarm— Treb (@treblaw) September 6, 2019
I just ran outside, stole the gas company’s jackhammer and tore up my entire block— Erica (@TheEricaB) September 6, 2019
I just painted my face green & Im yelling Go Birds at every kid in my daughters school— Robert Paulson (@MearsLen) September 6, 2019
Just put my head through my computer moniter. IT are on their way.— Al Horford's eyelashes (@TBoonePikmin) September 6, 2019
Just downed a 24oz black coffee and ate the cup— Mike Meech (@meechone) September 6, 2019
I just ate 10 habaneros and shit out a grenade LESSSSGGGOOOOOO— G Holler (@WooderIce76) September 6, 2019
You get the idea.
What began with fans expressing their excitement by saying they were ready to run through walls has morphed into this very weird ritual. How did we get here?
These crazy jokes have roots in Twitter comedy from the last handful of years, including back when the Eagles were much worse and the team's fans were hilariously fatalistic about the franchise's future. This tweet, from Eagles Twitter maven @ArkansasFred, is of particularly importance:
Best possible scenario for the Eagles right now would be for Swoop to run me over with the Eagles Youth Partnership bus— Arkansas Fred (@ArkansasFred) September 20, 2015
It's not exactly the same formula, but the general gist — an absurd, violent scenario involving the Eagles — and the tone in the delivery are both present. Fellow Philly Sports Twitter person @treblaw, the guy who pretended to spill coffee on Adam Schefter during the 2017 NFL Draft, has been trafficking in these weird tweets for years. There are probably plenty of Philly Sports Twitter accounts responsible for the trend.
The premise for these tweets also runs very close to what the New Yorker's Jia Tolentino wrote about in a piece this past June. Tolentino examined the trend of Twitter users asking celebrities to punch them in the face, or step on their throats:
"One takeaway from all this is that young people really love celebrities. Another is that we’re craving unmediated connection so desperately that we would accept it in the form of murder."
Sports culture and celebrity culture often overlap, especially in the social media age. Asking someone famous to be violent towards you is an odd and popular thing that Internet users do. Here, Eagles fans seem to have taken this one step further in their replies, by explaining the ways they themselves are acting out instead of asking to be killed by Swoop.
As recently as 2014, though, the replies to videos like the famous 2014 "This is everything, and more" Bradley Cooper piece were very boring:
This means we're dealing with a fairly recent development, which is often the case on the Internet. By this time last year, Eagles fans were tweeting like crazy people. Here's Zoo With Roy's reply from last year's season-opening hype video:
JUST THREW MY BOSS’S LAPTOP LIKE A DISCUS DOWN THE HALLWAY— Zoo With Roy (@zoowithroy) September 5, 2018
The exact moment when Eagles Twitter adopted this weird sense of humor isn't easy to pinpoint, but it has clearly been adopted by fans.
Of course, if you want to participate in this trend, you should know that not every piece of video content from the Eagles' Twitter account gets this reaction. Don't go yelling about smoking 100 cigarettes and pooping out a football if it's just a video of Doug Pederson's weekday press conference.
These kinds of videos, and these reactions, are reserved for big games, like the regular season opener, a particularly spicy division rivalry game, or playoff games. You'll know it when you see it, and when you see tweets like this popping up in the Eagles' replies:
deadlifting my two-story office building— Treb (@treblaw) September 5, 2018
Good luck. The Eagles begin their regular season 1 p.m. Sept. 8 against Washington.