*A very long, personal Vikings/Eagles story for you and why you shouldn't travel to Philly.*
Michael and I traveled to Philadelphia in January 2005 to see the Vikings play the Eagles in the divisional playoff game. Michael and I were very fresh in our relationship and I thought it would be fun to take a long weekend (it was MLK weekend) and experience our first Vikings road game. Yeah, we got an experience alright.
We knew going in that their fans had a reputation for being a rougher crowd and it was a little tough to be an opposing fan there. Some advice suggested was to not wear your colors to the stadium. As Vikings fans, we just couldn't do that. It was a playoff game! We were not jerk fans. We traveled far and paid good money to come see them! How bad could it be? BAD.
We arrived at the stadium with our colors on and ready to tailgate. We pulled into one of the adjacent lots to the stadium and people were booing and yelling at us just pulling in. We weren't even out of the car. And in the car is where we stayed until close to game time. We didn't even know what was ahead of us at that point.
Walking the couple blocks to the stadium, people booed and yelled at us. People threw eggs at us. A group of guys yelled to Michael that they were going to take his fat bitch girlfriend and gang rape me, all while I'm standing right next to him. We realized this was not about which team you choose to root for, this was personal. As we approached the gates, people surrounded us, blocking us in and literally hundreds of people chanting to us, "ASSHOLE! ASSHOLE!" over and over and over again. Even the police found it hilarious as both cops nearby were actually doubled over from laughter. While we were waiting to get in, a guy kept pulling off Michael's hat. He'd continued to taunt him until he finally had to put it in his pocket. Another guy dressed in black came up to Michael and whispered in his ear, "Go Vikes." Michael asked if he was a Vikings fan and he said yes but he would never wear his colors and told Michael, "You have more balls than brains." Once in the stadium, another guy dressed in black came up to Michael and said, whatever you do, don't use the urinals. They'll piss all over legs. 50s wedding dress
We got to our seats, which were lower level end zone seats. An old man seated nearby told us immediately that we cannot sit there. He was very adamant about that. After he realized we didn't have any other option and that we were in fact going to sit there, he was pissed and told us that everyone from above would be throwing stuff at us and he didn't want to deal with that.
Michael had to go to the bathroom during the game and I begged him not to go because not only did I not want to be by myself but because I worried about him going out there alone. And I had reason to be worried. He didn't tell me while I was at the game but told me later that he did end up using the urinal (despite the message received earlier) and a guy came up to him, grabbed his throat while peeing and gave him a look like he was going to kill him and then walked out. Michael decided he was done going to bathroom, whether he was done or not. On his way out, a guy came up to him with his fist cocked back, ready to punch Michael square in the face when someone got in the path between the two and then Michael ducked. It was at that time that Michael's fear really started to set in and to avoid any more fear or panic from me, decided not to tell me until later.
When he arrived back at our seats, he devised an "escape plan" for us in case something were to happen, however in Michael's mind, it was only a matter of time before the next event was to take place. He told me that if he were to get jumped/punched/beat up on the way out, I was not to stay and wait for him but to continue to the car. There was no sense in two of us getting hurt was his train of thought.
Remember, we're trying to watch a football game too. The whole reason while we were there! People are yelling at us, taunting us all the while a video message pops up on the big screen every 15 minutes or so reminding the Philly fans to be respectful of everyone in the stadium.
When the Vikings scored a touchdown, we couldn't celebrate. Our celebration was to hold and squeeze each other's hands.
Unfortunately as a Vikings fan, the Vikings were losing. Fortunately, we were hoping because of that, it would spare us our lives. We decided to leave early because there is no way we would face all of the Eagles fans together on the way out of the stadium and make it out. We left with about 9 minutes left. As we left the stadium and walked across the street, a policeman directing traffic yelled to us and said, "What the f#$& are you doing here? Get the f&#@ home." No one was on our side, except for the no more than 12 people we saw that day with Vikings gear on.
Later that night, while wearing plain clothes, we were truly traumatized to be out and about. There was such paranoia that everyone knew we were Vikings fans or not Eagles fans and we were so uncomfortable and we had to remind ourselves that they didn't know where we were from.
Were we stupid for wearing our colors to the game? Yeah. It doesn't matter if you are a good fan or not.
Here's my warning to those who are traveling to Philly to go to the game. Don't wear your colors. Heed the warnings you've seen everywhere. This is the NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME, don't risk it. I think we got as "lucky" as we did because of a couple things; 1) we had lower level seats surrounded by older season ticket holders. They weren't nice but we would not have survived the upper level. 2) I think being a female and having a male/female couple instead of two guys helped, at least while being at the game.
I wouldn't go back if I could for free. I saw the Liberty Bell, where the Declaration of Independence was signed and climbed the Rocky steps but I do not want to visit the "City of Brotherly Love" ever again.
I'm very happy I'll be watching the game from Minnesota. Skol.