On Sunday, December 23, 2012 as the Philadelphia Eagles were preparing to play their final home game of the season against their division rival Washington Redskins, I was out in the parking lot with some die-hard Eagles fans. The game had serious implications as the Eagles could have been spoilers to the Redskins playoff hopes and at the time it was most likely Andy Reid’s last game as the head coach of the team. Whether the fans believed he would be gone or if he was staying, no one seemed to care as the party in the parking lot still went on.
I was given the honor of awarding some true die-hard Eagles fans a banner from CoverSports.com that represented how true they are the team. Even in a losing season with nothing but pride on the line for the team, the fans still came out in full support. There were many different groups of tailgaters all throughout Lincoln Financial Field’s parking lot, Wells Fargo’s parking lot and even Citizens Bank Park’s parking lot. I walked through and ended up directly across the street from the stadium entrance.
The group of Don Culp, Jimmy Kerezsi and Jamie Panetta (the chef) just seemed to stand out to me. They had two RV/vans with tents and tables in between as well as flat screen TV’s so that you could watch the pregame/game before going in. Don and Jimmy owned the RV’s, while Jamie catered the event. When I say catered, I mean catered! This wasn’t a hamburger and hot dog affair, it was ham, pulled pork and steak with sides. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten that well outside of a restaurant or a home cooked meal…..and of course beer.
We talked, we laughed, we ate and we drank, but we also did something which is a tradition of theirs….belly flopping. It was a great experience and atmosphere coming in as a stranger and leaving a friend. While talking I learned that these same games had won tailgating awards in the past and even made an appearance in the Bradley Cooper and Robert DeNiro movie Silver Linings Playbook.
Next season with Andy Reid officially out as coach and the excitement of the new regime will create a great reason to head back down to the Wells Fargo parking F2 area and hang with these guys again. These guys work hard and play hard every Eagles home game and were very deserving of the honor for the 2012-2013 NFL season.