Eagles in Seattle: Home Crowd Impressive; Home Team? Not So Much


Last year, I joined my uncle and cousins for their annual Eagles road game for the first time. The three of them are all from the Philly area, but now live elsewhere, and like most transplants, they haven't lost a step in their fandom. After visiting Green Bay for the 2007 season opener (Puntreturngate), the destination we picked for 2008 was Qwest Field in Seattle.

I previously mentioned that we lost a day of the originally planned trip due to rescheduling our departure to accommodate a certain parade. No complaints here, but I don't have much to say about Seattle itself because it feels like we were barely there. After two flights and an unfortunate that-wasn't-an-allergy-pill experience (turned out to be an Ambien), I got to Sea-Tac pretty weary from a few straight weeks of Phillies partying. We hit up a decent local bar for a few beers (the Manny's Pale Ale would prove to be my drink of choice for the weekend), and called it a relatively early night. 

On Sunday morning, we began a rainy quest for a cooler, some good local beer, and a poncho. Along the way, we saw increasing numbers of Eagles fans roaming the streets, walking toward the stadium. There are few better sights than seeing more of your team's jerseys in an opposing city than there are of that city's own. This wasn't the case all day, but there was definitely some midnight green domination.

After giving up on finding all the items on our list (particularly a foam cooler in November), we parked and walked to F.X. McCrory's, which we'd heard was the best place to pre-game in Seattle. Although it was still morning on the west coast, the 1PM games were already on, and this was a great place to keep an eye on them while getting beered up for the Eagles game.

McCrorys is half steak and oyster house, and half rowdy football bar in a classic building with high ceilings and nice columns. Just like the streets around the stadium, there were plenty of Birds fans in the bar.

Right before we were about to walk over to the stadium for an early lap around, a marching percussion section came in and played a few turns. A professional football team with a marching band is perhaps a little on the gimmicky side, but this was honestly pretty cool. At Qwest field later, you couldn't really hear them that well, but it was impressive in the crowded bar setting.

We settled up with our second consecutive completely weird and not very good waitress, and headed over to Qwest. When we got to our seats, 8 rows behind the Birds bench on the 32 yard line, we were again greeted by a group of Eagles fans.

Another great sight was all the Phillies gear mixed in with the midnight green and black.

You no doubt know the Eagles got off to a rough start. Seneca Wallace throwing a touchdown right out of the gate, badly beating Lito Sheppard, wasn't exactly what we expected. A few stalled Eagles drives followed, and there was some disgruntlin' among the traveling ranks. Still, this was the Seahawks, who are godawful this year, and plagued by injuries to boot. There was just no way it could last long. The only fan-in-your-face moment we really endured came during the Birds' slow start. Some idiot started jawing with my uncle, who was complaining about the lack of Brian Westbrook touches early. "Maybe our defense is just stopping him." "Maybe, but it's hard to make that argument when he either hasn't been on the field or didn't touch the ball when he was." The guy's increasing proximity was the only real threatening element; nothing about what he said was all that provoking. And as soon as the Eagles started moving the ball and it was clear the Seahawks couldn't budge the Birds' D, the guy got a mini tv out and watched the game on it. It was like the people who swim in a pool 100 feet from a crystal clear ocean. He left in the third quarter.

Other than this guy, most fans were pretty friendly, if they were anything at all to us. But I will say, they were impressive as a group. Despite such factors as the huge number of Eagles fans in each section and the terrible season 'Hawks fans are enduring, this may have been the loudest non-Linc NFL crowd I've been in. Last year, I went to hallowed grounds in Green Bay and Foxboro. These guys were louder, in what amounted to a meaningless game for the home team. It may have had something to do with the architecture of the place, which has extremely high sideline stands that cup back over the field, probably trapping a lot of crowd noise and reflecting it toward our seats.

Another thing—no one sat down. All game. I love standing at games, and I'm usually the guy being told to sit down because I'm in the way. None of that here, even in the 4th quarter, when the Seahawks hadn't scored since the first drive.

But as impressed as I was with their fans, I was once again elated with an outstanding Eagles away game showing. It doesn't get much farther away than Seattle, and this is what my section looked like once the game started:

Here are some random shots of the stadium and the game, sans narration. Seattle highlights not pictured include a bar called Central and a seafood dinner at Ivars. Unbelievable food.   

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