October 3 Philadelphia Inquirer columnist John Gonzalez:
“The Redskins are in town and so is Donovan McNabb. Perhaps you’ve heard. It’s a big game for both teams. It’s an even bigger opportunity for the city.
Earlier this week, Andy Reid tried to downplay the significance of McNabb’s return. It was a difficult if not pointless exercise, but he went through with it anyway.
“This is about the Washington Redskins, it’s not about Donovan . . . or Michael Vick or Andy Reid, or anybody else,” Reid said. “It’s about the two football teams, the two NFC East rivals playing each other.”
If you say so, Andy. Try telling that to, oh, anyone and getting them to agree.
The national conversation leading up to the game focused far less on the teams or the outcome of the game than it did on what sort of reception McNabb will receive Sunday. Boo or cheer was the topic du snore across the country. Fanhouse, Fox Sports, Yahoo, CBSSports, SI.com, and other online outlets all dedicated space to the question this week. The NFL Network’s various pundits discussed it at length. ESPN’s SportsNation addressed the issue, as did Around the Horn. And on ESPN Radio’s Mike and Mike, Mark Schlereth agreed with so many other out-of-towners when he said he expects to hear more boos than applause.
“The fans in Philly,” Schlereth said, “they’re nasty.” Then he threw in the obligatory Santa/snowball reference.
The national consensus seems to be that Philadelphia is inhabited by ungrateful and untamed beasts who should be immediately caged because we represent a real danger to ourselves and anyone within close proximity. It’s a lazy, reflexive take that ignores that our knuckleheads represent a small portion of the greater population. But unfair as the stigma might be, it’s also one that’s been nearly impossible to shake.”
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