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Currently Viewing Posts Tagged Philadelphia Eagles

Justice in the Stadium Basement

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Plus, laughter is good!

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Ok… I know! That is a mean way to start the blog… if you happen to be a Cowboys fan. But it really does tie in to Our Blog today. I promise.

And by the way, the other day I was watching highlights on the NFL Network and heard the voice of Pat Summerall. It made me feel nostalgic. Kinda made me want to go to a store and “Tell them Pat Summerall sent me”.

I am sure there are some who have no idea who Pat Summerall was. Or why I would be wanting to go to a store and say “Tell them Pat Summerall sent me”. I might as well be writing about  meeting family at the airport gate or listening to an eight track tape. And yes, there was something called yellow page advertising. That went out right around the time CDs and cassette tapes were packed in storage. But I digress.

This is really about the Philadelphia Eagles and their old football stadium… and a courthouse in the basement.

Of course, there used to be funny pictures about Eagles fans that no longer apply. The glory of winning.

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But they are still funny. So back to our story about justice at the stadium.

We travel to Philadelphia, when they played at Vet stadium. As “legend goes”, Eagles fans were already known for getting out of hand. These were the same fans who had booed Santa Claus and bombarded him with snowballs in 1968. (Here) Of course, they are also the same fans who obviously thought that being excited about winning the Super Bowl meant that it was ok to overturn cars and set fires in the middle of the street. I have never felt like celebrating like that, but maybe it’s just me.

On a Monday Night Football game against the 49ers in 1998, there were approximately 60 fistfights in the stands. Management and ownership had tried to stop the craziness by stopping beer sales in the 4th quarter and providing more security. Nothing was working. It was time to try something new.

Ownership decided to install a courtroom and jail on the premises, in the basement of the stadium. The fans, even by Philadelphia standards, were getting out of hand. On the opening day of this new “justice in the basement”, 20 fans were “processed”.

The way it worked, fans who were breaking the law at the game were taken to Eagles Court to see a judge immediately. They were usually caught in the act of some kind of drunkenness fighting, and basically forced to a guilty plea that led to a fine, somewhere between $150-$300 and/or community service.

More serious crimes would lead to serious criminal charges and court dates. Because it was considered a real court with real justice and law, those who wished to plead not guilty or request a lawyer would also be assigned a court date at the courthouse.

As the story goes, the very first person brought before the judge because of drunkenness in public, went through the process of a hearing/trial. After the judge heard the evidence of the conduct, he asked the man if he had anything to say before he would render his finding and possible sentencing.

The man was clearly drunk and reportedly rocking back and forth. There was even a question about whether he would remember this hearing the next day.

But, he obviously heard the judge. He paused momentarily before answering. The judge asked again, “Sir? Is there anything you would like me to consider or something you want to say?”. The man leaned forward and all of a sudden blurted out, “Troy Aikman is a fa**ot“”. Of course, he said it without stars!

And that started “justice” at the stadium. No word on whether a judge, who was probably an Eagles fan, was influenced by the verbal attack on the Cowboys quarterback.

And finally, for pic o’ day, I am staying with the football theme. This was posted Zach Schwartz. He noticed that a Red Robin cake somehow looks like the coach, Rob Ryan:

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