Get your head outa the sand. You have something to be proud of there. :angryfire:
PHILADELPHIA -- Rough game. But maybe a rougher crowd.
The Minnesota Vikings lost to the Philadelphia Eagles 27-14 Sunday -- ending the Vikings' playoff hopes and season. But all the mother of Vikings lineman Chris Liwienski could talk about was how she and her family were physically abused by fans in the upper deck of Lincoln Financial Field.
Wearing one of her son's purple Vikings jerseys, Marie Hoppe said she was pushed repeatedly by hostile Philadelphia fans. Her daughter-in-law, Christina Liwienski, said she was hit in the head by a plastic beer bottle.
"We were warned that Philadelphia fans would be rough, the worst in the league, and my son begged me not to wear this jersey," said Hoppe, of suburban Detroit. "Fans are supposed to come to games, not thugs. But these people had their hands on me constantly.
"What are these people doing at sporting events like this?"
The announced crowd of 67,722 seemed determined to enhance a well-earned reputation as the National Football League's crudest. But the Eagles -- the top seed and class of the National Football Conference -- didn't really need any extra help against a Vikings team that finished the season 9-9 and looked every bit like the conference's lowest playoff seed.
With Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb dissecting the Minnesota secondary early and passing for two touchdowns, and facing a tough Philadelphia defense, the Vikings looked very much like a team that lost four of its final five regular season games and not like a team that upset the Packers in Green Bay in the playoffs' first round.
"Giving up 21 points in the first half doesn't help," Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield said.
Obnoxious and hostile
The Vikings offered their fans hope when quarterback Daunte Culpepper's 7-yard touchdown run in the second quarter cut the Eagles' lead to 14-7.
"We still have a chance," Marie Hoppe said during the third quarter.
But she and her family had long given up on the Eagles fans. Joe Liwienski, Chris' 22-year-old brother, said he attended the "basketbrawl" game in Auburn Hills, Mich., where members of the Indiana Pacers exchanged punches with Detroit Pistons fans.
"This was 10 times worse," he said.
"The fans were obnoxious," Chris Liwienski said from the Vikings locker room. "They were chanting stuff to Randy [Moss] throughout the game. You expect that, but you don't expect them to abuse people in the stands trying to enjoy the game."
The few fans who came to the game wearing Vikings purple were greeted by a boisterous and hostile crowd that began sharpening their fangs in parking lots near the stadium at 6 a.m., presumably stirring their alcoholic beverages with rusty nails.
Mike Hughes, 39, of Excelsior, wearing a purple Randy Moss jersey on his back and his heart on his sleeve, walked right through the Eagles crowd that hurled obscenities and promised to throw even more at him.
"Batteries," he said. "They're threatening to throw batteries.
"I went to all but three Vikings road games this year," Hughes said. "I can tell you that Green Bay is nothing like this."
Scott Bain, 33, also wearing a Moss jersey, said he "never felt so lonely" as he walked briskly through a parking lot crowded with Eagles fans chanting obscenities and holding "Jacksonville or Bust" signs.
"We had upper deck seats, but we got so many warnings about what might happen to us that we sold them and bought club level seats on the street," said Bain, formerly of Anoka and now a lawyer in Washington, D.C. "We were told it was safer there."
Said Steve Beckman, 47, of New Brighton, in a well-worn (but not yet battered) Moss jersey: "They warned us not to wear this attire, but we didn't listen. I even rode the subway here.
"They told us that if the Vikings win, we'd better take a cab home, for our own protection."
"We still better watch out for batteries," said Jimmy Bahnson, 22, of Fridley, wearing a Culpepper jersey.
Philadelphia, which has lost the three previous conference title games, will try again next Sunday against Atlanta.
"How many disappointments can Philadelphia fans take?" asked John Groses, 74, of Media, Pa.
"This city's been through hell with its sports teams," said Tom Jones, of Milton, Del., whose bus is painted Eagles green, has Eagles logos in every window and has become a pregame meeting place for Eagles cheerleaders, fans and anyone looking for a photo opportunity or to commiserate.
"We gear ourselves up for these games, but the worst has happened so many times."
The worst happened in the upper deck, in the corner of the end zone, Chris Liwienski said.
"I tried to warn them," he said of his family. "It's like these fans have hit a new low."