Nicole Bailey / Special to the Pioneer PressFebruary 3, 2018 at 12:17 am
Nicole Bailey, left, and her friend Jennifer Giese outside Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia on Jan. 21, 2018. Bailey, a self-professed “super fan” traveled to Philadelphia to watch the Minnesota Vikings play the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC championship game. Bailey said “…while the loss crushed our souls as lifelong Vikings fans, it paled in comparison to the constant harassment we experienced at Lincoln Financial Field.” (Courtesy of Nicole Bailey)
As the final seconds mercifully melted away on Jan. 21, and the Vikings fell 38-7 to the Eagles in the NFC Championship Game, I was already back in my hotel room in the City of Brotherly Love, a nickname that certainly doesn’t fit, at least based on my experience.
Why? Well, I paid $500 for one of the worst experiences of my life.
Allow me to explain.
See, my best friend and I were at the game a couple of weeks ago, and while the loss crushed our souls as lifelong Vikings fans, it paled in comparison to the constant harassment we experienced in and around Lincoln Financial Field.
Obviously, our Vikings jerseys made us an easy target. That said, we had been to NFL games away from Minnesota in the past, and assumed a little playful banter from opposing fans was about the worst thing that was going to happen.
Nope. Not even close.
It started with a grown man following us for a good five minutes as soon as we got off the subway. He literally got a couple inches away from our face and booed at the top of his lungs.
Eventually he got bored with us and moved on to the next group of unassuming Vikings fans.
That was only the beginning of what felt like the longest walk of our lives.
“Get the (expletive) out of our town,” a crowd off in the distance screamed. “Get the (expletive) out of our town.”
As unopened beer cans rained down on us, and fans continued shout obscenities, we finally made it to the stadium.
It only got worse when we got inside.
We made our way to our seats and a couple of nice Eagles fans (they weren’t all bad) briefed us on what we were about to experience.
We tried to ignore as much as we could, keeping to ourselves amid the chaos around us.
In fact, when the Vikings marched down the field and scored on the first drive of the game, we kept our cheers to a minimum.
Then I got punched in the back of the head.
Apparently a grown man was so upset that the Vikings had taken the lead that he felt the need to lash out.
That was the last straw for me. I texted a fan hotline to register a complaint but got no response.
As the game continued, and the Eagles pulled ahead, a couple of fans talked about how they were going to go get beer to pour over our heads.
We decided to leave right before halftime, legitimately fearing for our safety, though it took fighting though a couple of Eagles fans blocking the stairwell to make it out of the stadium.
Looking back on it, I can’t imagine what might have happened if the Vikings had actually won, especially considering the crowd was so angry even with the Eagles ahead for pretty much the entire game.
Now some of these people are coming to the Twin Cities.
Needless to say, I’ll be cheering for the Patriots this weekend, though I’m afraid what will happen to our city if the Eagles lose.