Fans flock to midday Eagles rally

Eagles center Evan Mathis pulls the huge slingshot taut as he takes aim to fire the "Eagle Angry Bird" at targets on a goalpost crossbar at a LOVE Park rally on Sept. 4, 2012. Eagles punter Chas Henry and fans look on.
Eagles center Evan Mathis pulls the huge slingshot taut as he takes aim to fire the "Eagle Angry Bird" at targets on a goalpost crossbar at a LOVE Park rally on Sept. 4, 2012. Eagles punter Chas Henry and fans look on. (MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer)
Posted: September 05, 2012

An Eagles pep rally, scheduled to last till 2 p.m., took over Love Park late this morning, featuring players signing autographs, freebies, and a big slingshot that can launch Angry Birds.

Perhaps 200 to 300 fans were on hand during the lunch hour, but by 1:15 rain returned, threatening to end the enthusiasm.

Before the rain, cheerleaders and mascot Swoop were on hand, along with WIP (94 FM) hosts Ike Reese and Michael Barkann, who interviewed offensive tackle Todd Herremans, after his autographing stint was over.

John O'Brien, visiting from Ireland to referee at the Gaelic Games, stopped to pose between a pair of Eagles cheerleaders.

The slingshot was the big attraction, as fans took turns letting loose helmet-sized bird heads at three bird faces mounted on the crossbar of a goalpost.

The crowded line curled from 16th and Arch almost back to central fountain, made to spurt a frothy green, in honor of the team.

Lyn McCutcheon of Bridesburg, wearing a green dress, leaned toward linebacker DeMeco Ryans, who obligingly signed her son's hat, after signing someone else's football. She can't afford tickets, she said, but she watches all the games, even preseason, and is "really excited" about the season, she said.

Before the rain began, fans felt hot.

William Murray, decked out in an Eagles hat and shirt, wasn't bothered. "I don't care. I'm having fun. That's what love is."

Then, pointing at the famous sculpture, he said LOVE stands for "Life Over Victory Entertainment" and the "victory" part was for the Eagles winning a Super Bowl.

Much of the fun was sponsor-related, with the slingshot created by area building-set maker K'nex, Dunkin' Donuts gaving away samples of Pumpkin Spice Iced Coffee, and Coke Zero folks letting let fans toss footballs at cutouts in a tarp to win T-shirts.

One lucky winner of a drawing will get four tickets to the home opener on Sept. 16.


Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or pmucha@phillynews.com.

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