Eagles fans revel in the excitement of a title clash

Mike Valerio of Philadelphia and Eric Holliday of Bordentown watched the game at Tabu in Philadelphia.
Mike Valerio of Philadelphia and Eric Holliday of Bordentown watched the game at Tabu in Philadelphia. (CLAUDIA VARGAS / Staff)
Posted: December 31, 2013

PHILADELPHIA At the Irish Pub at Walnut and 11th Streets, the TVs were blasting when LeSean McCoy strolled into the end zone early Sunday night.

"Beat them up! Beat them up!" Mike Fry yelled.

Fry and the rest of his group cheered and cursed as the game demanded. More than anything else, they were just happy their beloved Eagles and the team's new coach had made it as far as they did.

"Win or lose tonight . . . he's a success," Pete Terry said of Chip Kelly.

Terry, 36, of Philadelphia, said he was willing to bet his mortgage on the game.

His wife, Jeannie, rolled her eyes.

"You can't beat the excitement," she said. "There's nothing more magical than Philadelphia being close to the playoffs at Christmastime."

Eagles fans finally had something to be excited about this holiday season - with a winning record, a prime-time game, and a playoff berth on the line. So, too, did some Center City restaurant and bar owners. Many drew throngs of jersey-wearing, cash-carrying patrons out on a waterlogged Sunday in December.

On a scale of 1 to 10, Paul Woodman called the night a 10 hours before the victory was secure.

"I don't give out 10s that often, but I'm pretty pumped about tonight," Woodman, 25, of Center City, said as he drank beer with friends before the kickoff at Moriarty's Pub on Walnut Street.

At Tabu on 12th Street, there was standing room only. Eric Holliday, who ordinarily hosts a large tailgate party for home games, had a large table where he and his friends watched the game.

"If we win this, it's the icing on the cake" to what ended up being a much-better-than-expected season, Holliday, 45, of Bordentown, said.

Just as the game started, Holliday and his crew led an E-A-G-L-E-S chant.

Not all bars were outposts of Eagles nation.

Though most establishments were packed, many people were just enjoying time with friends.

Bill Jennings of South Jersey couldn't wait until football season is over - "so I can get my friends back," he said, sitting at the end of the Irish Pub bar and wearing a Flyers hat.

He was gone by the second quarter.

Jennings was replaced by Woodman, who migrated to the bar mid-game with friends from Moriarty's.

The last time Woodman was this excited about the Eagles, he said, was in 2005, when the team played the Cardinals on Christmas Eve.

The Eagles lost that game. This one had a happier ending.

"It's awesome. We're in the playoffs," Woodman said as the game wrapped up. "I'm completely confident we are going to take care of business next Saturday."


cvargas@phillynews.com

215-854-5520

@InqCVargas

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