Here are some Extra Cheese responses about the day Santa was pummeled with snowballs as he circled the Franklin Field track (shades of the Penn Relays) on that frigid Dec. 15, 1968.
I was at the game against the Vikings, me and my dad, that whole thing has been blown out of proportion, it snowed the night before, it was cold, the Eagles stunk, and the stands were three-quarters full. The field crew had swept the field getting snow off, the announcer asked fans to please not throw snowballs on the field, which led to 10,000 snowballs being thrown (LOL).
But Santa was a pathetic-looking clown, the fans were just having fun - let's face it, that was a pretty brutal team. I have always wanted to go to Franklin Field, my dad is gone, and it would be great to go to Section EC, Row 31, Seats 17 and 19, and remember me and my dad being there.
- Bob Ward
First, I was 5 years old when this happened, so I wasn't there, and I don't remember it live. I know it from researching it, so I don't want you to think I am providing an eyewitness account.
If I'm not mistaken, it was a blizzard that day, or at least a few inches of snow fell, and the attendance at the game was low. The Eagles had hired a Santa to appear at halftime, but due to the weather he was a "no show."
There was a guy dressed in a Santa suit in the stands, although from most reports, not the best suit, and he didn't really put a lot of time in to make it any better. The Eagles allegedly asked him to fulfill the role of the "no- show" Santa that they had hired to make an appearance on the field at halftime.
The story goes . . .
He had no props . . . i.e., a sack to throw over his shoulder, so they provided him with a dirty old equipment bag from the bench. This evidently didn't enhance the already-borderline suit.
Being a guy that they plucked from the stands, and not someone who was prepared to entertain a crowd, or, at least, act like Santa and wave to people, this guy apparently did little more than throw the dingy bag over his shoulder and walk across the field.
Add this effortless attempt by a guy who most people believed was representative or hired by an organization that they were looking to unload on to your information about O.J., the unfortunate late-season wins, and ownership, and you have, as Paul Harvey would say, "the rest of the story."
I'm sure you are aware that another part of the "snowballing" of the story is that Santa was drunk. ESPN interviewed the person who was in the suit that day, and he claims not to have had a drink the entire day.
The "drunk" part is something that was added as the fable traveled beyond the Delaware Valley.
As a lifelong Philadelphian, when approached by someone from outside the area who thinks he is being witty by jokingly confronting me with the "you guys boo Santa" line, I simply reply:
"First of all, we didn't boo Santa, we booed the Easter Bunny. We threw snowballs at Santa."
Get your stories straight.
He was a horrible Santa. He didn't look good, he didn't act like he should have. The Easter Bunny was even worse. The costume was an embarrassment. You don't just show up and say you are Santa or the Easter Bunny or someone else we are supposed to love . . . and get all the love . . . you have to earn it.
Just ask Donovan McNabb.
I went to the game with my dear (now-deceased) neighbor who had long held four season tickets in the closed end of the revered stadium. None of his "regulars" was willing to watch in person that dreadful Eagles team so I agreed. (A year later my friend cut his season-ticket purchase to three and a year or two following dropped them entirely. I needled him so much about supporting such a lousy team for at least 10 years, he finally said, while cringing, that he went to see the other teams who, of course, were much better.)
Two women sitting two rows behind us in the near-empty arena asked if they could sit close to us with our blankets so we could all stay reasonably warm. By halftime, at least four much younger guys were bare-chested, warmed by some liquid, and having a swell time with the snow. It didn't take long for snowballs to fly, and Santa made a great target.
The seats I got were in the last row at the top of the stadium looking east. And it was always joked that if you had to go to the bathroom, you would miss a quarter of the game just getting to one and back.
- Carroll "Buck" Shelton
One of the funniest things that was not mentioned was that Lane Howell, one of our offensive tackles, made the mistake of taking off his helmet on the sideline. Guess what? The fans started throwing snowballs at him. We called him the "mad holder" as he got holding penalties all year. And it was very cold.