Frank Olivo wants people to know that his Santa suit was "just fine" on that cold, dismal, December day in 1968.
And he wants people to know that he wasn't a poor excuse for Saint Nick either, when he waved to a heated throng at halftime of an eventual Vikings victory over the Eagles at Franklin Field in the '68 season finale.
Snowballs cascaded in Olivo's direction that day as he pointed in dismay to a crowd of 54,535 as one of the most talked-about moments in Eagles lore developed - the fans threw snowballs at Santa. And not because Olivo made for a scrawny Santa, either.
Simply put, the reason the crowd threw snowballs at Santa: "It was the beard that was a piece of crap."
Olivo, again dressed in a red Santa suit, was the main attraction yesterday, this time in Section 138 at Lincoln Financial Field. He and friend John Braithwaite, dressed in a green Santa suit, waved to the crowd, signed autographs and cheered on the team that once had Olivo whitewashed during the downright embarrassing conclusion to the 1968 season. He was 19 then, and the Eagles finished 2-12 after the 24-17 loss on Dec. 15.
"People caught on to who I was [yesterday] and everyone just wanted to hear the story in the second half. I hardly got to watch the game," Olivo said. "I must have taken like 25 pictures."
Olivo, on disability for a recurring heart condition, said has survived six heart attacks and two triple-bypass surgeries. He said Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb nearly gave him another attack yesterday after a offensive gaffe in the second half that led to a Denver rally. Still, Olivo never boos a poor performance because he knows the feeling all too well.
"Donovan almost gave me another [heart attack] at the end there," Olivo said, laughing. "But after what happened to me, I could never boo him. I could never boo any player. I know what it feels like to get booed by 60,000 people and, let me tell you, it hurts. I understand it because I am a fan first, but, yeah, I am scarred from that moment. I just can't bring myself to do it."
Olivo detests any mention of his snow moment by the national media, who often refer to it as a testament to how volatile Eagles fans can be at a moment's notice.
"Put it to rest. It happened 41 years ago, you know, time to move on," Olivo said. "It went away for a while, but every now and then you hear some guy on TV who only knows Philly for the cheesesteaks and the Liberty Bell talk about the time fans threw snowballs at Santa. It was cool to hear it back then when it went national and Howard Cosell is saying your name on TV, but today when you hear it, it's like, 'Shut up already.' "