Rather than give Sports Illustrated any additional oxygen as it continues its long slow submersion into the ocean of indifference that is American sports, I'd like to ask the following question.
Why, exactly, is the 50-year-old offense against a drunken and non-sanctioned cosplay Santa Claus, in front of a late-season fan base that had spent much of the year and decade getting its head kicked in by abusive ownership, the defining moment for the brand that is Eagles Fan?
You want to know my lowest moment as an Eagles fan? It was when some asshat smuggled in a freaking flare gun and fired it off at a Monday night game against the Niners in 1997. That could have done honest to God damage to honest to God innocents, and it also spoke to a spectacular fail on the part of stadium security. In terms of sheer fan insanity, use *that*, FFS. It actually happened when most of the people watching the games now where alive, in a modern era of security and television, during a nationally televised game.
Instead, the media just goes to the shorthand. The only food that's eaten here is a cheesesteak, every person talks like Rocky Balboa, and we all spend our off-work hours roaming the streets, looking to bumrush a Claus.
Oh, and by the way? Why isn't every other franchise given this treatment? When do I get to hear, in every Dodger game, that their fans beat a Giant fan to near-death? When do we get to hear about how every Jet Fan throws urine and/or exposes themselves to women? DC Fan spends their time celebrating the genocide of the American Indian with symbols that, if they only were attached to a massacre of innocents by a follower of the laundry, would get that flag banned. Somehow, this is not DC Fan's Brand. And damn near every team in damn near every city has flipped a car or twenty, or set something on fire, when their team won or lost an important game... but those fans? They are passionate. They have bad apples. It would be unfair to paint them all with the same brush. But not my town.
I'll tell you why my town gets treated in a way that, if it were directed towards a demographic group, you'd be shunned in polite society. It's because the media comes from New York, and people from New York enjoy dumping on Philadelphia. They've done it for three centuries. Now, they get to do it worldwide due to media control. It's the same way that San Francisco has dumped on the East Bay, Los Angeles has dumped on South Central, DC's suburbs has dumped on Chocolate City, and so on, and so on.
It's rich (or, at the very least, richer) people urinating on people who aren't doing as well, and telling them it's raining, and it's raining because God Hates Them. It's repulsive and repugnant and never-ending, and every time it gets repeated, everyone is laughing with the rich guy. The rich guy who gets off by peeing on poor people.
Now, are some Eagle Fans regrettable? Of freaking course. Five to ten percent of every fan base is filled with some of the worst people you will ever meet, because five to ten percent of every group of people are terrible. Add in a long history of frustration and a major market, and it means that other fan bases are going to someday meet Eagle Fan, and I don't doubt that there has been a lot of ill will built up over the years.
I also do not doubt that Eagle Fan could avoid any incident of note for the next two to five decades, and there will still be no chance that the fan base will be anywhere but on a top five list of most hated. It's the brand! The ever-present, ever-constant, ever self-fulfilling brand.
Just like, well, New York's brand is a city that the rest of America only pretended to like for a brief period of time, when terrorists bombed it with airplanes. Just like DC's Brand is Sports With Confederate Flags, and Boston's brand is the most obnoxious cheaters on the planet, and Detroit's brand is people from a failed city state, and Cleveland's brand is Eternal Losers.
Haven't we all had enough of people trying to tell you that you have a brand because you root for a team? And haven't we all had more than enough of anything involving Sports that isn't Game?