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as seen on phillyBurbs.com

Eagles redux
The bird-baiting and arm-chair quarterbacking is about to commence. It's as much a tradition around here as jumping on the bandwagon when a pro sports team is on a roll.

It's 6 a.m. Sunday. Can't sleep. Too excited. But by the time you read this, the Super Bowl die will be cast.

The Eagles will have either fought their way to the big show or seen their hopes dashed yet again - this time in front of the home crowd.

If the former is true, Eagles fever - from TV hype to dress up days in our schools - is about to rise to dangerous levels before next Sunday's game.

If the latter is true, the bird-baiting and arm-chair quarterbacking is about to commence. It's as much a tradition around here as jumping on the bandwagon when a pro sports team is on a roll.

Think I'm kidding, huh?

Remember the ballyhoo two years ago when a broken, bruised and battered Allen Iverson almost single-handedly carried the Sixers to the NBA championship series? Team flags flew on seemingly every car in the Delaware Valley until the 76ers were demolished by Shaq, Coby and the Lakers.

Where are those flags and fair-weather fans now?  Heck, where were they when AI held his expletive-laced press conference last summer?

And before the Birds bandwagon either derails or picks up speed on its way to San Diego, let's thank Andy Reid, Donovan McNabb, A.J. Feeley, Duce and the other Eagles for the most entertaining season since Dick Vermeil and a battered Ron "Jaws" Jaworski lifted the team to the Super Bowl in 1980.

You really soared this season.


The Birds may start playing next year at Lincoln Financial Field, but it will never be the same for me. I think I finally know what my parent's generation must have felt when Connie Mack stadium/Shibe park was torn down.

First off, the name sucks.

Veterans Stadium - da Vet in Philly lingo - at least pays homage to the people from our area who fought for this country.

Lincoln Financial only pays homage to the highest bidder.

The life insurance and annuities company was founded in Ft. Wayne, Indiana in 1905 by a group of "bankers, attorneys, wholesalers, hoteliers, manufacturers, physicians and brokers." Although Lincoln's headquarters is now in Philly, I bet neither its founders nor their descendants ever sat in the 700 level at any game.

In exchange for $139.6 million over the next 20 years - through annual payments averaging approximately $6.75 million - they get their company's name on our new $512 million field.

Do the math and that's 27 percent. Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie put up $355 million - or nearly 70 percent. The rest - about $17.4 million - comes from taxpayers.

Lurie, aware of the image-problem, said in June that fans in the 700-level will be excluded from the season-ticket licensing program.

"Not only that, what we did -- we invested so much money in what used to be called the 700 level. There's going to be a lot of covered seating up there, the viewing angle is terrific the nearness to the field is phenomenal. This is far from the 700 level. These will be the same people in much better seats and actually protected from the environment in many cases," he is quoted on the Eagles Web site as saying.

Money and name aside, I doubt any stadium with real, lush green grass will ever create as much of a home-field advantage as our existing concrete coliseum. Meanwhile, the players better look out if they get injured on the new field.

According to the AP, the Washington Redskins had a bill introduced last week that would exclude their team from paying workman's compensation. Wonder how soon til Lurie and the other owners follow suit?

Maybe Lincoln Financial can sell the players insurance.

Jan. 20, 2003