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On the Net: Even online, you can hear Eagles fans boo

By GREG AUMAN, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 12, 2002

Few cities' sports fans have reputations to rival that of Philadelphia's, and if nothing else, Sunday night's regular-season finale between the Bucs and Eagles served to add another level to the proud Philly stereotype: even online, they'll boo their own when it's warranted.

At 11:30 p.m. on Sunday, as the Bucs were closing out the final minutes with a 13-3 lead, one fan noticed that philadelphiaeagles.com, the team's official site, had prematurely written off the game as a Bucs victory.

"TAMPA -- It meant nothing. The loss to the Bucs didn't reveal any secrets, point to any weaknesses, expose any game plan tendencies," read the lead story at the Eagles' site, which was quickly cut-and-pasted onto several message boards. " . . . And, really, folks, the loss Sunday won't carry over in any way to the playoffs."

The Eagles, of course, rallied for two late touchdowns to beat the Bucs, and the site later rallied to correct the game's winner. Despite the occasional mistake, the Eagles' presence online, both at official and fan sites, is like the team itself: surprisingly tough to beat.

The official site has been busy this week, broadcasting a Web-exclusive radio show each day this week, complete with live callers and interviews. The show has drawn as many as 4,500 online listeners and will broadcast again tonight after the playoff game. "It's really been awesome," said Dave Spadaro, the Eagles' director of Internet development. "It's something exclusive to the site, and today we had callers from Vancouver, from California, from all over. It's really coming along."

The site sponsored a "Name the Defense" contest last week that drew 8,000 entries in a week, but the resulting finalists were disappointingly bland: Blitzkrieg; the alliterative Blitz Brigade and cliche Blitz Incorporated, which ended up being selected.

"We had a lot of good ones," said Spadaro, noting "Cheesesteak Crunch" and "Independence Maulers" among his favorites. By comparison, some of the Eagles fans sites have infinitely cooler names. For Bucs fans seeking that extra pregame motivation, here are a few:

bleeding-green.com: Complete with the "NFL Films" fanfare playing with its flash intro, the site has a gallery of pictures showing Donovan McNabb bobble-head dolls posing in various vistas, from EPCOT to New York City to . . . the Oregon Women's Correctional Center. Fans also can check out seasonlong pick-'em contests (only 43 of 115 entrants picked the Eagles over the Bucs before the season), lively message boards and the obligatory tailgating pictures.

concretefield.com: Great name, with enough satirical content to get a plug in ESPN The Magazine. Much like redtidenews.com has for Bucs fans, the site pokes fun at the rest of the league -- think theonion.com in helmet and pads.

nestofdeath.com: Somehow chosen as the NFL's fourth-best fan site in the 2000 Internet Football Awards, this site has a strange assortment of audio files, ranging from fight songs to tiny snippets of amateur play-by-play broadcasts from Eagles games. Philly linebacker Jeremiah Trotter was recently spotted wearing a "Nest of Death" sweatshirt, yours with hood and pockets for $33.

700level.com: Named for the top tier of Veterans Stadium, this site's best feature is a "Stadium Survivor" game that challenges fans to pilot a player through the oft-maligned Vet turf while dodging batteries, beer and snowballs thrown at him. A good laugh, and appropriately difficult.

PHILLY TID-BYTES: Hockey fans can visit orangeandblack.net, a Flyers page that asked fans this week to choose the kind of reception Eric Lindros will receive when the Rangers visit Philadelphia tonight. The winning greeting was "25% cheers, 75% boos," and to no surprise, "generally neutral/quiet" did not receive a single vote. . . . Strangest Eagles site might be keithbyars.com, produced by a cousin of the former Ohio State star, "for the purpose of honoring one of professional football's all-time greatest athletes." If that isn't modest enough for you, check out troyvincent.com, where the Eagles cornerback explains that his "long-term goals include amassing $1-billion of net worth."

- If you have a question or comment about the Internet or a site to suggest, e-mail staff writer Greg Auman at auman@sptimes.com.

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