St. Petersburg Times Online: Sports

Weather | Sports | Forums | Comics | Classifieds | Calendar | Movies

Little to love, but Vet was home

By GREG AUMAN, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 19, 2003


It's easy, in typing a site's address, to get things mixed up, like confusing 700club.com with 700level.com.

One is home to a deeply religious following that gathers together on Sundays. The other is headed by Pat Robertson.

The 700 level of Veterans Stadium is the most fanatical section of Eagles fans, and for them, today's NFC Championship Game represents the end of an era. Philadelphia's new stadium, Lincoln Financial Field, may have a similar haven for the biggest Eagles zealots, but it probably won't ever be the same.

As a result, the site's content this week is an odd mix of celebration, knowing the Eagles are one win from the Super Bowl, and a wistful mourning of the passing of the team's home since 1971.

"Buildings don't talk, but if you listen close, they will whisper," reads the site's main story. "In a faint voice, this one will tell of hopes raised, and more often of hopes lost. It will tell of the great teams and terrible teams that called it home, and more importantly the faithful that filled the place regardless of record."

Mike Hook, a graphic designer from Reading, Pa., wrote those words and said Thursday that for all its awful attributes, the Vet has a place in the heart of any Philly fan.

"It's big, ugly and uncomfortable," Hook said. "We're not going to miss the sight lines, or the bathroom lines, but the stadium, and the 700 level, reflects the nature of the people who go there. It's a blue-collar town, and these are the cheap seats, so there's a lot of camaraderie there."

Hook, 34, said the Eagles' new stadium next year will be a lot like Raymond James Stadium, with a design that puts fans closer to the field. New will be better, but old will always be memorable in Philadelphia.

"It's like missing something old and familiar," Hook said. "It's the only place I've ever known for professional football."

That said, the site's message boards are a good translation of the 700 level online: There's little tolerance for opposing fans, who can mouth off here without fear of getting a beer tossed on them, or worse. Hook said the boards have been "a bit messier" than in most weeks. Among the posts on a "Predictions" thread: "Sunday, Bloody Sunday: Eagles 27, Bucs 7. Sapp: 0 sacks, 0 tackles, again."

The site's best feature is a "Stadium Survivor" game that has you navigating a player through beer, snowballs and batteries. In past Bucs playoff trips, we've detailed Eagles sites such as bleeding-green.com and concretefield.com, but here are a few others to check out:

maceagle.com: Fun site has video highlights of Donovan McNabb, special Eagles tic-tac-toe games, plus a page of screen shots of Redskins coach Steve Spurrier agonizing on sideline during Eagles' Monday night drubbing of Washington this year.

patskingofsteaks.com: A Philly landmark since 1930, its site offers recipes, directions on how to order ("wit or witout onions,") and, most importantly, directions on getting there. Celebrity shots include Larry King, Elvis Presley and deposed AOL king Steve Case.

igglephans.com: A few cartoons, but mostly just a message board, amusing if only for the names of the moderators, which include Ben Franklin and Concrete Chuckie.

broadstreetbully.com: Not Eagles, but this hockey site "celebrates the Phillystyle beatdown," with video clips of recent Flyers fights and running totals on punches and fights. An alphabetical archive is colossal, though the "Classic Brawls" link, unfortunately, was dead.

BIRDSEED: Like the Eagles enough to invest in them? Cornerbacks Troy Vincent and Bobby Taylor co-founded a financial services company specializing in "longterm wealth creation" at eltekon.com. You can learn more about the entrepreneur at troyvincent.com, where he details his goal of attaining $1-billion in net worth off the football field. At last, a player we can relate to. . . . After a long hibernation, Bucs satire site redtidenews.com is back at it again. One recent headline had UN weapons inspectors checking out Veterans Stadium, while another explained that Eagles coach Andy Reid has landed the part of "Fat Bastard" in the next Austin Powers movie.

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 .

© Copyright, St. Petersburg Times. All rights reserved.