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“Fly Eagles Fly, On the Road to Victory (Fight Fight Fight!).”
There are two ways to view one of the most well-known franchises in the National Football League, the Philadelphia Eagles, established in 1933. The pessimist sees that the Eagles have never won a Super Bowl and haven’t won an NFL Championship since the same year John F. Kennedy was elected President (1960). They note the notoriety of Eagles fans and how they booed and hurled snowballs at Santa Claus in 1968. They also may bring up that the Eagles trail in the all-time series against their two biggest rivals, the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants.
“Fight Eagles Fight, Score a Touchdown 1-2-3. (1-2-3!)”
But the Philadelphia Eagles are more than simple numbers or the harassment of Father Christmas. Philadelphia is where greats like Reggie White, Chuck Bednarik and Brian Dawkins played and had their numbers retired. The Eagles’ fan base also consistently ranks among the best in the league, placing first in a 2008 Forbes survey and third in both a 1999 and 2006 American City Business Journal survey. Moreover, the 1968 Eagles team was 2-11 going into the infamous Santa Claus game. Fans had to clear three inches of slush and snow before taking their seat, temperatures were in the low 20s and wind gusts were upwards of 30 miles per hour. The fact that there were over 54,000 people at the game to boo and harass Ol’ Saint Nick despite these miserable conditions is just one example of why Eagles fans are considered some of the most loyal and passionate in the entire league.
“Hit ‘Em Low, Hit ‘Em High. And Watch Our Eagles Fly.”
The Eagles’ "nest", so to speak, is Lincoln Financial Field, commonly known as "The Linc." The Eagles moved to this venue in 2003 after over 30 years at Veterans Stadium, a multi-purpose stadium that that was also the home of the Philadelphia Phillies baseball team. In February 1999, Pennsylvania approved stadium funding for the Eagles to move and a stadium deal was reached in December 2000. Construction for the new Lincoln Financial Field began in 2001 and on August 3, 2003, the first event played on Lincoln Financial Field was a soccer friendly between Barcelona and Manchester United. On August 22 the Eagles played their first preseason game at their new venue against the New England Patriots and then on Monday Night Football in Week 1, the Eagles played their first regular-season game at The Linc against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Today, Lincoln Financial Field plays host to Eagles football and Temple University football, while the annual Army-Navy football game is also played there. The stadium is within walking distance of both Citizens Bank Park, home of the Phillies (MLB) and the Wells Fargo Center, home of the 76ers (NBA), Flyers (NHL), Wings (NLL) and Soul (AFL).
“Fly Eagles Fly, On The Road To Victory.”
Lincoln Financial Field is a wonderful sports venue for everyone from diehard Eagles fans to casual onlookers. There is truly a home-field advantage to be had here, and even with some minor hiccups along the way, the full Lincoln Financial Field experience for any visitor is as memorable as the team's one of a kind fight song.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
Let's start with the information that I am sure you are dying to know.
Beer at Lincoln Financial Field is $6.50.
I was not able to take note of the full selection, but I know that Coors and Bud Light are among the available beers. The prices will vary depending on where you buy beer; there are stands that sell just alcohol and roving vendors who sell beer for $7.25, the same price as some concession stands. Papa John's and Chickie's and Pete's charged $6.50 per beer, however. There is a two beer-per-transaction limit at concession stands and a one beer-per-transaction when buying it from a roving vendor. The last call for roving vendors who sell beer is just before halftime and the cutoff for all alcohol sales is at the thirteen minute mark in the third quarter. I can say with certainty that I've never been to a sporting event that had more alcohol consumption than this game at Lincoln Financial Field. The entire team's payroll might be supplied by the alcohol sales at this stadium. That would be an interesting new twist on the phrase 'beer money.'
If you do choose to fill up your stomach with something other than a combination of grains, barley, wheat and hops, the selection is wide and impressive. To even start to understand the layout of Lincoln Financial Field you have to understand that there are two levels, section 100s on the bottom and section 200s on the top. Both have concourses around the stadium and there are more places to eat than one could count.
Philadelphia Favorites, Chickie's and Pete's, Dietz and Watson's Favorites, Liberty Grill and Papa John's are just a few of the places serving food with concession stands on both levels. At Philadelphia Favorites there are four kinds of hoagies; Italian, ham and cheese, roast beef and turkey and cheese (all $9), hot dogs ($4.75), nachos ($5), pretzels ($5), popcorn ($4) and fountain sodas ($3.75). Chickie's and Pete's offers the popular crab fries ($8.50), chicken/buffalo chicken cutlets ($8.50), souvenir sodas ($5.25, but they were out by halftime on the day I visited), Snapple ($4.25), hot chocolate ($5) and bottled water ($4). Liberty Grill serves the famous Philly Cheesesteak ($8.50), double cheeseburger ($8.50), jumbo fries ($8), burger ($5.50), french fries ($5) and hot dogs ($4.75). Papa John's focuses on hot dogs ($4.75), pretzels ($4.75) and pepperoni and cheese pizzas ($7 each).
Compared to other NFL stadiums, the food prices at Lincoln Financial Field would be around average, while the beer and soda are probably cheaper than average. Even though there's a plethora of choices as far as food goes, don't think you won't be waiting in line. I went to eat towards the end of halftime and probably waited about fifteen minutes. Part of the wait is because the cashiers need to go to the back to get some of the food. I was unable to locate the cheesesteak stand until later in the game, so I ordered an Italian hoagie and a fountain soda, and the cashier herself had to walk to the back and get the hoagie, which had to have been in a refrigerator. This slowed down the service but ensured that the food was fresh, a tradeoff I will take any time. All major credit cards (American Express, Visa and MasterCard) are accepted, and though I was disappointed they were out of souvenir soda cups, the hoagie was delicious and filling. I am left still imagining how good the cheesesteak must be here, however.
The following note is so simple and yet says so much about the tailgating atmosphere for an Eagles game at Lincoln Financial Field: Parking opens five hours prior to kickoff. Five.
I can't say for certain without visiting every other stadium, but I would be comfortable pushing the opinion that the tailgating that happens at Eagles home games is one of the best in the league. First of all, the parking situation is very smart and efficient. Since the Wells Fargo Center and Citizens Bank Park are walking distance from Lincoln Financial Field, all three venues have large parking areas that can be shared. The lots that are closest to Lincoln Financial Field, K and L, are reserved for suiteholders. Still, there are so many other lots that the Eagles fans are able to use that require no more than a 15-20 minute walk at most. Lots Q through X are behind Citizens Bank Park and are about three blocks away. P-T is to the side of the ballpark and A-F is the main parking spot for Wells Fargo Center, available for Eagles fans on gamedays. I only arrived about an hour before kickoff and I had no problem finding a place to park.
The tailgating scene at this particular game was quite simply stunning. There were people tailgating outside their cars, vans and even buses. I saw at least two fan buses that were painted midnight green and had Eagles trademarks posted on its sides. Beer was being consumed, cigars were being smoked and plenty of food was going around as well. A good tailgate seems to be another sense of pride for some Eagles fans. Loud music could also be heard around different parts of the parking lot, being played on car radios or boomboxes brought by fans. It's hard to explain in words what the scene is like outside the Linc hours before kickoff. It was remarkable enough to just see the tailgating going on with the footballs being passed around and a large group of fans playing cornhole; I can only imagine what it would be like to actually be a part of one of those tailgates.
Programs are sold for $5 and the Eagles Yearbook is sold for $10 just outside the stadium. To get inside, you'll first need to go through an inspection line where Eagles employees check bags and run a metal detector wand close to your body similar to what you'd find in an airport. Upon reaching the actual entrance of the stadium, you will be able to give your ticket and enter the venue through a turnstile. I entered through the Verizon Wireless gate, which was on the west side of the stadium; it seemed to be a lot less packed than the other entrances as kickoff drew near and fans began filing in.
Once you make your way to your seat, you will notice several different things immediately before the game even starts. There are two huge video boards on each side of the stadium behind the end zones. If you're into specifics, both are 27' by 96'. There is a huge Reggie White 92 sign on the northeast gate side. This is a nice way to recognize not only one of the greatest Eagles of all time, but one of the greatest NFL defensive players of all time. Down low, the closest fans are about 10 feet from the team benches and about 60 feet from the sidelines. There was also a lot of sun and glare that was coming from the south gate direction on the particular 1:00 PM game I attended that made it harder to see the field, especially for sections 219-231. Shadows started appearing throughout the game, but for this particular section the sun was never really blocked. This is not likely enough to spoil your Eagles game, but it's worth noting.
But what about the actual seats? The seats themselves are comfortable with armrests and a cupholder that's behind the seat in front of you. The legroom, though, is like the team standings in the NFC East in December; very tight. I also came across two or three seats in the 227 section where a concrete wall blocked a big part of the view of the field; however, all of these seats had a notice that the 'seat bottom has been removed by stadium operations.' and thus were not being sold or occupied.
As the kickoff time gets closer, 'Master of Puppets' by Metallica played while the Eagles starters are introduced one by one with the defense coming out first. Fireworks around the stadium shoot out and then soon after, the famous Eagles fight song 'Fly Eagles Fly' plays to really rile up the fans right before kickoff. The fight song is sort of like the equivalent to a college's alma mater except for the fact that unlike an alma mater, just about everyone at an Eagles game knows the fight song. During the game the song plays after every Eagles touchdown and at the close game I attended, got louder with each score.
At halftime the Eagles enter the tunnel near section 107 while the visitors enter the tunnel under 114. Cheerleaders perform during some intermissions and were visible the entire game. The Eagles' mascot Swoop can be seen multiple times, and there is also a huge focus on NFL Redzone, a television package you can get with Xfinity by Comcast, whom is a big sponsor.
Welcome to the City of Brotherly Love. If you can't grab a bite at a tailgate party there are still countless places to go before the game to eat in the largest city in Pennsylvania and the fifth-largest city in the United States. Bomb Bomb Barbeque Grill on Wolf Street, Norm & Lou's on Essington Avenue and Stadium Grill on Pattison Avenue are just some of the many restaurants around Lincoln Financial Field. If you're searching for a bar, you certainly don't have to go far. McFadden's on Citizens Bank Way, Philadium Tavern on Packer Avenue and Cookie's Tavern on S Aider Street are all walking distance from the Linc and will all take you in if you need a drink (and, I would assume, not wearing a visitors' jersey). Since all four major professional sports franchises in Philadelphia play their home games just across the street from each other, this area in Philadelphia is likely busy just about every day. Businesses know that, so you will never need to look hard for a place to dine or drink when you're coming to or from Lincoln Financial Field.
The actual city of Philadelphia is one that needs little introduction. Several well-known colleges, like the University of Pennsylvania, Saint Joseph's, La Salle, Temple and Drexel have their main campus within the city limits. From the Liberty Bell to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, from Independence Hall to Franklin Institute, there are countless ways you could spend a day in this city even without sports and still be anxious to mark your calendar for your next visit. I was not able to stay for much outside of the game during this particular visit but the city looked beautiful, and while I am sure the more dangerous areas exist as they do with any big city, I always felt safe near the streets around the stadium.
The Eagles' fanbase has a negative reputation to some, but this may be a bit unfair. I'm not trying to say that the stories of fans getting beer poured on their head or verbally abused for four quarters, especially if they're wearing the opposing team's jersey, isn't true. Unfortunately, I wouldn't be surprised if something like that did happen somewhere else in the stadium on the day I attended. Speaking from my own experience as a sports fan that came to the stadium in neutral gear just hoping to see a fun game, however, the fans did nothing to ruin my experience at Lincoln Financial Field; they only added to it.
By kickoff on the day I attended, the stadium appeared about 80-85% filled. By the 2nd quarter it was about 90% full. Officially, this game was a complete sellout. No matter the record of the team or the temperature at the game, these fans come out and do three things; eat food, drink beer and cheer on their Eagles. Many of them wear different kinds of Eagles merchandise, especially jerseys of both past and present players. There were fans of all ages at the game I visited, kids, teens, young adults, adults and elders. Moreover, even though the game looked like it might get out of hand at certain points in the afternoon, everyone seemed to stick around. Fans didn't really start filing out until the last second ticked off the clock and the fourth quarter ended.
Philadelphia fans also seem to be very open and outgoing, with more than a couple strangers starting a conversation with me both inside the stadium and walking back to the parking lot afterwards. On the other hand, I also saw the end of a fight between two drunk fans inside the stadium right after the game which security seemed to quickly separate. I later came across two fans outside who were helping out their friend, a twenty-something guy who could barely stand let alone walk to their car because of how intoxicated he was. Perhaps my experience was an aberration, but I would absolutely like to visit again and spend more time hanging around the Philadelphia fans.
It's hard to really fault the Eagles for this, but getting to and from Lincoln Financial Field is a journey. As far the directions go, that's easy. From Maryland you take I-95 for all but about 10 or 15 miles of your trip, which from Baltimore is about a two hour trip. The trip is easy, if not a bit uneventful, and will also take you through the tip of Delaware. From Maryland, you will pay $13 in tolls getting there and $7 in tolls getting back. Driving is easy until you get off I-95 and close to the bridge across the Schuylkill River. Under normal conditions, the bridge is about 10 or 15 minutes from the stadium. On the day of a game, that turns into about an hour. Everyone is trying to take the exit towards Pattison Avenue, so the traffic is bumper-to-bumper. As bad as the traffic is getting to the game, however, the pain is sevenfold getting out afterwards. Police officers are out in force trying to direct traffic and the flow of pedestrians, but on the streets close to the stadium, movement is close to a standstill. Until you're able to get back on I-95, traffic is stop-and-go. If you're able to take public transportation to the game that would be your best bet. There is a SEPTA Broad Street Subway Line that can drop you off a few blocks from the stadium.
As mentioned earlier, parking generally opens five hours prior to kickoff and even if you get to the stadium close to kickoff, you'll have parking spots available. Generally it is $25 for cars and $50 for oversized vehicles. Once you're out of your car and on your feet, there are seven entrances to get in Lincoln Financial Field, though three are for suiteholders only. The ones open to the general public are the Northeast gate, the Comcast gate (NW), the Verizon Wireless gate (W) and the South gate. The ticket office is on the north side of the stadium and there's always a huge line to get in the Linc but if one gate gets too crowded, the staff will start directing fans to a different, shorter gate. Gates open ninety minutes before kickoff and prohibited items include bottles, cans, beverages, containers, umbrellas, footballs, noisemakers, hard-sided coolers and bags larger than 12"x12"x12".
With each team only playing about eight home games each season, it's understandable why NFL tickets are the hardest ones to get your hands on in the world of American professional sports. Still, in some cities, buying NFL tickets are easy whether it's because of a poor fanbase or a poor team. In Philadelphia, getting tickets is anything but easy. Eagles season ticket holders have one of the highest renewal percentages in the NFL, and even for the nosebleeds, this isn't a place you could just wake up on gameday, shrug and say, 'hey, maybe I'll catch the Eagles game today.' If you're going to Lincoln Financial Field, you need to plan ahead. Looking four or five days before the game on Ticketexchange by Ticketmaster, the only website authorized by the Eagles for fans to buy and sell seats, the cheapest available tickets were just over $80 and in the upper deck. On StubHub, tickets for the upper deck seats were between $80 and $100.
With that said, you get what you pay for. The experience is plenty of fun no matter where you sit, though it is recommended to sit somewhere between 201-207 and 239-244. This will place you on the Eagles' side, and there's no chance for the sun to block your view. If you want to capitalize on some merchandise before, during or after the game, there are a few stores called the Eagles' Locker Room with jerseys, hats and all kinds of Eagles gear for sale. Certainly the Eagles aren't the only professional team around. The New York Jets, New York Giants and Baltimore Ravens are all about two hours away, Washington Redskins being two and a half while the Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots are about five. The experience at the Linc is something special when you consider the tailgating, venue, fanbase, city and tradition, however.
In September 2012, Team Marketing published a Fan Cost Index (FCI) which takes into consideration the costs of normal fan expenses like parking, average ticket prices and concessions. The lower the ranking, the more cost efficient a day at the stadium would be. The Eagles came in 22nd out of 32. A fan at Lincoln Financial Field gets a top-class atmosphere for a relatively lower-tier price. If fans didn't think they were getting their money's worth with the Eagles having both good and bad years recently, the Linc would not constantly be sold out and filled up. It's not just about the team here. It's also about the community and the pride that comes with being a Philadelphian.
My first point goes to 'Fly Eagles Fly'. I know I'm starting to beat a dead horse here, but as a graduate of Kansas, I'm a sucker for a good chant or song that really gets fans behind their team. A second point reiterates the kindness of the ushers and staff. I am sure that working at Lincoln Financial Field is not an easy job, but the staff members that I came across were extremely polite and kept everything orderly where I was. A third point is awarded for the halftime ceremony the Eagles held for the game's honorary captain, former running back Brian Westbrook. Westbrook is at or near the top of many different Eagles records and it was nice to see him honored and be able to give a good speech where he told the sellout crowd that everything he did in his career was for the 'best fans in the NFL' and the great city of Philadelphia. Three extra points; which is also the number of league championships the Eagles have earned. (1948, 1949, 1960)
Looking at Lincoln Financial Field just by itself, the venue is certainly nice but not really a stand-out. Other NFL stadiums also have big scoreboards and beautiful backdrops. There is a lot of focus on the Eagles' history through montages on the videoboards, but there really isn't much displayed in the actual stadium. What makes the Linc extra special is the atmosphere created by the fans and the food provided by the concession staff. You cannot see these things by just looking at pictures of the stadium or taking a tour of it on a weekday - but that special "it factor" is definitely there.
Without a doubt, a day at the Linc could go many different ways. On one hand, you could end up sitting in front of loud belligerent fans that spill their alcohol and start fights with anyone who looks at them the wrong way. On the other hand, you could have an experience similar to mine and enjoy the game and sights, while being taken aback by the overall atmosphere and the togetherness that the true Eagles fans seem to share with each other. The game that I attended had a great chance to go into overtime which would have allowed me to spend more time in the stadium. I was legitimately disappointed when the fourth quarter didn't end in a tie. Lincoln Financial Field on gamedays is a special experience, and while your seats are a bit tight tight tight and traffic is an ugly sight sight sight, there are few experiences in the NFL that can top watching the Eagles fight fight fight.
Lincoln Financial Field is smashed in between several NFL venues built along the East Coast within the past 15 years. But, Lincoln Financial Field puts together the best game day experience for all fan types - both those who want to tailgate, those who want to hit a bar or restaurant before the game or those who want to enter the stadium early.
Consider this of the four competing East Coast NFL stadiums - MetLife Stadium (built in 2010), Gillette Stadium (built in 2002) and FedEx Field (built in 1997) are built far away from their respective cities. The only option is to tailgate and that is if you are able to buy your way into a parking lot. Plus, food and drinks are expensive once inside. On the contrary, M&T Bank Stadium (built in 1998) is located in downtown Baltimore. Thus, the only pre-game option is to eat at a restaurant before the game unless you know someone who has a parking permit or buy one on the secondary market.
However, Lincoln Financial Field gives you the best of both worlds and could be the best NFL venue in the Northeast. There are a handful of bars and restaurants to choose from within the immediate vicinity and, if you want, you can plan a tailgate late Saturday night and actually pay for parking on the day of the game. Plus, food and drinks are relatively cheap once you enter the stadium.
Lincoln Financial Field is the home of the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles. Built across the street from the former spot of the not-at-all-missed Veterans Stadium, it is part of the massive Philadelphia Sports Complex, which includes Citizens Bank Park, home of the 2008 World Champion Phillies, and Wells Fargo Center, home of the NHL's Flyers, Arena Football's Soul, and the NBA's 76ers.
The second of the three to be built, The Linc is a vast improvement over the Vet.
I love this stadium. Too bad I won't be going back. The fans are terrible and, frankly, violent. I've been to many baseball games in Philly and even went to a basketball game here. This is a very different town when it comes to football. I live near Philly and have many friends who are diehard Eagles fans. Most of them agree with me about the fans. The prices are typical for the NFL...outrageous. You are much better off going into the city for food or simply stay in a lot that allows tailgating and bring your own food. Philly has a beautiful stadium but it would be nice if it wasn't so far from the city. I think the whole community loses because of the distance.
Granted, my visit to the "Link" occurred during preseason, but I was very impressed with the facility. Due to traffic, we arrived in Philly only about a half hour before kickoff, but were able to get off the highway, park, get a drink, and get to our seats before kickoff. There is the advantage of having one large sports complex right off the highway. The disadvantage is that there are few (if any) good options for before or after the game. The stadium had wide, spacious concourses and varied concessions. I recommend the crab fries. The fans were nowhere near as rude as their reputation, but I guess that this ranking would drop a little during the regular season. All in all, it was a pleasant visit. Bonus points for the working windmills and open design, as well as the delightfully dated fight song.
Painful exiting from the parking lot here onto 95S. Best to park on the street away from the lots if you can. Fans cheered Andy and Donovan but left early. Many drunks and one big fight. Atmosphere hampered by the Eagles falling behind early. Still, a beautiful stadium and wind turbines on the top of each end are a nice addition.
1526 Packer Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19145
900 Packer Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19148
1 Citizens Bank Way
Philadelphia, PA 19148
3101 S 13th St
Philadelphia, PA 19148
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2628 South St
Philadelphia, PA 19146