By FRANK WARD
Forget the taser guns, the vomiting on little girls, the stolen Montreal license plates and every other piece of dirt the national media want to focus on. Philadelphia fans are among the most loyal in the nation. Ask any athlete after their playing days and they’ll admit we’re hard, but fair. Anyone who doesn’t is likely named Rolen or Wagner.
Former All Pro running back Ricky Watters, a Harrisburg native, has nothing but admiration for the blue collar fans who filled Veterans Stadium when he played.
“I always say, Philly fans are tough, but they also — as much as they are on you — they praise you when you do well,” said Watters. “They’re in the game and not sitting on hands.”
Hey, if a guy we gave hell to because of his infamous “For Who? For What?” line can give us props, why can’t the national media?
OK, the national pundits want an example of how Philly fans treat athletes well. How about the following anecdote from the five-time Pro Bowler.
“My fondest memory of Eagles fans is when I went to Seattle. I didn’t know how I’d be received when I came back to play here,” he said. “I got a great ovation and saw No. 32 jerseys through the stands. People after game told me how much they appreciated my years there. That’s who they are as fans.”
He’s dead on accurate. We might get all over people, but we also recognize when a player spills his guts on the field and we appreciate and reward that. Those expecting us to boo McNabb when he returns this year will be madly disappointed.
For his part, Watters says he has one regret while playing in front of Eagle Nation.
“I definitely wanted to bring a championship there,” he said. “Getting one there would have been bringing it home because I’m from Harrisburg. All my all friends feel that way. I wanted to bring a winner there and did the best I could.
“The Philly area is and will always be home to me. I still feel at home every time I come back.”