Last game at Veterans Stadium

By Ryan Norris
January 30, 2003

Known for the worst turf and playing conditions, Veterans Stadium has been the home of the Philadelphia Eagles for more than 30 years, and the Eagles will never play at that stadium again.

The first Eagles game at the Vet took place on Aug. 16, 1971, when

they defeated the Buffalo Bills in a preseason encounter, 34-28. The last Eagles’ game at the Vet took place on Jan. 12, 2003, when they were defeated by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 27-10. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were not ready for this frigid cold in Philadelphia, but they just rolled up their sleeves, pulled out their defense, and became the NFC champions.

Being the last game at Veteran’s Stadium, the majority of Cabrini’s campus had their eyes on this football game, whether they were an Eagles fan or not.

The Acting Vice-President of Student Development, Dr. Richard Neville said, “I was looking forward to them winning. I watched the playoff game with my neighbors. I was hoping they would get to the super bowl for the good of the team and the good of the city. When Tampa Bay intercepted I thought it was all over. We were in it until the last three minutes. We have a very good team, but the margin of loosing or winning is very small. We had a great year and a great season; we overcame hardship.”

Will Harmon, a sophomore at Cabrini, said this was the “most stunning thing anyone’s ever seen in Philadelphia sports. Went from being the greatest day in Philadelphia sports to the saddest. After Tampa’s interception in the fourth quarter, I was in the 700 level and never heard 70,000 Eagle’s fans so silent. I was devastated just like everyone else. I spent eight hours out in the cold – no gloves, no hat. From tailgate at 10a.m, to the fly-by of the F-16’s until the most eerie ending of any game ever played in that stadium.”

Andrew Storti, a sophomore, said this game was “extremely disappointing. That was the position they wanted to be in. They worked real hard to be home for the NFC championship game. All of their off-season preparation was to be home for the NFC championship game. They had home-field advantage and didn’t capitalize on it.”

When Liz Grahm, a junior here at Cabrini, was asked what she thought of the game, she responded, “I don’t want to talk about it. I am sad and so bitter.”

Jeff Sy, a Cabrini student from New York, said, “It was a good game. The Eagles played well but were outplayed by the Bucs. I think it’s great that Tampa won because I hate the Eagles. Eagles fans – get over it!”

Trish Arnold, a graduate of Cabrini, said, “It was just as depressing as when the Vet will be torn down.”

Mike Sofia, a sophomore, “Growing up in the shadow of the stadium, it’s very emotional knowing I’ll never be there for another football game again. I’ve been an Eagles fan since the day I came out of the womb. I never liked another football team and I probably never will.”

Gus Feudale, grounds manager, said, “Being a Cowboys fan, I actually found it quite amusing to find these so-called-die-hard Eagles fans filing out of the Vet when the game wasn’t even over. I find this very unusual that they just left, being such so-called die-hard fans.”

Laura Cover, a junior, said, “I’m a Philly fan proud and true and I’m happy my Eagles made it as far as they did. It would have been awesome if they won, but they are a great team and had a good year. I’ll always be a Philly fan no matter if we win or loose.”

Laura Giorlando, a junior, said, “I wish they would have won because it was their last game at the Vet, and it would have been a great way to end a milestone.”

Craig Vagell, a sophomore, said, “It was an emotional moment for the Eagles fans. It really didn’t affect me emotionally. I’m obviously not an Eagles fan and I was rooting for the Bucs.”

Being the last Eagles game ever in Veterans Stadium, the Eagles’ next game will be at the new Lincoln Financial Field. The majority of Eagles fans and Eagles enemies agree that this stadium will never have the spirit that Veterans stadium had.

Feudale said, “From what I see on the news reports, it seems beautiful. I think it’s not going to be a big part of the home-field advantage as the Vet.”

Sofia said, “Although 21st century and beautiful it’s not the Vet and it never will be the Vet. Lincoln Financial Field will never have that sense of ‘home’ for the Eagles.”

Harmon says, “It’s appropriate but it’s going to become more of a corporate atmosphere, such as men in business suits, watching a game, drinking a cocktail rather than jeans, boots, unshaven face, face paint, beer in one hand and extended middle finger in the other. It was the spirit of that stadium that died along with that game.”

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Ryan Norris

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