The mystery of the most passionate fans in all of football

Eagles fans traveled far and wide to see their favorite team play in Super Bowl LVII. (Mackenzie Meaney/MEDILL)

By Mackenzie Meaney
Medill Reports

PHOENIX – Philadelphia Eagles fans are known as one of the most passionate fan bases in all of sports. Doing anything and everything to show their support, it was an easy choice for fans from all over the continent to head to Phoenix to check out the Super Bowl once their beloved football team made it.

Fans from Philadelphia showed up in Arizona. Same with fans from Alaska and Mexico. There is something about the Eagles and their fan base that pulls people into their convocation from far and wide. 

The lowest ticket price for a seat at State Farm Stadium for Super Bowl LVII was $4,890, posted on Jan. 13, before the NFC and AFC championship games. The most expensive ticket as of Friday was $30,000. Some Philly fans, though, got lucky. Some were selected in ticket lotteries or bought early and hoped their team would make it to Arizona. Others paid full price to watch the Eagles at State Farm Stadium. 

Steve and Lori Foster live in Philly and purchased their Super Bowl tickets back in October after they flew to Phoenix to watch the Eagles beat the Arizona Cardinals. 

“They are an exceptional team,” Steve Foster said. “We knew they were good, that’s why we bought them. Then we just kept quiet until they made the game.” 

“They were much cheaper back then,” Lori Foster said. 

There are other fans from the area, like Tom Holden and his wife, Donna, who are long-time Eagles fans and have been to the past three Super Bowls the Eagles have participated in.

“We are season ticket holders, in the premium club,” Tom Holden said

They did not win the season ticket holder lottery to get to the Super Bowl, but they were still going to find a way to Arizona from their home in New Jersey. Their tickets cost them around $7,000 altogether. 

“We are currently 1-1 with our Super Bowl trips,” Donna Holden said. “We are hoping to be 2-1 after Sunday.”

Anthony Nocito and his two sons, Anthony and Carson, are from Doylestown, 40 miles north of Philadelphia. Their tickets cost them approximately $5,000 altogether.  

“We haven’t been that often, and we wanted to watch them win,” Nocito said. 

Several Eagles fans in attendance at the NFL Super Bowl Fan Experience said being an Eagles fan is a generational experience. Parents pass it along to their children, and the cycle just continues, like with Nocito and his sons. Their die-hardness is inherited, and some of the most passionate fans dress every Sunday in all green, donning helmets and face paint, or have their doorbells play the Eagles fight song. The Eagles have worked their way into the deepest parts of their lives. 

“It’s a gritty, hard-working city with gritty, hard-working players,” said Michael Kelly, an Eagles fan whose family indoctrinated him into the soar (another word for a group of eagles). “We pay it back to them.”

There was no one answer to why Eagles fans are the way they are. When people try to answer, they point to the city’s blue-collar mindset. Historically, Philadelphia was a city with a large working-class population, especially in the 1960s and ’70s. Now, that group of people are scattered few and far between in the city, as the landscape favors specific areas in the Philadelphia metropolitan area instead of the entire city. The median income in the city was $52,649 as of 2021. The city is not really as lunchpail as it still tries to boast, but hard-working people are important to Philadelphia’s framework, and the Eagles are too.

“It’s a blue-collar city,” said Michael Scott, who grew up in Philadelphia. “It’s (the Eagles) all we got.”

Loud, passionate and a little crazy from time to time. But supportive, friendly and welcoming to outsiders who are trying to join the convocation.

“I don’t know why Eagles fans are so passionate,” Lori Foster said. “But they are so supportive. We look out for each other, wherever we go.”

Mackenzie Meaney is a master journalism student studying sports media at Northwestern University. You can connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.