Joe Dill loves Philadelphia. So does Madi McShane. And so do thousands of other area residents who work here, pay taxes here and take pride in calling the City of Brotherly Love home.
They just don’t love the Eagles.
In fact, they sort of hate them.
And that’s because they are a part of the minority of Philadelphia-area Patriots fans bracing for what will be a difficult week in the city.
“If they lose I might have to take my Pats decal off my car to prevent vandalism,” Dill, a resident of Fairmount, said. “I have parked on my back alley, not even on the main road because there’s enough foot traffic that someone might smash my window. I’m never afraid to walk around in my Pats gear in Philly, I have rocked gear and took B-S from Eagles fans for two decades — they were never relevant before.”
Sunday, when the Eagles and Patriots face-off in a Super Bowl rematch, the team will be relevant again. And ever since the Birds won the NFC Championship, it’s been a hard place to be a New Englander.
“Luckily I don’t have anyone really in my family that’s a diehard Eagles fan,” McShane, whose family hails from New Hampshire, said. I’ve gotten the most s**t at work. I work with a lot of Eagles fans. I have a Patriots bumper sticker on my car and I walk into a Dunkin Donuts and someone sees I have a Pats sticker and that’s when people start to harass me. Total strangers come up and say crude things. I guess it’s somewhat harmless. I have noticed that I have kind of been irrelevant for the past 10 years I’ve been a Patriots’ fan. Now every one seems to care that I’m a Pats fan.”
McShane is 23 and has been to Foxboro for a game in each of the past three seasons. A Manayunk resident, she won’t be in Center City or even on Main Street in her town. She instead prefers to watch the game in peaceful solidude away from the Eagles’ crazies.
“I am not going out because I am scared for my life to go out in Philly with a Pats jersey on,” she said. “I will be in my house with my friends with the doors locked.”
The Eagles have never won a Super Bowl and the Patriots have won five. And all five have been during Dill’s adult life. A regular visitor to Gilette Stadium with roots in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, the 31-year-old has some sage wisdome to share. Proudly, he’s visited the mountaintop of victory on the shoulders of future Hall of Famer Tom Brady several times before.
“Win or lose, try to remain as respectful as possible,” he said. “I know what it’s like to win and it’s the greatest feeling. It’s euphoria. It’s a very strange feeling for a sports fan to win it all and accomplish the ultimate goal. Understand the pain on the other side and be respectful of that. But Philly fans will be Philly fans forever. They’re probably going to be the sorest winners in the entire NFL.”