Student journalist Lindsey Prather covers the drama of Philadelphia NFL fans burning their own starting quarterback’s jersey for percieved underperformance.
In April 2019, baseball legend Alex Rodriquez drew the ire of sports fans when he lauded the tenacity of Philadelphia over Washington D.C. as one of the best sports cities in the United States.
”Now D.C.’s about 130 miles down the road, but let’s make it clear, it’s a world of difference between markets,” Rodriguez said, “If you’re over there, you’re thinking about politics and what happens in the White House. If you’re here [in Philadelphia], this is a sports town and they love their Phillies.”
This quote is somewhat dated, but Rodriquez is still correct about one thing: Philadelphia is a sports city unlike any other. Although some cities love their teams just like Philly, no one hates their own teams quite like they do. This became apparent after the Eagles’ ugly loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Oct. 13.
It would be an understatement to say that the Eagles have been struggling in the seasons following their historic Super Bowl win. The team has been plagued with injuries, coaching problems and locker room drama, and these issues were especially exposed after the 37-10 loss to the Cowboys. Although the blame for this loss doesn’t belong to any individual, young quarterback Carson Wentz has found himself taking most of the heat.
The seeds of this discontent were planted in the offseason with the trading of Wentz’s beloved back-up, Nick Foles. During the Eagles’ eventual Super Bowl winning season, Foles was the player that led the team through the playoffs and to their Super Bowl victory. Wentz, the original starting quarterback, had found himself injured with a torn ACL in the waning games of the season. Without a doubt, Wentz had led the team through a stellar regular season, however it is undeniable that Foles was the real hero during the 2017-2018 season.
This past offseason, the Eagles front office made it apparent that Wentz would remain the starter, given their investment of a first-round pick as well as his undeniable abilities. They traded Nick Foles to the Jacksonville Jaguars, and signed Carson Wentz to a $128 million dollar contract.
Immediately following this contract, various sports media began reporting Wentz’s lack of support from the Eagles’ locker room, citing an anonymous source. The source described a strained relationship between the young quarterback and his teammates.
This drama had remained dormant throughout the season, until the most recent loss to the Cowboys. After the game, fans began burning Wentz jerseys, demanding that he be traded, and in the midst of these events, it was eventually revealed that the “anonymous source” that had been criticizing Wentz was Nelson Agholor, one of his receivers. Agholor is far from esteemed in Philadelphia; however it seems that he is content with dragging Carson Wentz down with him.
Wentz’s career has been an exceptionally solid one. He regularly ranks in the statistical top ten quarterbacks in the league, and he has made it apparent that he is capable of winning. His past four seasons with the Eagles have been productive, and despite the pressure from his fans, he has had an extremely productive season.
It would be a lie to say that Wentz is not having a rough season, but burning his jersey is a level of undeserved hatred that only Philly fan’s would perpetrate. Let’s hope, for his sake, he can overshadow his former backup’s success.