The Philadelphia Eagles enjoyed a bonus home game on Sunday afternoon, transforming the Meadowlands into Lincoln Financial Field.
MetLife Stadium, home of the New York Giants, was full of Eagles fans on Sunday afternoon.
Don Henley, however, was nowhere to be seen.
Philadelphia Eagles fans took over the home of the Giants, reveling in their team’s 34-29 win on Sunday afternoon. With the win, Philadelphia, already christened winners of the NFC East, earned themselves at least a first-round bye in the upcoming NFC playoffs, though home-field advantage throughout the tournament was denied to them by Minnesota’s blowout win over Cincinnati.
Nonetheless, Eagles fans were a happy bunch on Sunday afternoon, the latest insult in a season full of them for Giants fans. The stadium was arguably louder than it has been all season (including Jets games), as New Jersey’s strong Eagles following made their prescience felt. When the Giants had the ball in the late stages of a close game, those dressed in green generated loud “Defense!” chants, while Eagle touchdowns were commemorated with certain sections blaring the Eagles’ infamous fight song “Fly Eagles Fly”.
“They’re right up the street, right in the backyard. It’s not surprising to see all of their fans here chanting about the Eagles,” Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul said of the visitors. “They won today, salute to them. They were the better team today; you have to give them their props.”
Perhaps the most egregious example of Philadelphia fan interference came in the Giants’ failed final drive, one that got as close as six yards from the end zone. Facing fourth and goal, the Giants went for a game-winning score, but the attempt was delayed thanks to a false start penalty by tackle Bobby Hart. Backed up to the Eagles 11, Manning’s would-be game-winner to tight end Evan Engram fell incomplete, sending the crowd into hysterics.
Manning admitted after the game that he had trouble with the cadence thanks to the noise.
“I guess when you’ve only won two games, there’s a lot of Eagles fans and they were loud and we couldn’t hear the cadence, that’s why we jumped offsides,” the quarterback said. “It’s unfortunate. I had the false start. It’s a tough situation, I don’t blame Bobby. At home, it’s loud.”
Manning, true to form, took the blame for the penalty, absolving both Hart and the Giants faithful.
“I don’t blame our fans, that’s the way this season has turned out. We didn’t do our part. You’re playing late in the year where you’re not playing for a spot in the playoffs, so it bothers me from that standpoint.”
Eagles cornerback Jalen Mills praised the Philadelphia for making the trip.
“They’re loud. They’re crazy,” Mills said. “We had a great group out there.”
This isn’t the first time the Giants have had problems with opposing fan invasions. Last week, legions of Dallas Cowboys fans enjoyed a 30-10 win at the Giants’ expense, while Seattle’s “12th Man” paid a visit in October, getting loud in a 24-7 Seahawks win.
With the win, the Eagles, who maintain a strong fanbase in South Jersey, clinched their third sweep of their yearly season set with the Giants over the past four seasons. The Eagles have won 16 of the past 20 meetings, dating back to 2008, including a 23-11 win in the 2009 NFC Divisional playoffs. The Giants still lead the all-time series, including postseason, 85-83-2.
After yesterday’s loss, the Giants are now 1-6 at home this season, their worst since MetLife Stadium opened in 2010. The East Rutherford faithful will endure one more trip to the swamp in the final week of the regular season, when the Giants take on the likewise eliminated Washington Redskins.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490