During warmups before the 2017 NFC Championship Game at the Linc, Vikings safety Harrison Smith locked eyes with Jonathan Gannon and said, “Woah.”
Gannon responded with a “woah” of his own.
It was loud. Like, really loud.
The Eagles’ defensive coordinator shared that story this week, remembering the experience of being a young assistant in a hostile environment as the 49ers come to town five years later. That championship game is probably as loud as the Linc has ever been … perhaps until Sunday.
Good luck, Brock Purdy.
“It’s so important to us. Our crowd inspires us,” Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni said on Friday. “Our crowd makes it difficult for the opposing team with how much communication has to happen in this great game. And they’re hostile. They are hostile.
“I knew that being an opposing coach coming here how intimidating they can be. They’ll make life difficult there’s no doubt for this team that’s coming in here because of who they are as fans. It’s going to be loud, we’ll feed off that and it’s going to be energetic.”
The 49ers have won 12 straight games and Purdy has been the starter for seven of them. There’s no question that Purdy has been very good, especially for a rookie who was taken with the final pick in the draft.
But just two of his seven wins have come on the road. One in Las Vegas, when the stands were full of 49ers fans. And the other in Seattle.
That game in Seattle was a big one. It was the game that clinched the NFC West and Lumen Field is known for getting really loud.
“That was huge just because that was our first game really all year that it was that important and Brock hadn’t had experience with it and so it was great to have that, especially with us going to Philly,” 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said this week. “I remember I was talking about that that week that we needed that. We needed that rep in case we ended up in the NFC championship at Philly and we got that and very fortunate that we did.”
As the Niners prepared for that Seahawks game, they were already thinking about a possible trip to Philly for this game and it turns out there were right.
That was even the message to Purdy during the week of the Seahawks game back in mid-December.
“When we played Seattle that week and everything, [Shanahan] did say it was good preparation for what we might have to play in, in terms of the playoffs, going on the road for road games and obviously for Philadelphia,” Purdy said this week.
“Everything in these kinds of games is all about communication. How can you operate smoothly, get in and out of the huddle, get the play off in the right way, make sure everyone's on the same page, so that's definitely a big emphasis this week just at practice with the little things, the details of communicating and being on point. And that starts with the cadence, so it's going to be huge for us.”
After the 38-7 win over the Giants, Haason Reddick marveled at the atmosphere in the Linc for the divisional round and implored Eagles fans to keep it going in the championship game. They will.
The 49ers this week tried to prepare as much as possible by blasting music during practice.
“Yeah, crank it up,” Shanahan said.
Not sure those speakers get loud enough.
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