Philly sports fans are always under the microscope, but the last couple years have increased the focus on the city's fanbase in a new and sometimes unfair way.
Luckily, Eagles legend Chris Long is here to set the record straight.
Long appeared on the latest episode of the Takeoff with John Clark podcast, where he and Clark discussed basically everything under the sun about the Super Bowl year, this season's Eagles, fantasy football, his charity work - seriously, they hit on it all.
At one point in the back half of the podcast, Long and Clark got into a winding conversation about Carson Wentz, Ben Simmons, and Philadelphia sports fandom that was nuanced and insightful. (I'd recommend listening to the entire thing here.)
One segment of the conversation really stood out to me, and I think it'll resonate with Eagles fans and Philly sports fans in general - and, frankly, even Philly residents who don't consider themselves passionate sports fans but are otherwise passionate about the city and its people.
Here's Long, on why he felt lucky to play in Philly and why other athletes should feel the same way:
"I'm not saying in St. Louis nobody watches the games, I'm talking about nobody sees it on TV. Nobody - it's not a market where we're gonna have a bunch of primetime games. Like, for years of my career it was like, 'Hey, noon game. Hey, noon game. Hey, noon game.' There was never primetime, there was never an opportunity to show what we could do in front of 65,000 people. Because the organization was bad, and we weren't winning, so I'm not blaming the fans.
"But when you get to a place like Philly, I just felt like they adopted me, man. I was like, 'Oh, this is the NFL.' And the sick joke of it was, I'm in Year 10. So I never got to really experience something like that my entire life. And I was like, 'Well, at least I'm going to make the best of it.'
"Players don't know how lucky they are, I think, to be in a place like Philly. I would've - if I could've kept playing a long time there, I would've played 'til the wheels fell off."
When a guy who grew up the son of an NFL Hall of Famer, who played in three different cities across his NFL career, and who had a brother also playing in the NFL, is that definitive in explaining why Philly is so singularly great? That's just awesome.
And Long really hit the nail on the head here, because Philly is a very particular place. It's why the sports fans, and the residents in general, are so passionate about it being the best city to live in: when you're here, and when you buy into what we're about, we're going to love you right back because we just want Philly to shine.
Long showed up and immediately worked his tail off and showed the fans that he was in it with us. That - not the Keenum arm deflection, not the Lombardi trophy - is why he was loved here. It's why Long said the Dog Mask holds such a big place in his heart.
Shout out to Chris Long for understanding Philadelphia and its sports fans. We get a bad rap from outsiders, but those who play here and pay attention know why it truly is the best sports city anywhere.
Long is going to be in town for the Eagles' intimidating Week 4 matchup against the Chiefs on Oct. 3, hosting a tailgate party in the Navy Yard featuring a live edition of Long's Green Light podcast, interviews with members of the Super Bowl LII team - LeGarrette Blount and Brent Celek will be in attendance! - and plenty more.
The event will benefit the Chris Long Foundation and its awesome work to provide clean water to communities in need, and support Philadelphia youth. You can get tickets to the tailgate party at this link.
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