Lincoln Financial Field – Philadelphia Eagles
Fly Eagles Fly
Until 2003, the Philadelphia Eagles never had a stadium to call their own. The Eagles did play basically alone for five years in the 1930’s and 1940’s at the stadium which would later be named John F. Kennedy Stadium, but most of the time they used the venues of the Phillies, the old Philadelphia Athletics and even the University of Pennsylvania Quakers.
The Baker Bowl and Connie Mack Stadium were subpar stadiums, especially by the time the Eagles got to play at each. The 1971 opening of Veterans Stadium, shared with the Phillies, gave the team their first modern stadium, but one loved by almost no one. It also showed little life, except for the rat and mouse population who lived in its lower sections. It also deteriorated fast and needed to be replaced desperately, and that is why Lincoln Financial Field was built in 2003
The stadium is architecturally not like most new stadiums. It does not use soft brick colors and other ï¿½warmï¿½ tones in its design. Instead, it uses sleek steel, glass facades and darker surfaces to make a unique statement. It’s both harsh to the eye and welcoming, all at the same time. The stadium also hulks over nearby Interstate I-95.
The team added 14 micro-turbines to the stadium in recent years. They add a unique look to the stadium, as well as providing sustainable energy for the complex. The spinning blades look like something out of Game of Thrones. That only goes to adding to the intimidating look and feel of the stadium.
Food & Beverage 5
For the best food options at The Linc, start in the north end zone plaza, where most fans enter into the stadium. This festive introduction features an area with several unique food carts including Brent Celek’s “Prime Stache,” which serves up a mean cheesesteak ($15). Bassett’s provides several BBQ options, while one spot over is a tent for McNally’s Tavern and their famous “Schmitter” sandwich ($12). To be able to devour this beast, one must hold out from eating at a tailgate. The Schmitter features steak, onions, tomatoes, cheese, grilled salami and a special sauce on a Kaiser roll. This area with the best food is a hike from some seating sections, so it may be best to grab something on your way in.
Inside the actual stadium, there are plenty of concession stands and they are expensive, like their counterparts outside. The choices throughout each concourse level include the requisite items, but they are less varied and disappointingly only a couple items are offered per stand. This is Philadelphia and thankfully several spots sell cheesesteaks. The best choice is getting one from the Tony Luke’s stand ($11) near Section 114. Another sandwich worth trying is the Quick & Carmichael, named after two former wide receivers. The $12 item features either pulled chicken or pulled pork and for $17, the combination of both. There are also some good looking soft pretzels available, which is a Philadelphia favorite, however the one I tried was cold. Of course, Chickie’s & Pete’s sell their famous crab fries ($11) and chicken cutlets ($9).
Miller Lite and Budweiser are the prominent beers sold around the stadium and these are generally $8-$9, depending on the type. Other beers are available, but the local selection is limited. Coca-Cola provides the soda products and a regular is $5. For those that are not looking to drink alcohol, be sure to sign up for the Designated Driver program in the north plaza at ground level for a ticket to receive a free beverage.
Set amongst a backdrop of seemingly endless rows of tailgates, Lincoln Financial Field’s exterior of exposed steel, beams, brick and glass is well designed to represent the character of Philadelphia. Walking towards the stadium from the north, the open corners and upper deck shape almost give the perception of an Eagle flying. Inside, the stadium is so well designed with angled seating sections enhancing the sightlines. The lower deck is at a shallow grade, while the upper deck has more of a steeper pitch and all of the individual Midnight Green seats have backs and cupholders. Though the upper deck is high because of the below club section sandwiched between a layer of suites, the view is not bad at all. Various nooks and crannies give the stadium a non-uniform, unique appearance, while the open corners in the north end help to provide peaks of Center City (Philly’s downtown).
The outer gates open 2.5 hours before kickoff for access to the plaza behind the north end zone. This is a nice area to spend a little time as there is entertainment and live music to go along with the food trucks. The gates to the actual seating bowl open 1.5 hours before the game and once seated, the experience is enhanced by a pair of high-quality video boards at each end zone. The only downfall is the usage of big ads on the sides, which cut down on the picture. For fantasy football junkies, there is a separate board that rolls through player stats and the WiFi in the stadium has recently been enhanced to handle the volume. Those looking to factor in weather, the highest several rows in the sideline 200s are underneath an overhang. The sun will shine brightest on Sections 115-125 and 219-231.
Game atmosphere is tremendous as The Linc is a very loud stadium that can provide a distinct home field advantage (so long as the fans don’t turn on their team). A Rocky themed introduction video is goosebump-inducing and the roar from the opening kick continues into the first possession. After an Eagles touchdown, “Fly Eagles Fly” is sung by pretty much everybody and topped off with a deafening “E-A-G-L-E-S Eagles!” at the end. During halftime, there’s a chance the Eagles Drumline performs and it is definitely worth sticking around for.
The South Philadelphia Sports Complex, which also includes the nearby Wells Fargo Center and Citizens Bank Park, is located far away from the actual city of Philadelphia. To really experience the city, you would need to take a subway ride into center city.
There are some places, albeit limited, close to the stadium. The Xfinity Live entertainment center is across the street, roughly where the old Spectrum was located. It is overpriced and is not really an entertainment center, but a few bars and restaurants together in one building. The star attraction here is the 32-foot screen at the NBC Sports Arena. The Victory Beer Hall is also another fine venue, especially for local brews. A couple of slightly lesser-known options nearby are McFadden’s, located on the first level outside of neighboring Citizens Bank Park and very good Holiday Inn (with a respectable sports bar called, shockingly enough, the Stadium Sports Bar) just past the baseball park.
Famous local sports bar Chickie’s and Pete’s is relatively close on Packard Avenue. There are hundreds of screens and video game options inside. The food is pretty good, too. The Crab Fries are famous here. You can park at Chickie’s and Pete’s for some games and they offer a shuttle bus to the games (“The Taxi Crab”). Just make sure you follow parking rules, as they will be quick to tow you if you don’t.
Some of the best cheesesteaks are located at Tony Luke’s on Oregon Avenue underneath I-95. Don’t fall for the more touristy Pat’s and Geno’s. Tony Luke’s offers more options with much better flavor. Tony Luke’s can get crowded before games, and still gets its share of tourists. For a more neighborly experience, go to Philip’s Steaks at 2234 West Passyunk Avenue. They are located in a safe neighborhood and offer free parking. Philip’s also has a surprisingly good cheeseburger, for a cheesesteak joint. Just remember you have to buy the drinks and fries at a different window than your main entree, which is a strange and unique Philly tradition.
The rest of Philadelphia is available to you a short ride away on the Broad Street subway line. A good suggestion is to try out the dive bar atmosphere of Good Dog Bar & Restaurant (224 S 15th Street), where their Mac and Cheese with Corn Flakes comes with an amazing blueberry cornbread. A few other great options are the charcuterie with cheese, duck pot pie and buffalo shrimp po’ boy.
It has been said that you can tell if the Eagles won or lost by just walking down Broad Street Monday morning as the mood of the city rides on the team. Philadelphia has a supremely passionate fan base that are seen as some of the most loyal, ardent supporters in the league. The city also draws the ire of many when the words “Philadelphia Fans” are uttered. Clearly, they have a bad reputation and the stories have been repeated ad nauseam. While there is no arguing that there are plenty of obnoxious jerks at Eagles games who act like idiots, this is no different than what happens at many NFL games across the country. Additionally, these people at the games are in the significant minority. In terms of attending a game at The Linc wearing the jersey of the visiting team, you may get heckled, but as long as you are respectful, it is highly unlikely to run into any problems. I attended the game where the Eagles played the Saints and of the 30-40 people I saw wearing the Black & Gold, none of them were derided. Now, there is an exception as attending a division game rooting for the Cowboys, Giants or Redskins may not be the best idea.
Eagles fans fill their stadium every Sunday and consistently rank in the Top 8 for NFL attendance by % of capacity. All the more impressive is the lack of empty seats at a game, in a day and age where it is easy to spot stadiums with open areas during a session of NFL RedZone. The crowd in Philadelphia turns The Linc into a very loud place and though they are quick to boo and get mad at their team, it is all because they care so much. That’s way better than sitting in a stadium where everyone is half-watching and playing on their phone.
The sports complex is located right off of I-95, with massive parking lots in the area. Even with big crowds, there should be no problem with access. Parking will not be cheap, but it will be convenient, as there are over 6,000 spaces available throughout eight lots at shockingly high price of $35 a piece.
If using public transportation, you will likely find yourself using the only corporate-sponsored subway station that I know of, the AT&T; station of the Broad Street Line.
Return on Investment 4
Attending a Philadelphia Eagles game is a very costly venture and while the entire NFL is expensive for the fan, it is even more so here. The $40 parking charge is hard to fathom and tickets range from $75 to $130. However, seats are snagged so fast, that it is likely fans need to use the secondary market and tickets there start at $100. There are ways to save money though and using mass transit alone can save over $30. There are also standing room tickets which cost just $55. Despite the high prices, an Eagles game is quite an experience and this is a must visit for football fans.
It is hard not to notice the funky spinning blades on top of the stadium ends. These scary-looking things are actually wind turbines and they are a part of what makes Philadelphia a leader in the Green Energy initiative. Solar panels have recently been installed on the outside of the stadium as well and the efforts the team has gone through to achieve renewable energy should be commended.
In the plaza area near the north end zone, there is a building that leads to escalator access for suite holders. The entrance area is open to all fans and this section is a great spot that pays homage to team history. Spend some time here before the game to check out the team’s hall of fame, timeline and multiple murals. Also, be sure to check out the banners hanging from the rafters of the stadium.
A $125 million renovation project paid by the team and league not only upgraded the stadium, but added some nice personal touches. Among the additions: historical murals, an expanded team store, upgraded WiFi and a connecting bridge in the northeast corner of the stadium.
Finally, one more point for “Fly Eagles Fly.” It is very catchy!
Lincoln Financial Field does many things, all of them very well. Most importantly, it gives the Eagles and their fans a place of their own for the first time in the long history of the franchise. It also gives Philadelphia a home-field advantage that can only help the long-term health of the team. A sports fan will enjoy themselves at Lincoln Financial Field, as finally Philadelphia football has a place to be proud of.
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