Giants Coach ‘Wearing Helmet’ After Eagles Fans COVID-19 Brawl

Getty Head coach Joe Judge of the New York Giants.

Let’s get this right out of the way: Eagles fans are the best in football, a passionate and loyal bunch with no match in professional sports. The organization opened Lincoln Financial Field for the first time, adhering to strict COVID-19 guidelines, for Sunday’s game against Baltimore — and, predictably, the national media jumped on any excuse they could find to attack the Philly faithful.

A viral video surfaced on Monday showing an Eagles fan wearing a Carson Wentz jersey scale down 10 rows to pick a fight with a man wearing a Ravens jersey. Since the audio cannot be heard over the stadium noise — Philly had just scored a touchdown and the Eagles’ fight song is blaring — it is unclear what was said prior to punches being thrown. Or which person instigated the throwdown.

Was it warranted? Well, you can be the judge. The point is that no brawls should be happening right now, not amid the novel coronavirus and social distancing. No one involved appears to be wearing a protective mask or face covering either. The Eagles opened up their stadium to a maximum capacity of up to 7,500 fans for the game, in accordance with city and state health officials.

“We have been working very closely with state and local officials, public health experts and the National Football League on a number of scenarios to safely bring Eagles fans back to Lincoln Financial Field,” said Eagles President Don Smolenski. “After many thoughtful and active discussions, we are thrilled to announce that the fan experience will return to Lincoln Financial Field this Sunday.”

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Giants Coach Vows to ‘Wear Helmet’ to Philly This Week

Giants coach Joe Judge is an area native who graduated from Lansdale Catholic High School in suburban Philly. He talks with a bit of a 215 accent and definitely has an edge about him. So when Judge told New York reporters that he would “probably wear a helmet” to Thursday night’s NFC East battle between the Giants and Eagles in his hometown, it was very much tongue in cheek.

“I’ll probably buy a helmet too because my in-laws are already buying batteries,” Judge said, via NJ Advance Media. “To be honest with you, it’s not my first time going back to Philly as an opposing coach. It’s a great city. It has great, passionate fans. It’s an excellent team. It’s obviously a great rivalry. I grew up watching these games.”

That didn’t make it any less funny or controversial. Especially not after he referenced Philly fans throwing batteries, an ode to the infamous J.D. Drew Phillies game from 1999. Hey, to be clear, the worst Eagles fans ever did was “throw” snowballs at a skinny, drunken Santa Claus.

Judge Loves Blue-Collar Hometown

Back to Judge’s Philly upbringing. He told ESPN’s Mike Tirico about his Eagles fandom growing up and how familiar he was with the Eagles-Giants rivalry. Then again, Judge has been here before when he was the special-teams coordinator for the Patriots. That team lost to his hometown Eagles in Super Bowl LII.

“From Philly, they’ll disown you if you’re not an Eagles fan,” Judge told Sports Illustrated in 2017, via ESPN. “I was also a hardcore Notre Dame. Loved Dan Marino. So I also pulled for the Dolphins when I was a kid, but really, I just loved watching Marino throwing the ball. That was a big thing. He’s a Pennsylvania guy, so as a little kid, there was a feeling like he’s closer than he is. And I was a quarterback until I got to college.”

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