Immediately after Austin Collie was hit by Kurt Coleman and a penalty was called on the Eagles in the second quarter of yesterday's game, fans loudly booed the officials for the call. The penalty was just one example of an NFL mandate gone too far. Perhaps the play should have even been ruled a fumble, which would have given the Eagles the ball. Instead, the Colts were awarded a first down, and scored a touchdown just a few plays later.
Chris Chase of Yahoo's football blog, Shutdown Corner, didn't like the boos. Not at all.
Philadelphia Eagles fans are always complaining that their reputation as the most boorish fans in football is unjust and that a few unfortunate incidents over the past few decades have been blown out of proportion by the media. We're passionate, they claim, not impertinent.
But then a small faction of these same fans go out and cascade boos upon a field as a knocked-out opponent lies motionless on it, unintentionally reinforcing the stereotype they claim to be false.
That's not the issue though. The issue is that some Eagles fans, given time to calm down from the initial displeasure with the call, continued to boo even as Collie lay still on the ground. He was out cold. He wasn't moving. And many idiots continued their complaints about the call, as if an automatic first down forPeyton Manning(notes) was infinitely more important than the immediate health of a man on the field.
Without knowing the timing of the replays and how clear it was to those in attendance that Collie may have very well been paralyzed, it is hard to pass judgement on the boos, but CBS cameras showed Collie lying motionless on the turf, with arms at a 90 degree angle and crimped fingers. I, for one, thought he might never move again and was rather shocked by the immediate reaction I was hearing on TV and seeing on Twitter. Was it a bad call? Absolutely. Terrible, in fact (and we'll have more on that later). However, my first reaction as an Eagles fan and human being was, "oh my God, that guy just broke his neck." I thought it was a little insensitive to bitch about a penalty, as horrible as it was.
But that wasn't even the biggest issue.
The reaction of some of the Eagles players, specifically Asante Samuel, was uncalled for. Watch Samuel at the 1:20 mark of this video, a full :70 seconds after the initial contact and flag. It had to be clear to those on the field that Collie was in serious trouble. However, upon seeing the replay, Samuel almost jumps into one of the trainers tending to Collie. That is not cool.
Sheil Kapadia notes that Juqua Parker did try to quiet fans down after realizing how badly Collie was injured, but that still doesn't excuse the reaction of Samuel and some other players.
Now, turning attention to the comments from Chase…
While his argument has merit and he acknowledged that the boos certainly weren't directed at Collie, he makes the mistake far too many members of the national media make: he singles out Philadelphia. Would this have ever been written if it happened in New Orleans? I says no.
Were some of the players out of line in their reactions? I think so. However, fans in attendance may have had the worst view of all, not benefiting from the extreme closeups we are given at home, or the proximity to the situation that the players had. From speaking to several people who were at the game and seeing the initial reaction from people in the press box, it seems as if it wasn't immediately obvious to those at the stadium just how serious the injury could have been. But since this is Philadelphia, one cascade of errant boos is just enough to sully our already poor reputation.
And Yahoo was first in line to throw a punch.
What are your thoughts?