Friday, September 20, 2013

Kansas City Chiefs 26 at Philadelphia Eagles 16 - September 19, 2013


The third week of the 2013 NFL Road Trip would take place entirely in the great state of Pennsylvania, with both the Eagles and Steelers hosting night games against teams from the other conference. Thursday's tilt featured the return of Andy Reid, who had coached the Eagles for 14 seasons before being fired on New Year's Eve after a disastrous 4-12 season. His Kansas City Chiefs were 2-0 while Philadelphia was 1-1, losing at home to San Diego after that high-powered win over Washington in the Monday-night opener.

Before the game, I grabbed dinner at Chickie's and Pete's, a Philadelphia icon a few blocks from the stadium complex. Their crab fries are great, but you'll need a buddy to finish off a basket of them.



The Eagles kindly granted me a media credential, which allowed me to park close to the stadium. The picture above is from parking lot D, where a number of tailgaters were also congregating.



I entered the stadium through the media entrance and soon found myself in the club area. It was rather deserted over 2 hours before game time.



Without much to see here, I made my way to the stadium proper and did the obligatory tour. There was a fan plaza on the north end with a number of attractions, games, and food and drink stands. Most fans were here as it was still relatively warm and bright as the sun set. It was Donovan McNabb night and there was large #5 inflatable jersey on the plaza that was a popular snap.



One of the additions to the Linc are the wind turbines above each end of the stadium. These are pretty cool to look at but are also helping the stadium generate some of its own energy. You can see them at the top of the photo below.





I re-entered the stadium and took the normal photos from a variety of viewpoints.











The Eagles have banners celebrating their titles in the center of the east upper bowl, along with the seats painted to resemble an eagle. The picture below isn't very good, you can see it better in the picture above.



Of course, the now mandatory panorama shot.



With game time approaching, I took my seat in the press box, which afforded a view from the corner, above the tunnel from which the Eagles appeared (below). It was my first visit to an NFL press box and I was surprised as the entire area was soundproofed, so the crowd was barely heard. With football crowds much louder and more profane than those in other sports, and the press box surrounded by seats, this makes sense, but it does take away from the enjoyment of the game. When Andy Reid walked out and was introduced, the fans applauded but I didn't hear the extent of it.



At halftime, I left the press box to meet up with fellow road tripper Gary from Royalty Tours, who was sitting in the club section. Donovan McNabb spoke on the field and they unveiled his retired number. I did not have a good angle from where I was standing as you can tell below.



During the third quarter, there was a major fight in the club section, not surprising as Philly fans are notorious for getting drunk and violent. As the fourth quarter started, I headed down to the 100 level to meet up with Philadelphia resident and yet another sports traveler, Andrew Van Cleve, who was sitting in one end zone. Avoid row 6 (and probably a couple of rows above and below) here as the bottom of the goalposts blocks your view down the field.



The game was a tough one for Philadelphia, who committed 5 turnovers and struggled on offense for most of the night. The Kansas City defense was led by Justin Houston, who had 3.5 sacks and 2 recovered fumbles. That's him (#50) below diving at Michael Vick who barely got the pass away.



The Kansas City offense was much better at holding on to the ball, yielding nary a turnover for their third consecutive game. That's QB Alex Smith (#11) below, handing off to #25 Jamaal Charles, a common play for the Chiefs on the evening.



The final is below. Again a low scoring Thursday game, but at least I stayed dry at this one.



Notes

These Thursday games are simply a bad idea. Players don't have time to prepare and offenses are sloppy. In 2012, there were 13 short-week games that averaged 37.8 points compared to 45.9 for other games. Of course, it is a small sample size, but the trend continues this season. For me though, Thursday games are the only way I can complete the trip, so I'll just have to bite the bullet.

The Eagles have not had a drive longer than 3:58 this season. That means that their defense is on the field much more than they need to be and they will become more and more tired as the season progresses. Chip Kelly's high-octane offense needs to be adjusted for the longer NFL season lest he have no defense by December.

Speaking of the blur offense, the Chiefs faked several injuries during an Eagles' late drive to stop the clock and get some rest. Although within the rules, this is poor sportsmanship. The Chiefs will suffer the wrath of the football gods, and the NFL will doubtless be introducing new rules to prevent teams from doing the same in the future.

Citizens Bank Park and the Wells Fargo Center are also part of the stadium complex. That's the latter below, home of the Flyers and Sixers.



Next Up

Pittsburgh! The Pirates are in town this weekend in a meaningful September series, so I will try to check out a game there before Sunday night's Steelers vs Bears match. Check back Monday for a complete recap.

Best,

Sean




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