So Gary Bettman didn’t exactly receive the friendliest of receptions during the NHL Draft in Philly on Friday. But booing one of the easiest targets in sports isn’t just a Philly thing — it’s a national tradition. Here’s a list of the five most notorious booings to take place in Philadelphia (which means no McNabb on draft day, sorry).
5. Andy Reid and the 2011 Philadelphia Eagles
The “Dream Team” was already considered a flop when the eventual AFC champion New England Patriots rolled into town to administer a post-Thanksgiving beatdown to the Birds, and Lincoln Financial Field was ready to let its anger show.
As the Patriots won, 38-20, on the strength of 3 TDs and 361 passing yards from Tom Brady, the fans unleashed their wrath on the 4-7 Eagles, as chants of “Fire Andy” were picked up by the CBS microphones and broadcast out to the entire country.
It wasn’t just Andy that was a target, though. The fans let backup QB Vince Young and all the players have it with each successive miscue.
Though the Eagles won four of their last five games to finish 8-8, the fans got their wish one year later.
4. Scott Stevens
Eric Lindros isn’t exactly beloved by Flyers fans nowadays, but back in 2000 he was still firmly entrenched in the pantheon of NHL stardom, scoring 59 points in 55 concussion-limited games.
Game 7 of the 1999-2000 Eastern Conference Finals was only Lindros’s second game of the playoffs, and would ultimately be his last, as a devastating hit from the Devils’ Hall of Fame defenseman resulted in another concussion, and left 88 prone on the ice.
As replays of the hit were shown on the First Union Center video board, the boos came … and came … and came.
The legality of the hit is still debated today, but what isn’t up for debate is that the Flyers lost, New Jersey won the Stanley Cup, and Lindros never wore black and orange again.
3. Bud Selig
Who wouldn’t boo Bud Selig if given the chance? After all, we’re talking about a commissioner who threw up his hands and called a tie at the All Star Game, the big league equivalent of taking your ball and going home.
Phillies fans were none too happy with Selig during the 2008 World Series, believing that he had mishandled the turn of events that led to the 6th-inning postponement of Game 5.
And so, when Selig stepped up to the stage to proclaim the Phillies World ‘Effing Champions, the crowd let him hear it:
Selig is sure to hear more boos as he visits all 30 stadiums on his retirement tour this season. Godspeed, Bud.
2. J.D. Drew
Named the second overall pick by the Phillies in the 1997 draft, Drew followed the advice of superagent Scott Boras and refused to sign a contract with the club, choosing instead to toil in independent-league ball and wait for someone else to call his name in 1998.
Drew was ultimately drafted by and signed with the Cardinals, and when the Redbirds came to Veterans Stadium in 1999, he received a less-than-warm welcome.
The batteries may have stopped, but the boos didn’t when Drew returned later in his career, even at tamer Citizens Bank Park.
1. Santa Claus
Number one on this list should be the Michael Irvin incident, but it doesn’t qualify on a technicality: Fans actually cheered the sight of the motionless Cowboys wide receiver. So we’re obligated to give the top spot to one of the most misunderstood incidents in Philly sports history.
We’ll let Santa Claus himself — real name: Frank Olivo — tell the story:
For better or for worse, the Santa Claus incident is forever ingrained in Philly sports culture, and will be tossed around for years to come in comment sections and NFL message boards across the Internet.
Honorable mentions: Sixers fans booing Howard Eskin at Allen Iverson’s number retirement ceremony; Eagles fans booing the referees while Austin Collie laid motionless and concussed following an illegal Kurt Coleman hit; any time David Wright comes to town; Kobe Bryant at the 2002 NBA All Star Game.