Pulse: Sports: Sign Man Revisited

In early April, when the National Football League announced that the Dallas Cowboys, and thus Terrell Owens, would make an appearance at the Linc on October 8th, we had one question: WWJD?

No, not Jesus.

What Would John Do?

For years, Eagles fan John Rodio’s weekly banners at the Vet garnered media attention for their perfect bluntness. “We tried to convey a message for the average fan,” says the 42-year-old landscaper from Hammonton. And since the average Eagles fan usually has much to be pissed about, Rodio came up with some classically terse epithets, such as “LURIE AND BANNER: DUMB AND DUMBER,” about owner Jeffrey Lurie and team president Joe Banner. Rodio’s most famous sign, “THIS IS SAD,” draped in front of his seats during the 1987 strike, earned him a shot in Sports Illustrated.

Rodio, who eventually became known as Sign Man, has been out of the message business since 2003, when Lurie outlawed the long banners Rodio used, a decision Sign Man is still not happy about. “Lurie’s a good owner, but he doesn’t seem to like to hear other opinions,” he speculates.

But if Sign Man were resurrected on October 8th, what would he say about the hated T.O.? Would he go after the wideout’s touchy relationship with Cowboys coach Bill Parcells? His penchant for comparing himself to Jesus? His fondness for wearing tights? “I’d take a shot at him, obviously, maybe something about sit-ups in his driveway,” says Rodio. That sounds like a sign even Lurie would like, maybe.