North Dakota Reporter Comes to Philly, Eagles Fans Offer Him Weed
Carson Wentz grew up in Bismarck, North Dakota, and starred at North Dakota State University. In a state without a pro team, Wentz’s debut yesterday was a pretty big deal: A local TV station covered fans cheering for him at a local bar, and the president of North Dakota State happened to be there.
North Dakota media outlets also sent reporters to the game. Fargo media personality Mike McFeely traveled to Philadelphia to report on Wentz’s debut. He covered the game and talked to Wentz and Wentz’s dad. But he also did a story about Philly fans, wandering the Lincoln Financial Field parking lot before the Stony Brook-Temple game on Saturday to get the mood of the city.
Being a journalist in this city for half my life, I’ve done the “talk to tailgating fans in the parking lot” story about 10 times. It’s awful. People don’t want to talk at all or want to talk too much. They are drunk. They might even be angry and amped up for the game. But McFeely did a pretty good job with it! His story, “Eagles blue-collar fans (expletive) love QB Wentz,” has some great moments:
“Are you an Eagles fan?”
To which the young man, who was taking a drag off something that could now easily be identified as something other than a tobacco cigarette, replied: “What the (expletive) you think? We’re in Philadelphia.”
Welcome to Philly.
The reporter explained he was from a North Dakota newspaper and wanted to talk about Wentz, the former North Dakota State quarterback who will make his first NFL start with the Eagles on Sunday.
“You came all the way from North Dakota?” responded the Eagles fan. “Cool. But when you ask a couple guys drinking beer and smoking weed if they’re Eagles fans in Philadelphia, what do you expect?”
“You wanna hit?”
Your reporter declined and, always mindful of local ordinances, asked if it was legal in Pennsylvania.
“It’s decriminalized in Philadelphia. It’s like a hundred-dollar fine if you get caught. (Expletive). It’s worth it.”
Not wanting to be rude, the reporter asked for the Eagles fan’s name.
“My name is Joe. I’m from Jersey. I don’t have a last name.”
The whole story is worth a read. McFeely said he didn’t go into the Linc parking lot expecting to find people smoking weed and cursing, but once he did, he had to quote them.
“I almost felt bad because they were pretty stereotypical,” he tells Philadelphia magazine. “And they have the accent that I don’t have, being from North Dakota. I thought, ‘This is almost too easy, but you gotta do it.’ And I apparently asked the dumbest question in the world, if they were Eagles fans … My wife said it was a stupid question, too.”
After surviving the Linc parking lot, he went to Fox & Hound at 15th and Spruce. There, he did more interviews — but he ended up acting as a therapist to an Eagles fan as well: “This Eagles fan … looked me in the eye and said: ‘Do you believe in your heart in Carson Wentz?’ I said I do, I covered him at ND State and he seems like a good young man and it seems like he’ll be great.”
McFeely talked to Phillymag today while he was at Cheesesteak Vegas, waiting for to get lunch before his flight out of Philly. He had been here in 2014 — when the Frozen Four was in Philadelphia — and said he was a big fan of the city.
“What a great town,” he says. “My God, just to see the handful of historical sites I’ve been able to see, and the people are so friendly.” Friendly! After the way out-of-town journalists wrote about Philadelphia during the Democratic National Convention, it’s refreshing to see a reporter say we’re pretty nice. Then again, we did offer him weed.
“I’m walking down the street,” McFeely says, “there all kinds of ethnic stores and food markets. North Dakota’s very homogenous, very white, very Scandinavian. For a rube from North Dakota to come here to see all this ethnicity and diversity and talk to all of these people, it’s just awesome.”
He caught some flak on Twitter for going to Fox & Hound (a chain!) to find Eagles fans, though that place really isn’t a bad spot if you want to watch every NFL game at once on a Sunday. People also told him he went to the wrong cheesesteak spot. (The report also fell back on the “blue collar fans” cliché, but since it actually quoted blue-collar fans, I think it’s acceptable.) But what do you want, he says — he’s a tourist.
“When people go to Fargo, because of the movie Fargo, they have a replica wood-chipper at the tourist convention and visitors building,” he says. [Editor’s note: Holy (expletive).] “And so people from out of town go visit the thing. But we don’t go to the wood-chipper. I think for a hick from Fargo coming to Philadelphia, these seem like good places to go.”
We’ll allow it. But an open offer to anyone visiting from North Dakota for an Eagles game this year: Drop me a line, and I’ll guide you to Oscar’s Tavern, Steve’s Prince of Steaks, and the plaza across from City Hall where everyone smokes weed. You’ll get the full Philly experience.