Philadelphia Police Insist No Tear Gas Was Used Amid Super Bowl Chaos, Contradicting Earlier Report

Plus: Can we please talk about the awful Super Bowl commercials for a second?

philadelphia police stand watch over eagles fans after the team's crushing loss in the super bowl

Philadelphia police stand watch over Philadelphia Eagles fans after the team’s crushing loss in the Super Bowl (Getty Images)

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Philadelphia Police Call B.S. On Media Report that Cops Used Tear Gas On Eagles Fans After Super Bowl Loss

UPDATE: Shortly after we published this story, calling the Daily Mail’s reporting into question, the outlet change its story to read: “Initial reports said that cops used tear gas to deter any further disruptions, but that turned out not to be the case.” (The initial “reports” being their own.)


After Sunday night’s crushing Super Bowl loss, Philadelphia Eagles fans did what Philadelphia Eagles fans do: They took to Broad Street. Some reportedly threw bottles. Some set off fireworks. Naturally, they couldn’t resist scaling SEPTA bus-stop shelters. And there were some tussles here and there.

News of this misbehavior has, of course, made it around the world, with one of the top stories on the hugely trafficked Drudge Report today being: “Furious Philly Fans March on City Hall; Sprayed By Cops.” That link takes you to a Daily Mail story that plainly states that police used tear gas on the unruly crowd. That’s a pretty major accusation to make, especially considering the recent use of tear gas on protesters in the city following the 2020 murder of George Floyd. But the Philadelphia Police Department contradicts the Daily Mail report, and on Monday morning a spokesperson for PPD told Philly Mag that police did not use tear gas or any similar substance.

It’s unclear if the Daily Mail actually had a reporter on the ground for their story. They ran a series of photos, one of which shows white clouds in the air surrounding Eagles fans, and that photo bears the caption: “Cops are currently using tear gas to deter any further disruptions, after a crushing defeat highlighted by game-altering penalties.” But here’s the thing about that photo: The people in it appear to be in zero distress. One is smoking something. People are looking at their phones. No one is covering their mouths or eyes or attempting to avoid the supposed tear gas in any way.

My guess? Remnants of fireworks being set off.

I’ve yet to hear from the Daily Mail about their questionable report.

Speaking of Bad Behavior After the Super Bowl

In terms of police activity, they say they made just two arrests, for unspecified misdemeanors. Eleven people were given code violation notices (aka CVNs, just a ticket, basically) for disorderly conduct. And police say a cop was assaulted, but no arrest has been made at this time. Not too bad, considering how angry many people were.

The Only Thing Worse Than the Outcome: The Super Bowl Commercials

I know, I know. Some of you thought I was going to say that the only thing worse than the outcome of the Super Bowl was the Super Bowl halftime performance featuring Rihanna. But, no. I mostly enjoyed her performance, and I’m laughing at the people who are going on and on about how a pregnant woman shouldn’t have been flying around in the air on wobbly platforms or how they found the costumes of her dancers confounding. That said, I do think the Super Bowl halftime shows work better when there are some guest artists, as opposed to it just being one artist in your face the whole time.

Anyway, the only thing worse than the outcome of the Super Bowl were those Super Bowl commercials. Jeez. Usually, there are a bunch of great or at least memorable Super Bowl commercials to talk about. But not this time. Oh, don’t get me wrong, there were a few (yes, the Tubi one was kinda genius), but we’re clearly far, far removed from the Golden Age of Super Bowl Commercials.

But the Super Bowl Wasn’t All Bad

My colleague Laura Swartz with a more heartwarming (read: less jaded) take on last night’s Super Bowl activities in Philadelphia.

Political Movements

Mayoral candidate Jeff Brown says those who have accused him of coming off as a “white savior” are just trying to be divisive.