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On This Date in Sports December 15, 1968 Santa Gets Booed in Philly

In collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com

T’was the end of the season and Franklin Field was covered in snow,

the Philadelphia Eagles didn’t just struggle they blow.

Fans thought they get to draft O.J. Simpson when they were 0-11

but two late wins kept them from heaven.

Frustrated fans watched a 24-17 loss were not in the Christmas Spirit

so, they let Santa hear it.

Boos rained down from fans covered head to toe.

as they were unhappy with what they saw below.

At halftime, Santa came with warm Holiday Greetings,

but those wearing the colors of the Grinch were tired of their team’s beatings

Not caring about being naughty or nice

they pelted ol’ St Nick with snow and ice.

As he left the stadium Santa dashed for his sleigh

He yelled, Fuck You Philly, I hope the Eagles lose every game they play.

In a moment that will live in Philadelphia Eagles lore, fans at Franklin Field boo and throw snowballs at Santa Claus. It was the last game is a miserable 2-12 season for the Eagles. At halftime of a 24-17 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, a substitute Santa was used after the man they hired was a no-show. Fans unhappy with his appearance or feeling like the Grinch began booing and hurling snowballs.

The Philadelphia Eagles had failed from the start of the 1968 season, losing their first 11 games under Coach Joe Kuharich. Frustrated fans began hoping their team would finish winless as they eyed drafting Heisman Trophy winner O.J. Simpson out USC. However, after a 12-0 win over the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving and a 29-17 win over the New Orleans Saints the Eagles had played themselves out of having the top pick in the NFL-AFL Draft.

Heading into the final game of the season at 2-11 were hosting the 7-6 Minnesota Vikings, who needed a win to clinch the Central Division under Coach Bud Grant. It had snowed the night before the game, so the metal bleachers at Franklin Field were covered in snow. The first half was sloppy as the game was tied 7-7 at the half with Gary Ballman catching a five-yard pass from Norm Snead for Philadelphia and Joe Kapp hitting Bill Brown on a 57-yard pass for Minnesota.

The Eagles had a Christmas Pageant at halftime every season, but due to the weather, the plans were scaled back. This included finding a substitute Santa Claus, after the man they had hired called in sick. They would choose a 19-year old fan name Frank Olivio to stand in as he came to the game wearing a Santa suit. As a band played “Here Comes Santa Claus”, Olivio came on to the field with the cheerleaders as fans expressing their displeasure loudly. As Olivio left fans began hurling snowballs in a giant Bah Humbug to the Eagles halftime entertainment.

When the game resumed the Vikings took the lead, with Gene Washinton catching a 30-yard pass from Kapp. The Eagles got a field goal from Sam Baker and trailed 14-10 entering the fourth quarter. Joe Kapp extended the Vikings lead to 21-10 with a two-yard run, the Eagles got within four points as Snead connected with Fred Hill on a 12-yard pass, but the Vikings would add a field goal from Fred Cox to win the game 24-17.

The Eagles would get the third pick in the draft and chose Leroy Keyes of Purdue, who never lived up to expectations. The Eagles would make a coaching change in the off-season as Joe Kuharich was relieved of his duties and replaced by Jerry Williams.

Twas the end of the season, and Franklin Field was covered in snow, the Philadelphia Eagles didn’t just struggle the blow. Once 0-11 fans thought, they get to draft O.J. Simpson but two late wins kept them from heaven. Frustrated fans watch a 24-17 loss were not in the Christmas Spirit so they let Santa hear it. Boos rained down from fans covered wrapped up from head to toe. At halftime, Santa came down to give warm Holiday Greetings, but for fans of wearing the colors of the Grinch, anger was what he was at their meetings. Not caring about being naughty or nice they pelted ol’ St. Nick with snow and ice. As he left the stadium Santa dashed for his sleigh FU Philly and their fans he said, “May they lose every game they play”.