Christmas marathon tailgating for hardy Eagles fans

For diehard Eagles fans relishing the team’s playoff drive, Monday night’s game against the Oakland Raiders was the way to finish Christmas.

Bitter cold and blustery winds be damned.

“We’ve been through worse than this,” said Paul Rogers, while setting up his tailgating space outside Lincoln Financial Field around 2 p.m. – more than six hours before kickoff. “We were in the blizzard game when we played Detroit.”

Rogers, of Drexel Hill, has had season tickets for 35 years. Even though it’s Christmas, he said he made a deal with his wife that he’d never miss a home game during the regular season or the playoffs.

“I said ‘we’re going down [to the game]. Get the Christmas stuff out of the way,” said Rogers.

At the back of a parking lot near AT&T station, Greg Buchanan and his crew were setting up for Christmas dinner.

On the menu: turkey, pork loin, chili and anything that could be deep-fried.

Buchanan drove from Delaware County early Monday afternoon with his daughter and a couple of friends.

In 23 years, he’s never missed a home game. That made Monday morning a little hectic.

“I cooked breakfast for everyone. Everyone ate. All the little kids opened their gifts. The elves ate well and the reindeer ate well,” said Buchanan,  a brand new Nick Foles jersey peeking thorough the tattered Eagles jean jacket he’s been wearing to game for years.

Rose Cunningham has had season tickets for nearly 20 years. Her family exchanged gifts in Voorhees, N.J. last night so they could start tailgating on time Monday.

“We had a busy morning,” said Cunningham, who is expecting 30 people at her space before kickoff.

At 12-2, the Eagles are already division champs, but a win tonight would give them home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

That should be manageable. The Raiders are just 6-8.

That didn’t stop Steve Cooke from flying with his family from Riverside, California.

“Became a Raider fan when I was seven years old. We beat the Washington Redskins 38-9 in the Superbowl 1984,” said Cooke.

Cooke conceded the wouldn’t be easy, but he said he always wanted to go to a game in Philadelphia.

He’s always heard Philly fans are tough.


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