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The Legendary Boo Birds
Did Philly fans really boo Santa? The urban legend has come to exemplify the lengths Philadelphia's churlish fans will go to show their displeasure. Unfortunately, this is no myth. During halftime of the final regular season game in December 1968, an Eagles official asked Frank Olivo, a 20-year-old season-ticket holder wearing a Santa costume, to fill in for a hired Santa who was stranded by a snowstorm. A cold shower of snowballs and boos from a crowd of more than 54,000 greeted Olivo as he ran around the end zone while a band played "Here Comes Santa Claus." "When I hit the end zone, and the snowballs started, I was waving my finger at the crowd, saying 'You're not getting anything for Christmas,'" Olivo recalled to the Associated Press. Legendary television sports broadcaster Howard Cosell broadcast the event, and future Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell was in attendance. For years, rumors abounded that the fans were upset because Olivo was drunk and/or because his costume was shabby. Olivo maintains that he was not drunk and most witnesses, including Rendell, believe the fans were venting their frustration at the lowly state of the Eagles, who went 2-12 that year.
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