And no unsuspecting opposing player will be cheered as he lies motionless on the ground the way Michael Irvin was back in 1999, an injury that effectively ended his Hall of Fame career.
Then again, there won’t be any of those E-A-G-L-E-S! chants reverberating around Lincoln Financial Field, serving as a rallying cry for the home team.
Nor will there be the kind of individual salutes like “Duuuuuce!” when former star running back Duce Staley, now assistant head coach and official team video narrator was on the loose two decades ago.
Yes, those sounds of silence will certainly be different when the Birds take the field in 2020. And you can be sure they know it.
“It’s going to be kind of eerie when you step out into a stadium right at kickoff because the crowd, the energy, the electricity in the stadium is something that we all feed off of,” said Doug Pederson, himself once the object of fan derision before he discovered the magic formula that brought Philadelphia its first Super Bowl in 2018. This is part of our game, part of our sport.
“It’s the emotion of playing football, playing a gladiator-type sport where there’s a lot of collisions and guys get excited for that. They get energized for that.
“It’s just a natural feeling to have the fans.”
Of course, nothing seems natural these days. So, despite pleading with City officials to modify their policy against large public gatherings, the Linc will remain shut to the public for now.
“We have been trying very, very hard to come up with solutions that are safe and innovative in time for the beginning of the season,” said owner Jeffrey Lurie shortly after learning those efforts had been in vain. “We’ve had a lot of really creative and constructive conversations with the State and the City. That continues on a daily and weekly basis.
“The first thing is we love our fans and we know we’ve got a big home field advantage. We even have an away field advantage in places like Washington, Los Angeles, Miami.”
Indeed, Eagles fans are notorious for taking their midnight green and white act on the road, often being boisterous enough to somewhat mute the home team. But that won’t be a factor this season, either, though some teams will allow a percentage of fans into their buildings.
Whatever home-field “advantage” that may constitute it won’t come close to matching what it’s been like when visiting teams would come to town. “The Philly fans are a different breed,” said former Cowboy Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith in 1992. “The fans in Washington get on us, the fans in New York get on us, but not like Philly.
“I mean, they’re yelling stuff at us while we’re still on the bus.”
Sadly, not in 2020, which may give Carson Wentz a reprieve if he throws a couple of interceptions or fumbles the ball away like he did in their disastrous 27-17 come-from-ahead opening game collapse in Washington, but will still require an adjustment. “It would be really weird, I’ll tell you that,” Wentz told NBC Sports Philadelphia back in May, long before that seeming fantasy became a reality. “We’re hoping and praying that’s not the case.
“Because we feel we have the best fans in football and we have quite the home-field advantage when we play in front of them.
“So hopefully they’ll be right out there with us this fall.”
Well, they will, sort of. The Eagles, just as the Phillies did, are offering fans a chance to have game day likenesses of themselves in the form of cutouts. For a hundred bucks, your painted green face and No. 20 Brian Dawkins’ jersey might be right on the 50-yard line at the Linc, which might seem like a good deal until you realize the Phils only charged $40 to their faithful fans.
The good thing is all proceeds go to charity. The bad thing is, even with piped-in noise and other technological theatrics it simply won’t be the same.
“The team that’s able to kind of create its own energy, bring its own juice, is going to be the team that probably has more success,” predicted Wentz’s favorite target, tight end Zach Ertz. “because normally it’s so easy to feed off the crowd.
“There’s no one else to bring it. We’ve got to bring it ourselves.”
While they’re at it maybe they can even bring their own snowballs, too.