Philly Frustration, 1968: 'The Day That They Were All Against Everything'
Mention the Philadelphia Eagles and last year's Super Bowl win comes to mind. But so does that time fans booed and pelted Santa Claus with snow balls.
It happened 50 years ago on Saturday. The game on Dec. 15, 1968 between the Eagles and the Minnesota Vikings wasn't memorable, but what happened at halftime was.
The basic story has been repeated over the decades, but this is what it boils down to. The Eagles were having a bad season. This game wasn't going well, either, so the fans held on to their anger for the halftime show.
"Poor, little, old Santa Claus got bombarded while my dad and I sat in the stands with our hands over our heads," remembers Gail Wehmeyer, an Eagles fan and season ticket holder since 1961.
Wehmeyer says fans behind her didn't have great aim. So she got pelted, too.
The man in the suit was 20-year-old Frank Olivo. He's since died, but he spoke about that day with ESPN seven years ago.
"I remember watching a fellow make a snowball and throw it at me," Olivo told ESPN. "And I just walked up to him, you know, at the bottom of the wall there. And I said, you're not getting anything for Christmas."
That attitude is one Philadelphians can respect. Over the past five decades, Olivo became a minor hero. Local news outlets ran feature-length obituaries when he died in 2015.
On Philadelphia streets now, a few people say they're a little ashamed that fans gave Santa a hard time 50 years ago. But outside a popular cheese steak restaurant before last Sunday's loss to the Dallas Cowboys, fans like Zane Major remained unapologetic.
"It's part of our reputation of no nonsense," Major says. "We don't even respect Santa Claus. We respect the win — the Eagles to win. That's what — all we want for Christmas. If he's not bringing that, then go away Santa Claus — snowballs coming."
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