Football fans are out in full force again Friday for the NFL Draft, and while there are thousands of fans of every team down at the NFL Draft Experience on the Ben Franklin Parkway, Eagles fans outnumber the other fans tenfold. And of those Eagles fans, a ton are sporting Carson Wentz jerseys.
Wentz has taken over this town since being drafted second overall last season, but it’s incredible to see the sheer number of Eagles fans who have chosen to wear 11 on their back over other players on the team. But rather than write “wow, there are a lot of Carson Wentz jerseys down here” I thought I should count them.
Wow, there are a lot of Carson Wentz jersey down here.
The experience went like this: I stood at the entrance of the NFL Draft Experience for somewhere between 15 and 20 minutes Friday afternoon with a notebook, spinning around and counting every Eagles shirt I could spot.
I counted 35 Wentz jerseys. I’m certain I missed a few.
Now, while seeing 35 Wentz jerseys in a sea of what was nearly 100,000 people yesterday sounds minuscule, but in the time I was standing at the entrance — again, for less than 20 minutes — the hundreds of fans that walked by were a mere cross-section of draft experiencers. Of the shirts that passed me by, probably 40 percent were Eagles, and the next highest number was 36 — as in Brian Westbrook. There were a dozen of those.
There were eight Brian Dawkins jerseys I saw, as well as one guy wearing 20 with Eagles on the back, which is just lame. There were eight Reggie White and eight Darren Sproles jerseys as well. Donovan McNabb had one fewer, so that made seven for 5, and Shady McCoy had six.
Suddenly 35 seems like a lot. Again, it was only a few minutes. In the time it took to walk from the entrance to the media tent behind the stage on the Art Museum steps I saw at least three dozen more. Wentz. Wentz. Wentz. It’s truly Wentzlvania at the NFL Draft.
Tyson, a Philly lifer, was wearing a Wentz tank top and said he chose the shirt because he’s at the draft and Wentz was last year’s top draft pick. “He’s good,” Tyson said, “so I thought it could bring us good luck again this year.”
Isaiah, 14, was wearing a Wentz shirsey, and said he chose the starting quarterback for the same reason. “I chose Carson Wentz because this time last year he was drafted as our new quarterback and he’s actually been doing what I like to see. We didn’t have a winning season, but we won and he showed that he knows what he’s doing to lead us somewhere, so, yeah.” Isiah also owns a Fletcher Cox jersey, a Darren Sproles jersey and, he thinks, a Ryan Mathews jersey.
A kid named Zach wearing 11 was not supporting Wentz. He was supporting irony, wearing a Tim Tebow jersey. “I mean, after he was on the team I thought it was kind of crazy, then we went out and saw this was for sale for like 10 bucks, so I got it.” Tweens.
That was the only Tebow jersey I saw. In all, there more than 30 different players represented by Eagles fans, which is incredible.
Donovan, a 16-year-old from Kansas City, was wearing a Zach Ertz jersey. He chose it because he bought it at the shop, yesterday. He has, by his count, seven or eight jerseys, including Jalen Mills, LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, Randall Cunningham and, when he was a small boy, a Donovan McNabb that no longer fits.
When asked why he doesn’t have a Wentz jersey, he said, “Everyone’s got one. I kind of stray away.”
He and his dad, Dez, said Donovan doesn’t have a Wentz jersey yet. Sorry, kid, I just ruined your birthday present.
The two flew to Philly just for the draft. Dez has been a lifelong Eagles fan, but never lived here, rooting first for the Phillies then the Eagles because when he was 5, Philadelphia was the only word he could recognize in the newspaper when his brother looked at the sports section. So he’d look for Philadelphia and hoped they won. And it stuck. Dez was wearing a Dawkins jersey.
Kevin, from Philly, was also wearing Dawk, because his wife got it for him a few years ago. His friend Richard, rocking a bright white Cunningham jersey, had a different reason for wearing his.
“This is the only Eagles jersey they had in the store that was white. I do like Randall Cunningham, don’t get me wrong, I would not have selected this one if it was a Brian Westbrook jersey, but this was the only one that was white.”
There were a ton of random Birds jerseys, from John Ritchie to Andy Harmon to Bobby Hoying. Joe was wearing an autographed Vince Papale jersey. “I’m a huge Eagles fan,” he said. “I own six jerseys – I’ve got Westbrook, Dawkins, McNabb, this one, Jackson. Five. I just like his story. I’m 40 years old and not nearly his age, but I like his story. I like the idea that he went for it, he tried it. I’m kind of a small-town athlete myself. it’s just a neat story.”
Less of a neat story is the number of people wearing personalized jerseys. Like Monica, wearing number 24 with her name on the back, which is still somehow better than wearing 24 with Nnamdi Asomugha. That’s the second time in two days. Still, none are as bad as the guy wearing a number 6 with the name Big Willie.
Someone’s trying too hard. Also, you can’t put Big Willie on a single-digit jersey, man. You’re just asking for ridicule. Also, this isn’t a pun, it’s one of two people wearing former Eagles lineman turned U.S. congressman John Runyan jerseys. Maybe they’re constituents. Or relatives.
Totally arbitrary number of jerseys seen in a few minutes at the NFL Draft Experience
- 35 – Wentz
- 12 – Westbrook
- 8 – Dawkins, White, Sproles
- 7 – McNabb
- 6 – McCoy
- 5 – Ertz
- 4 – Jackson
- 3 – Cox, Murray, Celek, Vick, Matthews
- 2 – Trotter, Runyan, Jenkins
- 1 – Tebow, Eagles, Akers, Harmon, Richie, Asomugah, Babin, Big Willie, Hoying, Jaworski, Owens, Carmichael, Samuel, Kendricks, Darwin, Kielce, Watters, Agholor