Things look a little weird in Philly sports Twitter right now. Anyone who turns their mention of the Eagles into a hashtag — reporters, broadcasters, players, fans — gets a little red, blue, and white emoji appended to it.
Twitter gave all NFL teams designated hashtag emojis back in 2016. But this is not the familiar midnight green eagle’s eye.
It’s the flag of Serbia.
Why is it showing up all of a sudden? Serbia, an Eastern European nation of 7 million people, is fielding a team in the FIFA World Cup. That team’s nickname? Yep, “the Eagles.”
The hashtag dissonance began mid-November. When some Philadelphia sports fans first saw it, they thought it was a potential “Musk Twitter bug” — aka one of many glitches that have hit the social media platform since its new owner took over and began firing en masse the engineers that keep it running.
Turns out it’s not a bug, but a feature.
The Balkan nation has for centuries had a tricolor flag with large, horizontal bands of red, blue, and white. After the breakup of Yugoslavia, when Serbia became an independent republic in 2004, the country added a coat of arms to the design.
If you look closely, you’ll find the coat of arms features a double-headed heraldic eagle, a design that’s represented Serbia since medieval times.
The Serbian soccer team’s account has been telling anyone who’ll listen.
“Twitter gave us the #Eagles hashtag for the World Cup, but Philadelphia Eagles fans and NFL reporters aren’t aware of it yet,” posted @SerbianFooty on Nov. 22.
The Philadelphia Eagles don’t seem to be worried about it, since they have no affiliation with the #Eagles hashtag. The official hashtag, #FlyEaglesFly, continues to show the expected NFL team logo.
The Serbian national soccer team still has a bunch of World Cup to play, so expect the confusion to continue for a while. In solidarity: Go Birds.