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Original Issue

Chilly Philly

The least welcoming town in the NFL

AFTER THEIR Oct. 21 win in Philadelphia, the Bears were especially proud of having overcome what they said was a decided lack of brotherly love from the locals. "Terrible room service, and the food was terrible at the hotel," said Bears receiver Muhsin Muhammad. "They did just about everything... to make the trip unpleasant."

MUHAMMAD SHOULDN'T have been surprised. While examples of inhospitableness come out of many NFL cities—fire alarms going off in the visiting team's hotel in Detroit; New York cabbies allegedly leading Chiefs players on circuitous rides; cold showers for the visitors in Chicago—Philadelphia stands out as the league's least welcoming town. "We played there in the playoffs in 2004, and I got calls from 12 o'clock until 6 a.m. every hour," says Packers cornerback Al Harris. "I called downstairs and said, 'Can you guys please not let any calls through to my room.' They said 'Yes, sir, Mr. Harris.' Then five minutes later...."

SOME PLAYERS say the poor treatment extends to the Lincoln Financial Field locker room. "They give you these awkward-height stools," says the Panthers' 6' 4" tackle Jordan Gross, who played in Philly last year. "Instead of a soft chair you've got a stool where your toes just touch." At least that's not as dangerous as the streets. During the Redskins' visit to Philadelphia this year, says end Phillip Daniels, "Fans threw stuff—maybe golf balls or rocks—at our bus." After the Redskins won 20--12, Eagles supporters gave them the finger. "[Philadelphia]," says Washington's Ethan Albright, "is the only place where six-year-olds flip us off and their dads pat their backs to say 'good job.'"

THE EAGLES host the Giants (on Sunday) and the Bills (Dec. 30), and visiting players could learn from Jets fullback Daniel Barnes, who on a trip to Philadelphia went out to eat with friends who weren't players. "I'm like, 'Guys you order my food for me,' " Barnes says. "I wasn't going to let [the waitstaff] know I was ordering. I've heard stories."

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