Pigskin Poetry: Snowballs at Santa

Updated on December 1, 2019
Mark Tulin profile image

Mark Tulin is an author, poet, and short story writer who lives in Southern California. He writes about a variety of topics.

What Really Happened in Philadelphia?

Perhaps, the most controversial day in Eagles football history was when the fans threw snowballs at Santa Claus in 1968. The Eagles were winning by a score against the Vikings at the half. They would eventually lose the game.

There were several versions of that day.

One story has it that the Eagles were coming off two wins after losing eleven straight, and the fans were angry because they blew their chance at getting O.J. Simpson in the draft by not having the worst record in the NFL. Therefore, snowballs were a way that the fans showed their displeasure.

Another version was a drunken fan went up to Santa and threw a snowball at him and said, “You’re not getting anything for Christmas.”

I tend to like my version the best. It sheds a more favorable light on Eagles fans, whose reputation has greatly suffered since that day. My version is full of poetic license, some factual errors, and a lot of humor tossed in.

Poem: Snowballs at Santa

It was 1968.

The frozen tundra of Franklin Field.

John Facenda was doing play-by-play.

The snow came down in crystal pigskins

as if the football Gods were angry.

The Eagles were losing at halftime.

Down by wasted dreams and hopes.

The fans booed and cursed,

filling their bellies with cheesesteaks

and Pabst Blue Ribbon beer.

In blizzard conditions, we waited for one redeeming play—

Santa’s appearance at halftime.

Instead, an imposter, a skinny raggedy fool

wearing a baggy Santa outfit,

pockets full of empty bottles of Jack Daniels.

That was the ultimate infraction

as evidenced by a collective Eagles groan.

An unsportsmanlike conduct, an ejection from the game.

Give him fifteen! Yelled a man from the bleachers

only to land on the deaf ears of the men in stripes.

They let the Christmas parade carry on.

A drunken Santa rode in the truck,

giving ineffectual ho-ho-ho’s and waves,

no beard or white hair,

no elves or reindeer;

only an empty bag of cheer.

I rolled some snow into a tightly packed ball,

along with countless other fans.

This is for the spirit of Kris Kringle, I yelled

and heaved the snowball onto the blurry

white-out of Christmas.


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    • Mark Tulin profile imageAUTHOR

      Mark Tulin 

      8 months ago from Santa Barbara, California

      You’re welcome, Brenda.

    • Brenda Arledge profile image


      8 months ago from Washington Court House

      Nothing like a drunken Santa to get this crowd going...losing the game was bad enough.

      Nice one Mark!

      I had not heard of this before...thanks for sharing the history.

    • Mark Tulin profile imageAUTHOR

      Mark Tulin 

      8 months ago from Santa Barbara, California

      Thanks, Marlene. I guess my version of history is as good as any. Much peace during the holidays.

    • Mark Tulin profile imageAUTHOR

      Mark Tulin 

      8 months ago from Santa Barbara, California

      Thanks, Tim. One guy whose reputation you can't mess with is Old Saint Nick, that's for sure. How dare he drink beer and whiskey. Everyone knows he only eats milk and homemade cookies around Christmas time.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 

      8 months ago from USA

      I never heard this story before now. Thank you for the history lesson. I truly enjoyed the humor and tie-in of this poem.

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 

      8 months ago from Ohio

      Lol Mark

    • Tim Truzy info4u profile image

      Tim Truzy 

      8 months ago from U.S.A.

      Loved it. Mark, I'm still laughing. I've been absent a few months, but now, I have a little more time. This was funny, and I probably would have thrown snowballs for joy, too. I wondered if Old Saint Nick could have let the Eagles use his reindeer. Maybe the Panthers could borrow them this year. Great poem. Thanks.

    • Mark Tulin profile imageAUTHOR

      Mark Tulin 

      8 months ago from Santa Barbara, California

      Not quite bad santa, but close, Kari.

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 

      8 months ago from Ohio

      I enjoyed this little slice of history. I found your poem humorous and a little sad. What a poor Santa for the fans.

    • Mark Tulin profile imageAUTHOR

      Mark Tulin 

      8 months ago from Santa Barbara, California

      Thank you, John. I did it for the much ridiculed fans. :)

    • Mark Tulin profile imageAUTHOR

      Mark Tulin 

      8 months ago from Santa Barbara, California

      Thanks, Lorna. Such is a philly memory of Christmas.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      8 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Mark, thank you for sharing this little piece of sports history s well as n interesting poem and your version of events. Well done.

    • Lorna Lamon profile image

      Lorna Lamon 

      8 months ago

      Your poem made me smile Mark as I envisaged the Santa imposter which must have been the last straw to the fans. You create a very vivid picture of the event - love the drunken Santa.


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