The national caricature of Eagles fans as angry, loudmouth curmudgeons is being challenged by a touching video shared on Facebook of one Eagles fan helping another spread his father's ashes at Lincoln Financial Field.
After the Eagles' 18-12 win over the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday night, Stephen DePaul waited for the crowd to clear before he pulled out a bag containing the ashes of his father, Louis, who died in February, not long after the team's Super Bowl win. Louis DePaul was a lifelong Eagles fan and had been a season-ticket holder since 1963, and his son thought it would be a fitting tribute to scatter the remains on the seat that brought his father so much joy (and misery).
The move caught the attention of Ryan Banks, who was seated one row in front of the family during Thursday's game. DePaul explained the backstory to Banks, and said he wanted to spread his father's ashes on the field but was afraid of getting in trouble.
"We didn't want him to get in trouble because we didn't want the Eagles to take his tickets away," said DePaul's sister Regina, who also attended the game.
"I have a son and a daughter, and his story just resonated with me," Banks said. "And I told him he was way too close not to let his father's ashes touch the field."
So Banks took the ashes and made his way closer to the end zone, where Eagles security told him he wasn't allowed onto the field to spread the remains. But during the conversation, a security guard looked away for a split second, allowing Banks to quickly dump the bag over the barrier and onto the field.
"I didn't want to disrespect you, I just wanted to respect his father," Banks told the security guard afterward."That's all I wanted to do. It's love, right there. It's love. We're Eagles fans; we're real fans."
Banks shared a video of the moment on Facebook, where it quickly went garnered attention. As of Monday, the video had more than 16,000 views.
"We were trying to be all low-key about this and never expected it to get the attention that it got," DePaul said. "But it's great for my dad, because he'll always be here now."
It's not the first time Eagles fans have turned up to events with the ashes of their loved ones. Several fans brought their relatives' remains to scatter during the Eagles' Super Bowl parade in February. One fan even traveled from Florida to scatter his grandfather's ashes along the parade route.