By Mary Cunningham

You’ve got to hand it to the New York Football Giants, who play within shouting distance of what is perceived as the most uncivilized city in America:

They can’t stop themselves boo-hooing about the prospect of playing in Philly, as they will tonight, and how awful our fans are!


Get over it!

Visiting players at Lincoln Financial Field pretty much hate it because they are treated and greeted poorly. They love it because they thrive in the electric atmosphere.

“The fans can be nasty at times,” said defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins, who has played forand against the Eagles (2011-12). “I remember they made one of the players [Casey Matthews’] fiancé cry up there. I remember some unnecessary comments people made after Coach [Andy] Reid went through that unfortunate situation with his son. It’s a tough place because they can get turned up fast.”

They’ll be cheering their own team one second, then booing them off the field the next. Philly fans demand results quicker and more often than most other markets.

They also get on players more than other NFL cities. It’s not exactly kid friendly, although not many NFL stadiums are these days.

“You hear a lot of X-rated things from the fans up in Philly,” said injured linebacker Devon Kennard, whose indoctrination to Eagles-Giants began last year with a 27-0 drubbing in this spot.

Kennard may not have enjoyed the result, but he enjoyed the atmosphere. It reminded him of his college days at USC. Philly resembled a trip to cross-town rival UCLA or a visit to Notre Dame.

That was a common description used by Giants players to describe what it’s like to play in Philly against the Eagles. It’s similar to playing your college rival because of the raucous atmosphere in the stadium.

And most seem to enjoy it.

“It’s fun,” said linebacker Mark Herzlich, who was born and raised in Wayne, Pa., and played collegiately at Boston College. “If you’ve ever played a big college rivalry game, it’s the closest thing in the NFL to that. Being on the field and people trash talking, to me it’s fun, it’s exciting.”

Most Giants players can relate. They’ve played in hostile environments before. It’s part of the gig. If they couldn’t thrive in that type of environment, they probably wouldn’t be in the NFL.

Rookie Landon Collins has been warned about Philly by some of his veteran teammates, including cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who played with the Eagles in 2011-12.

“I heard it’s crazy,” Collins said. “One of the worst places to play at as a player. I’m excited. I love the hostility.”

He can’t imagine it’s any worse or more intimidating than what he’s seen already. Collins, the Giants second-round pick this year out of Alabama, played in the Southeastern Conference.

Everybody was gunning for Alabama, especially some of their biggest rivals. LSU’s atmosphere was one that was brought up by more than one Giants player.

“The worst place I played in college was LSU. That is not a place to go, especially when Alabama was their rival,” Collins said. “LSU threw bottles at our bus, cursed us out, flicked us off. Every time.

“My friends had beer bottles thrown at them at the stadium during the game, popcorn thrown at them. I was like ‘Wow!’ I’m glad I was on the field.”

Collins has experienced Alabama-LSU, Alabama-Auburn and so on. But he hasn’t experienced Giants-Eagles in Philadelphia. This will be his first taste.

Let it be known, he’s been warned.

“You tell him it’s hostile,” Jenkins said. “It’s a place where you either block out the fans if you’re not into that stuff or you use it as motivation. One of the two.

“But you have to be ready for it.”

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