Need for noise
Reid wants Veterans Stadium to be rocking
Updated: Wednesday December 27, 2000 11:27 AM
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Andy Reid has walked through the tunnel at Veterans Stadium wearing enemy colors. He wants the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to get the same reception.
In his second season as head coach, Reid will be coaching his first playoff game when the Philadelphia Eagles play the Bucs in the last of this weekend's wild-card games on Sunday.
Despite having a better record, the Eagles (11-5) are 2 1/2-point underdogs against Tampa (10-6). The Bucs were less than five minutes from the Super Bowl last January when Kurt Warner's 30-yard touchdown pass to Ricky Proehl gave the St. Louis Rams an 11-6 victory in the NFC championship game.
The Eagles are making their first playoff appearance in four years and Reid knows they'll need every bit of the home-field advantage.
"I welcome the city out to fill the Vet and greet the Buccaneers with a nice Philadelphia welcome," Reid said Tuesday.
The coach had an opportunity to bond with some of the fans Tuesday morning as hundreds lined up outside the stadium to purchase tickets for the game. Reid went out, shook a few hands and offered some advice.
"It was wild. They had the trash cans lit on fire and they were ready to go," Reid said. "I told them, 'Don't peak too early, though. You have to perfect your peak and that's Sunday.'"
Reid, a former assistant with Green Bay, knows what it's like when a sellout crowd of 65,352 rabid fans gets riled up at the Vet. He also knows how it sounds when 30 or so fans boo at the draft like they did when the Eagles selected Donovan McNabb with the No. 2 pick last year.
"It's loud and it stays loud," Reid said. "In most stadiums you come in, fans can't maintain peak noise level. This group here, they can maintain it. It's an echo out there. The other teams are very aware of it.
"I've been on the other side of that where I came in here and it was something. When you come out there are bodies hanging out over trying to rip your ears off. That can be a little intimidating. It's a different atmosphere."
Tampa has never won a game (0-19) when the temperature at kickoff was 40 or below, and it figures to be cold in Philadelphia for a 4:15 start on New Year's Eve. Reid doesn't think the weather will affect the Bucs as much as the fans could.
"You don't worry about that," Reid said. "They'll be fine with it. I think they've played some really good teams in cold weather and that's how it ends up."
Free safety Brian Dawkins agrees that the weather factor may be a bit overrated.
"I don't think that's why they were losing those games," Dawkins said. "It's not like they were playing sorry teams in cold weather. They were playing good teams."
Tampa beat the Eagles 19-5 and sacked Donovan McNabb six times in his debut on Sept. 19, 1999. McNabb, the offensive line and the rest of the team are vastly improved. The Bucs have made changes in personnel, but their style isn't much different.
"They don't do a lot of things, but the things they do, they do very well," Reid said.