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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Zak DeOssie vividly remembers his first trip to Philadelphia to play the Eagles.
It was late in the 2007 NFL regular season. The New York Giants long snapper walked on the field and took in some of the talk being directed at his team.
His father, Steve, had played for the Giants from 1989-93, so the younger DeOssie knew the Eagles' fans would not hold anything back. They let opponents know how they feel about their team, and your team.
While warming up, DeOssie made eye contact with an Eagles fan in the front row and rest is one of those things he will never forget.
"He says: 'Hey DeOssie, your old man is a bum and so are you,'"
Everyone within earshot laughed , even DeOssie. However, the rookie wasn't going to let it go.
"I said right back to him: 'Your old man is a bum,'" DeOssie said. "He laughed right back and it sort of eased the tension."
While the NFC East game between the Eagles (4-1) and the Giants (3-2) at Lincoln Financial Field will be the main attraction on Sunday night, Giants players know there always will be a sideshow before and after the game with the Eagles' fans.
They will yell things at the players' in warmups, some silly, some harsh. They will throw things at the Giants' team bus and even do things that leave the Giants players shaking their heads.
"I remember driving out of the stadium one time," defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka said. "It was a night game and we were leaving the stadium, coming out of that lot and making the first right turn and there were five or six fights going on the side, on the street. I was a young guy thinking: 'Whoa, we need way more security.'"
Fourth-year linebacker Spencer Paysinger, who will not play on Sunday because of a hamstring injury, said fans threw bottles at the team bus as it was driving away from the stadium one year.
"That's one of the places you can feel the hate," he said. "You can feel the tension between the teams coming through the fans. When we leave, whether we win or lose, those fans are going to be vicious to us. It makes it fun, that much more extra because when we win and they are throwing those bottles, They truly did not want to see us win."
Many of the Giants enjoy the antics of the fans.
"It's always a great atmosphere, especially for a defender," linebacker Jon Beason said. "There is nothing better than going into someone's place, everyone is booing you, the odds are against you, and you stop them. That's the kind of atmosphere you want and their fans do a great job."
Receiver Victor Cruz said the Eagles fans can be relentless. However, he laughs about his first trip there in 2011. No one knew him. That changed after he caught two touchdowns, did a couple salsa dances and tallies 110 yards.
"The most I get there now is: 'No dancing today,'" said Cruz. "Then I proceed to dance as much as possible."
Linebacker Jameel McClain and defensive tackle Mike Patterson have ties to the Eagles fans. McClain was born in Philadelphia and Patterson played for the Eagles and still owns a home there.
"I'm a Philly guy," McClain said. "I know exactly what to expect. I know someone's going to crack a joke at my mom, something."
And she will laugh, McClain said.
Patterson said fans keep asking him when he is coming back.
Offensive tackle Will Beatty said the Eagles fans can be creative.
"As soon as you go out there for the pregame warmups these fans are full go at you," Beatty said. "And some of it is literally funny. You wonder where they come up with it. They really put a lot of research into some of stuff they say."
German-born defense tackle Markus Kuhn enjoys watching the fans in Philadelphia.
"They have nothing on German soccer fans," he said.
NOTES: Paysinger and running back Rashad Jennings (knee) are out for Sunday's game. ...Beason (foot) and DE Robert Ayers (neck spasms) are questionable. Ayers developed his injury after Thursday's practice and did not practice on Friday. ...TE Larry Donnell laughed when asked if he went out to QB Eli Manning to complain about not catching any passes in the win over Atlanta on Sunday. "Yeah, right! Never. Never. Never." ...Coach Tom Coughlin said he was a little disappointed some of his players exchanged a little trash talking with the Eagles this week. ...DE Jason Pierre-Paul was asked about the trash talking and he used a Coughlin quote: "Talk is cheap, play the game." After saying it a second time, he added one other thought: "and we don't like Philly."