BLOOMINGTON — George and Andi Orlowitz arrived in Minnesota this week, having driven from suburban Philadelphia, with one message:
"We're not all (hooligans)."
A lot has been made in Minnesota about the way Vikings fans were treated in Philadelphia at the NFC Championship game two weeks ago. There were videos of people throwing full beers and batteries at Minnesotans, who were harassed physically and verbally for much of the weekend.
Local fans said that stadium security guards encouraged Vikings fans to leave the game early, especially after it became apparent that Minnesota wasn't going to win, and remove their Vikings jersey as they depart, hoping to avoid Eagles fans who might have had too much to drink.
"I saw a couple of things, but some of those were embellished," George Orlowitz said. "There were 70,000 fans at the game, and just a few were acting like (idiots). That happens everywhere."
Orlowitz, who was staying in Faribault and tried ice-fishing for the first time this week, said most Philadelphians didn't appreciate the Vikings' fans gathering at the steps of the Art Museum to do the Skol chant or put a Vikings' jersey on the iconic Rocky statue.
"Philadelphia is a blue-collar city, and the fans are very passionate," he said. "You stick your finger in a beehive, it's probably going to get stung. You're asking for trouble."
Al Christopher lives at Grand Forks, North Dakota, becoming an Eagles fan by watching great defensive players, such as Brian Dawkins and Reggie White. He drove his Chevy Impala, all painted up with Eagles' logos, numbers and slogans, down to the Twin Cities to join the excitement.
Despite his over-the-top fandom, he hasn't gotten much pushback from Minnesotans as he visited various Super Bowl entertainment venues.
"I'm a football geek," Christopher said. "If you see someone explode green and sparkly stuff, that's probably going to be me."
Minnesota Nice has been the norm for guests. The closest thing to public harassment came Monday night at the media event, when Vikings fans booed loudly at any mention of the Eagles.
Mike Spooner grew up near Philadelphia but moved to New Brighton in 2010. Sporting a Nick Foles No. 9 jersey, he was wandering around Mall of America, taking in the vibe.
He saw the videos and read the stories about how Minnesota fans were treated in Philadelphia, and he's taken some gruff from friends and co-workers in the last week because of the hooliganism and the game's outcome. But it's only been in words, not actions.
"Obviously, the videos were disgusting," he said. "But I think the whole fan base gets stereotyped by a few drunken idiots. And there's a reputation, and some people look for that."
He said he attended a Vikings game against Green Bay a few years ago at TCF Bank Stadium, and he saw Vikings' fans treating the Packers' fans with the same abuse.
"But people don't remember it that way," he said.
Chad Courrier is a reporter for The Free Press, of Mankato, Minn. Follow on Twitter @ChadCourrier