Jim Nabors vs. The Philadelphia Eagles: a tale of Star-Spangled superstition

The Birds snubbed Gomer in '69.

CBS Television Distribution

Lots of us have our little rituals before the big game. Some of us have that one lucky jersey that brings our team good luck. Maybe a certain recipe seems to bring our team to victory. Or perhaps it's a certain configuration of people that ushers in a win. If you all just sit in the same spot as last year, the outcome should be the same, right? 

The point is that sports are an incredibly emotional experience. Some people will do anything to see their team score a W.

Nowhere in sports are the stakes higher for an outsider than Philadelphia. Philly fans are notorious for their passion, which often escalates into violence. This is the city that chucked batteries at Santa Claus, after all. Philly is a proud town, and to be a part of it is like nothing else in the world. 

This is all terrible news for Jim Nabors, who was given the unenviable task of singing The National Anthem ahead of an Eagles game in 1969. The comedy-actor extraordinaire dished on the details during an interview with The Philadelphia Inquirer a few years later.

"It was all kind of silly," said Nabors.

"At the time, I was traveling with the Rams. Well, I had sung 'The Star-Spangled Banner' at several of the Rams home games and they asked me if I wanted to sing it in Philadelphia.

"So I said sure. It didn't mean that much to me one way or the other, but I thought it would be nice. Well, it just so happened that the Rams won all of the games I sang at. One of those silly superstition things, I guess.

"So I walked out on Franklin Field just before the game and this fellow comes up to me and says, 'I'm sorry, but you can't sing.' I thought he was putting me on. But he sure wasn't and I just walked back off the field."

Apparently, the Eagles exercised their right to do whatever they want, vetoing Nabors' inclusion in the big game. Nabors wasn't really in a place to argue the matter either. Even if he somehow persuaded a squad of gridiron titans, there was always the matter of the surly public. 

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5 Comments

cheryl1725 1 month ago
It wasn't batteries at Santa. It was snowballs. Get it right. We threw batteries at Scott Rolen from the St. Louis Cardinals. If you are gonna tear Philly fans down, get the story right.
McGillahooala 1 month ago
People are nuts. I saw Jim Nabors at a small venue in Branson several years ago. He was the nicest guy. The place was about the size of a movie theater and set up similarly. He performed while walking up and down the aisles so no one was in the cheap seats. He was funny and of course a very talented singer. You could not ask for a nicer guy.
Peter_Falk_Fan 1 month ago
So, they missed out on hearing Jim Nabors' beautiful voice and lost the game anyway.

Final score: Rams 23, Eagles 17.
KawiVulc 1 month ago
No Philadelphia team can lose often enough or badly enough to satisfy me. There, I said it.
cheryl1725 KawiVulc 1 month ago
Dallas fan huh?
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