Friday, February 23, 2018

Riots Erupt in Philadelphia, Amherst after Super Bowl

MATEO VAZQUEZ ’21

STAFF WRITER

After a long and hard-fought game, the Philadelphia Eagles were finally able to capture their first Super Bowl title. Fans then demonstrated their love for the team by rioting throughout the streets of Philadelphia well into the night and during the next day. The police department had been anticipating a riot regardless of the outcome, and preemptively greased all of the poles in the city with motor oil. However, that did very little to stop the mass rioting that flooded the city. Fans were seen climbing on traffic lights, running into a Macy’s department store and even ransacking a Wawa convenience store.

While many took to the streets in celebration, very few arrests were made as the Philadelphia police felt that the best way to control the situation was to let it die out naturally. About four hours away in Amherst, Massachusetts the UMass students reacted in a very similar manner. However, their riot was not out of support for the Eagles, but in frustration against the loss of the New England Patriots. Shortly after Rob Gronkowski failed to catch the final hail-mary pass from Tom Brady, the UMass campus was flooded with 2,000 angry fans. In an attempt to release their frustration and anger they began to riot throughout the campus streets, chanting various phrases in contempt of the Eagles. The rioting also reflected the universal feeling that this may be one of the last chances that the Patriots get to win their sixth Super Bowl, a scary feeling for many die-hard fans. The riots in Amherst did not last long as the UMass riot police arrived at the scene to subdue the chaos that had erupted. However, before all was said and done, police were forced to use rubber bullets and arrest some participants.

One of the many vexing questions that people across the country were wondering was why would anyone riot? Why would they go out of there way to put themselves and others in danger just because of a game? As it turns out, there is a large psychological reason to explain why people are willing to put themselves into danger out of celebration or anger. However, both the UMass Amherst riots and the Philadelphia fans have something in common: this year’s Super Bowl was particularly monumental for both teams. For Philadelphia, this win meant the first Super Bowl in franchise history, and for New England, this was one of the first times that Tom Brady made a game-ending mistake to cost the Patriots the Super Bowl. Fans from both regions were distraught, surprised, and most likely quite drunk, a trio of factors that translated into rioting. However, this is only one element of the raucous behavior. Most of the rioting originates from mob mentality, a phenomenon of human nature when a few individuals release pent up frustration or excitement and are then joined by others who blindly follow. This situation happened within both regions, ultimately spiraling out of control and creating not only a raucous situation, but a dangerous one.

In the aftermath of Super Bowl Sunday both Philadelphia and UMass woke up to an interesting surprise. In Philadelphia, the celebration took a devastating toll on the city’s infrastructure. Almost all of the light poles on one side of city hall were ripped from the ground, and within a mile of city hall multiple cars were flipped. Additionally, all of the store front windows at a local Macy’s were smashed, as well as many other store front windows in the downtown area. There was even a report of someone stealing an ostrich from the zoo. In total there were only four reported arrests in Philadelphia, and four in Amherst, while very few injuries were sustained. Although things could have been worse, the results of the riots will cost both regions several thousands of dollars, a questionable ending to the Super Bowl’s winning and losing cities

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