As the Philadelphia Eagles geared up for a championship playoff game at their home stadium on Sunday, the police were preparing to keep the city’s boisterous football fans safe.
They put up barricades, Capt. Sekou Kinebrew, a spokesman for the Philadelphia Police Department, said in an email. They assigned officers to patrol on foot, on bikes and on horses.
And they broke out cans of Crisco, slathering up street poles to try to stop people from climbing them.
The Eagles won the N.F.C. Championship on Sunday, defeating the Minnesota Vikings, 38-7. They advanced to the Super Bowl, where they will play the New England Patriots, for the first time since the 2004 season.
Michelle Thompson, 27, saw the greasy poles along Broad Street when she started her shift at a restaurant on Sunday.
If the Eagles win, people will likely celebrate in the area, she said before the game. As for the Crisco? “It’ll keep some people off, but after a certain amount of time, people will keep trying to go up there and I’m sure they’ll be wiping it off,” she said.
Captain Kinebrew could not say how many poles would get the treatment with Crisco, a vegetable shortening, because it was up to district captains to decide whether or where to use it.
The city used this approach in 2008 before the Philadelphia Phillies won the World Series. (It didn’t stop everyone: Ms. Thompson remembered those celebrations and said people definitely climbed lampposts then.)
The team’s fans are known for being passionate and are still remembered for pelting snowballs at a man dressed as Santa Claus during a losing game in 1968.
The shortening might not be able to stop the city’s most talented climbers. Philadelphia hosts a greased-pole-climbing competition at its annual Italian Market Festival. That pole is 30 feet tall.
So what happens to the Crisco on Monday?
“If necessary, police or streets department will perform the cleanup,” Captain Kinebrew said. “But we’re expecting rain tomorrow, so it may not be necessary.”
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