Hometown crowd boos Eagles fan Jill Biden loud and long in Philly

First lady is a frequent guiding presence at her husband's side in public appearances.

Updated: October 17, 2022 - 1:06pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

First Lady Jill Biden was booed loud and long at the Philadelphia Eagles-Dallas Cowboys game in Philadelphia Sunday night.

It was a cool reception even by the standards of Philly sports fans, who infamously booed Santa Claus.

Raised just outside of Philadelphia, the first lady is an Eagles fan. 

President Biden was born and raised in Scranton, Pa.

The first lady appeared as an "honorary captain" at midfield for the game's opening coin toss. As boos rained down on her, she gamely soldiered on through a rendition of the team's fight song, "Fly, Eagles, Fly."

As the boos drowned out the first lady's efforts to rally the crowd, rhythmic chants of "F*** Joe Biden" — the unexpurgated NSFW version, not the family-friendly "Let's Go, Brandon" adaptation — swelled up through the din.

The first lady was at the game to promote the White House's Cancer Moonshot initiative.

Cancer patients and survivors joined her on the field. 

"It's a special night for this Philly girl — I get to cheer on my @Eagles alongside these brave cancer survivors and their families," Biden tweeted. "Thank you @NFL for raising awareness through Crucial Catch. We all have a role to play in ending cancer as we know it. #CancerMoonshot."

With midterm elections just three weeks away, President Biden's job approval rating is 19 points underwater — 39% approval, 58% disapproval — according to a New York Times/Siena poll conducted October 9-12.

Still, the harsh hometown greeting in a Democrat stronghold for the first lady is striking, as public sentiment about first ladies has historically been largely independent of public opinion about their husbands' job performance, with first ladies routinely ranking at or near the top among Americans' most admired women even when their husbands are floundering with sub-40 job approval ratings.

Ms. Biden is a frequent presence at her husband's side in public appearances. She is often seen gently prompting her husband's speaking lines or helping him navigate through choreographed public ceremony and protocol. Her husband, whose frequent gaffes and meandering, uncertain public appearances continue to fuel questions about his cognitive fitness for his uniquely demanding job, turns 80 next month.

Perhaps most surprising of all, the surly reaction of Eagles' fans Sunday night erupted despite the team opening the season with an undefeated run — 6-0 after defeating the division rival Cowboys.