The Philadelphia Eagles have some of the craziest fans in the entire sports world. For proof of that, look no further than the insane Super Bowl celebrations that took place in the city of Philadelphiaafter the Eagles beat the New England Patriots in February, to win their first Super Bowl ever. But an Eagles fan from Reading, Pennsylvania just might be the craziest one of all--and he has an absolutely massive Philadelphia Eagles sports memorabiliacollection to prove it.
Barry Vagnoni, who also goes by the nickname "The Hatchet," likes to consider himself a bit of a "whack job." He has spent more than a decade building a ridiculously large man cave inside of his home that is decorated with enough Eagles memorabilia to fill a football field. From flags and pennants to autographed footballs and posters, Vagnoni has it all.
Let's take a closer look at Vagnoni's story and the Eagles memorabilia that has turned him into one of the most passionate Eagles fans of all time.
Vagnoni is a married father of two and grandfather of six who lives in Reading, Pennsylvania. He refuses to divulge how old he is, but he has been an Eagles fan since 1954 and remembers watching the Eagles beat the Packers in 1960 to win the world championship. In fact, he calls the win that day"one of the happiest days of my life."
To say that Vagnoni loves the Eagles would be the understatement of the year. He doesn't just love the Philadelphia football team; he essentially lives for them. He readily admits that he has allowed the team to take over a large portion of his life, and even before the team won the Super Bowl in February. He talked openly about what a large role they played in his existence.
"Some people collect cars. Some people collect coins. I'm into the Philadelphia Eagles," he said in early February. "That's what I love. That's my passion. Till the day I die, I will always be a Philadelphia Eagles fan...This is my love. Other than my family, this is my love."
It's that love that inspired Vagnoni to build a 2,000-square-foot man cave, affectionately called the "Locker Room," in his home. He used most of his retirement money to do it.
Vagnoni got his idea to build the Locker Room after seeing Kevin Costner's hit movie, Field of Dreams. In that movie, Costner's character built a baseball field to entice some of baseball's biggest legends to come back and play. Vagnoni figured he could do something similar with his man cave.
This is where we should point out that Vagnoni's man cave is not your average man cave. Calling it a man cave actually feels a little bit disrespectful since he has gone above and beyond what most other people have done with theirs. Vagnoni has stocked the Locker Room with more Philadelphia Eagles memorabilia than he can count, and it's clear he has outdone Costner's character in Field of Dreams with what he has built.
So, what does Vagnoni have in his Locker Room? If you take a quick look at it, it's almost too much for the senses to process. There is Philadelphia Eagles memorabilia everywhere, and that's not all Vagnoni keeps in his room. The memorabilia is actually just the beginning.
In the Locker Room, Vagnoni has:
You really couldn't ask for much more from Vagnoni's man cave. It's no wonder why people literally beg him to come to his house to watch football on Sundays. He typically entertains anywhere from 125 to 175 people during Eagles games, depending on the importance of the contest.
You can spend an entire Sunday afternoon counting all Vagnoni's Philadelphia Eagles memorabilia and still not be able to count it all. He has that much stuff in his Locker Room, and he's constantly adding to it.
Vagnoni has covered almost every square inch of wall space in his man cave with some kind of Eagles memorabilia. He has signed jerseys, helmets, spikes, posters, and photos, some of which have been given to him directly by Eagles players. He also has Eagles mugs, cups, plates, and even a small piece of turf that he got from Veterans Stadium, where the Eagles used to play their games.
Every time you turn around in Vagnoni's Locker Room, you are guaranteed to see a new piece of Eagles memorabilia you didn't see before. He has spent years accumulating his collection, and he continues to add to it all the time. He actively participates in fundraisers and other charitable events tied to the Eagles, and that alone has his memorabilia collection growing at a rapid pace.
Vagnoni refers to his man cave as a "utopia," which is a pretty accurate description if you love the Eagles and/or the sight of memorabilia as much as he does.
Vagnoni has been married to his wife Dawn for 56 years now, and in addition to him being a married man, he is also apparently a smart man.
He has been asked on a number of occasions how much he has paid to outfit his man cave with as much Eagles memorabilia as it has. He has also been asked to estimate how much he spends on the parties he throws since he says he gives out food and drinks to people on game days without expecting anything in return.
His answer? He would rather not say since he's afraid of what his wife might think about it. That means he must be spending a pretty penny to celebrate his Eagles every Sunday.
When you consider how much Philadelphia Eagles memorabilia Vagnoni has in his man cave and how much he has apparently paid for it, you might think that there would be 101 rules for every single person who visits to follow. And you would be right--but not for the reasons you might think.
Despite all of the valuable Eagles memorabilia he has floating around in his Locker Room, it doesn't sound like Vagnoni is all that strict when it comes to telling people not to touch it. He wants people to come and have a good time looking at everything.
But even with that being said, Vagnoni does have some rules he asks everyone to follow when they enter his man cave. They are as follows:
As long as you follow the rules, you won't have any issues with Vagnoni. But be warned: He takes his rules seriously and isn't afraid to give someone the boot for not following them.
Two weeks before the Super Bowl in February, Vagnoni hosted about 150 people in the Locker Room for the Eagles' NFC Championship Game win over the Minnesota Vikings. The crowd included everyone from his family members to contractors and flooring guys who helped put the room together.
With that in mind, you might think Vagnoni went all out once the Super Bowl rolled around, but it was pretty much business as usual for him. Rather than stuffing more people into his man cave than he could fit, he kept the guest list for the game tight and turned down a lot of people who tried to weasel their way in.
He said hosting the game at his home in his man cave was his "lifelong dream." He also said he was really hoping the Eagles would get a win, which, of course, they did.
Although the walls in the Locker Room are covered with Eagles memorabilia, you would think Vagnoni would open it up for other events. He has, after all, spent a lot of time, energy, and money putting the room together, so why not host college football games and NCAA Tournament parties in there, right?
But Vagnoni is very particular about what kinds of parties he has in the Locker Room. He doesn't even hold them during Eagles' preseason games since he doesn't count them as official contests.
Once the Eagles season is over, Vagnoni shuts the Locker Room down completely for the off-season and refuses to hold any other events there. It also doesn't sound like he's all that interested in having tours of his man cave or showing it off to others. It's solely for hosting Eagles parties, and that's exactly the way Vagnoni likes it.
Vagnoni readily admits that what he is doing with his Locker Room is just about as crazy as it gets. Between all the Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl memorabiliahe has invested in over the years and all the festivities he crams into his room on game days, there is nothing sane about what happens in his home.
"Oh yeah, I'm nuts," he said prior to this year's Super Bowl win.
But that's exactly how Vagnoni likes it. This season, he took to wearing a hat that made him look like he had a poodle sitting on top of his head, along with a Nick Foles Philadelphia Eagles jerseywith shoulder pads underneath of it and even some eye black that made him appear as though he was ready to get in a real game.
It's all so crazy. And yet, it could potentially get even crazier next season. Now that the Eagles have a Super Bowl win under their belt, Vagnoni is likely going to ratchet things up even more for the 2018-19 NFL season.
How will he do it? Who knows. Maybe he will find a way to add even more Eagles memorabilia to the mix, or maybe he will expand the Locker Room and allow it to fit even more Philadelphia fans.
Whatever the case, Vagnoni has proven himself to be one of the Eagles' most faithful fans, and it's not just because of his endless supply of Eagles memorabilia. He is simply a guy who refuses to do anything other than bleed green, no matter how crazy it might seem to everyone else.
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