Eagles open Lincoln Financial Field

Updated: September 8, 2003, 10:13 PM ET

PHILADELPHIA -- Forget bells and whistles. Philadelphia had a light show, fireworks -- and even Rocky -- for the first regular season NFL game at Lincoln Financial Field on Monday night.

The era of Veterans Stadium and its concrete-like turf is over.

The days of the Linc and its more forgiving Kentucky bluegrass surface and state-of-the-art amenities have just begun.

"There's not a bad seat in the house," season ticket-holder Roger Mayer said. "This is a great place to watch football. The Vet was so dirty and smelly. This should give us a great advantage."

The stadium lights were dimmed for a 20-minute pregame extravaganza that featured fireworks, a midfield laser show set to the music of AC/DC and a video reminding the 68,000 fans that attending an Eagles game unified everyone, regardless of age, status or race.

There was an F-16 flyover and Teddy Pendergrass sang the national anthem.

Even Sylvester Stallone, who played Philadelphia's own "Rocky," raised his arms, pumped his fist and drew a rousing reaction from an already delirious crowd.

The Eagles played two exhibition games in the Linc, Temple played a football game there Saturday, and the stadium was officially opened with an exhibition soccer game between European teams Manchester United and FC Barcelona on Aug. 3. Three concerts by Bruce Springsteen followed.

The stadium holds 68,532, 3,180 more than the Vet. And, the seats are much closer to the field -- the front row is 60 feet from the sideline, half the distance at the Vet.

The Linc has 83 more luxury suites, a new club level, wider concourses, cupholders on every seat, plenty more restroom facilities, and behind each end zone are 96-foot scoreboards featuring distributed-sound speakers.

The exterior plaza covers more than 100,000 square feet and includes a third video screen and stage for pregame concerts. There are four interior plazas where fans can congregate and watch the game. The north side of the stadium offers a view of the city's skyline and the south side offers a view of the Delaware River.

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index

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