Food ban for security?

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ONE THING about Philadelphia, we can spot B.S. a mile away.

When the Parking Authority calls itself “kinder and gentler,” we know . . . When the mayor says every street was plowed, we know . . . When developers say the Penn’s Landing project is on schedule, we know . . .

And when Eagles president Joe Banner stands in front of the cameras and proclaims that the team’s hoagie ban is not about money, we definitely know.

I imagine Banner figured the fans would roll over on the team’s infamous BYO food prohibition, this being post-9/11 and all. Sacrifice a sandwich in the name of security – the front office types thought we’d swallow that.

But it took about two seconds for the city to see through the baloney.

Terrorism? Nah, the only thing the ban will protect is the ability of the team to gouge a captive audience with overpriced concession food.

In the week since word of the ban was revealed, online fan sites, radio talk shows and the Daily News e-mail system has been buzzing with outrage. My desk is starting to look like one of the Stinkmeister’s back-alley dumps, thanks to the arrival of more than a thousand petitions calling for the Eagles to drop the ban.

(We’re still collecting signatures. Fill out the coupon in today’s paper, or send us one online, at www.philly.com. )

These aren’t just idle complaints from bored Philadelphians who didn’t make it down to the shore last week.

No, the furor stems more directly from the notion that fans flat out don’t believe the Eagles. They’re picking apart Banner’s alibi like they’re Joe Pesci in “My Cousin Vinny. ”

If the Eagles are so worried about terrorists smuggling weapons inside a hoagie wrapper, howcum they don’t ban other carry-in possessions, like binoculars?

They didn’t ban food at the Vet immediately after 9/11, why now?

And exactly how extensive are these security arrangements? Will the Birds run background checks on vendors? Will fans have to walk through metal detectors? Will delivery trucks be inspected for bombs?

The questions are endless, but the bottom line is fans aren’t buying it.

Which, at first glance, is surprising.

After all, Banner has built a pretty decent football team (by Philadelphia standards, at least). They’re moving into a beautiful, brand-new stadium.

We should be happy, right?

Mabye the Eagles assumed they’d earned their share of goodwill.

Instead, they’re getting trashed on the way into the Linc.

Civic do-gooders would say this is a another example of Philadelphia’s famous inferiority complex. Living in the shadow of New York, we’re constantly beating our selves; nothing is ever good enough.

Maybe. Personally, I’d be satisfied with a Super Bowl.

In the meantime, I’m wondering how the Eagles thought they’d get this one past us. When Banner said only a “minuscule” number of fans bring their own food to ballgames, was he simply out of touch with his own patrons, or arrogant enough to think it doesn’t matter?

Whatever, chalk this up as another one of those famous fibs:

The check’s in the mail . . . the dog ate my homework . . . the Eagles hoagie ban is for our own good.

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