As a hard core Steelers fan who was raised in Delaware County, I have been in a difficult position for the past decade. I love Philadelphia, and I genuinely enjoy seeing the Eagles (outside of the quad-annual matchup with the Steelers) win games. Of course, I’m very quiet about this. Birds fans don’t take kindly to Steelers fans in general, let alone anyone suspected of favoring whichever Keystone team is winning.
Ever year, I hope for the Black and Gold to clash with the Green and White on the NFL’s biggest stage.
Two weeks ago, everyone was abuzz about a Pennsylvania Super Bowl. The Pittsburgh Steelers had handily taken care of the San Diego Chargers at home, poised to play a Ravens team that they had already beaten twice during the regular season. The Philadelphia Eagles had resoundingly bested the reigning champion New York Giants and were heading into Glendale with arguably more momentum than any other team in the playoffs. Keystone State residents started booking flights to Tampa. The Pennsylvania Turnpike put up signs.
But then something happened.
The Arizona Cardinals, a perennial underachiever in the National Football Leauge, a team that hadn’t been to a Championship in 61 years, shocked the world and sent the Eagles home. The very same roster that looked helpless in a 48-20 Thanksgiving Day dismantling by the Birds in Philadelphia. It was disappointing, to say the least.
Across the state, Philadelphia fans watched spitefully as the Steelers held up their end of the Turnpike Super Bowl.
It has been my experience over the past two weeks that Eagles fans are vehemently in favor of the Cardinals. This doesn’t come as a suprise – State College itself is a microcosm of the friction between Yinzers and battery-throwers when it comes to the NFL. If you take a walk on any given weekend in Happy Valley, you’ll hear “Fly Eagles Fly” on Beaver Ave., and a retaliatory “Here We Go Steelers” before you turn the corner. It’s the epicenter of the rivalry.
But, I’m making a request that for one game, Birds fans pull for the Stillers.
This has not been the first case I’ve made a case for peace between the intrastate contention, but I think today presents a unique opportunity for Eagles fans to take a break from swilling haterade.
After all, we Steelers fans aren’t so bad. President Obama doesn’t think so anyway. We, too, appreciate regional sandwiches. We both hate the Cowboys. A majority of both fan bases happen to be Nittany Lion football fans.
And do the Cardinals and their fans deserve this? It may look like it at first glance – everyone loves an underdog, and Kurt Warner and Larry Fitzgerald have to be two of the most likable players in the league. But what about those bandwagon fans – the guys that have no clue that before they were the Arizona Cardinals, they were the Phoenix Cardinals, and the St. Louis Cardinals, and the Chicago Cardinals? What about the jerks that trashed Donovan’s lawn? Hell, Cards fans won’t even let kids wear opposing teams’ jerseys to school.
And we all know that the NFC Championship game was cut short thanks to a pass intereference penalty that wasn’t called. Chris Cooley, a marquee player of your division-rival Redskins, even pointed it out.
So if you can’t find it in your heart to pull for the Steelers for a day, think long and hard about your reasons for disliking the Cards. Come on, Philly fans, you guys are the best at hating things. Even Santa Claus.