I realize I may lose a lot of the goodwill I receive on my birthday with this post, but oh well. For the record, this post is all in good fun.
To start, I am a lifelong Philadelphia fan. I can’t say I never had a wandering onto a bandwagon in my younger days while the Phillies suffered through losing season after losing season. Yet for the most part, I have been a Philly fan, especially the Eagles. Like most Eagles fans, I detest our biggest rivals: the Cowboys, Giants and Redskins. I also detest the Patriots, mostly for beating the Eagles in the Super Bowl, but also for being successful. What I find interesting, or perhaps I am completely wrong, is that while I also have no love for the Steelers, it appears other Eagles fans do. For some reason, some Eagles fans cheer for the team in Pittsburgh.
Again, maybe I am completely wrong with this, but the Steelers do not have the polarizing effect other great teams do (“evil empires”, “dynasties”). There are teams in various sports, usually teams with a long history of success, that everyone either loves or hates. In baseball, it is the Yankees. They have won twenty-seven world series, far more than anyone. They have many fans throughout the country,who decided it was just more fun cheering for winning teams. But they also have myriads who see them as the big bully, the “evil empire” and cheer for whoever is playing them. There are such teams in all sports.
Then there are teams who have become polarizing in this way more recently. Sticking with baseball, the example is the Red Sox. Winning a couple of world series titles gave us “Red Sox nation”, a bunch of people around the country who jumped the bandwagon. With so many new Red Sox fans, the rest of us started to hate the Red Sox about as much as we hate the Yankees.
Back to the Super Bowl and my argument: the Steelers are the Yankees! They have more Super Bowl victories than anybody else, they are always good, they have a national following (I have heard some on ESPN radio say they may be displacing the Cowboys as “America’s Team”). Yet, and again, maybe I am way off, they do not have the polarizing affect of the others. They have lots of fans, but very few haters. How come they are not as polarizing as the Cowboys, the closest NFL equivalent?
I am coming out and saying: I see the Steelers right alongside the Cowboys and Patriots as teams never to cheer for. Actually, when the Patriots played the Steelers I was hoping the Patriots would win!
This is by no mean a knock at Steelers fans (at least, those who have always been Steelers fans). Your team is great, giving you many victories. By all means, enjoy it. I fault you no more than I fault those who grew up in New York cheering for the Yankees. I think people who jump the bandwagon, those who became Steelers fans recently, are leeches. But the rest of you, enjoy the ride!
Just realize that the reason I am cheering for Green Bay is the same reason I cheer against the Yankees or other teams that win all the time. I want to see the underdog, the new money, get a victory. And I am calling all my fellow Eagles fans as well as all those who like to cheer against the big bully on the playground, to buy a cheesehead and root on the Pack!