Super Bowl Sunday has arrived. And as has been the case since 2010, the Pittsburgh Steelers have home couch advantage for the game. So how, just exactly, are faitful Steelers fans supposed to root?
Some years the decision is difficult. Often times it’s the lesser of two “evils” (see 2012 and the 49ers vs the Ravens.) Other times the choice is clear cut, such 2006 and 2013 when the right thing to do was to support Chuck Noll disciples Tony Dungy and John Fox.
2023’s decision isn’t quite as obvious, but it says here that faithful Pittsburgh Steelers fans should support the Philadelphia Eagles. In 2017 I came to the same conclusion, but for different reasons. That year the driver was clear: An Eagles win over the Patriots would keep Bill Belichick and Tom Brady from tying the Steelers Super Bowl record.
- The Eagles delivered, although Belichick and Brady would tie the record a year later.
This year there’s no ulterior motive. In fact, while neither Pittsburghers or Steelers fans have any driving reason to root against the Kansas City Chiefs, the Hunt family runs a football focused operation, much like the Rooneys and the Maras do. And they’re from the AFC.
- But the Eagles are from Pennsylvania.
And in this case, loyalty to the Keystone State trumps all else. I’ve only lived in Pennsylvania for 14 months 605 months on this earth, but there doesn’t seem to be a ton of Pennsylvania patriotism. Even when it comes to college sports, Penn State is a National Powerhouse, yet still has in-state rivalries with schools like Pitt.
- Be that as it may, the Steelers and Eagles do share a historic link.
Back during World War II, the Steelers and Eagles merged teams to be the Steagles. And while the union only lasted one year, when my parents were working towards their 2nd birthday shared heritage is enough for Steelers fans to show solidarity with the Eagles today.