If you’re an NFL fan of any sort, it’s usually fun to root for a team in the Super Bowl – at least just casually – to make the game interesting.
But if you’re a New Yorker, the New England Patriots playing the Philadelphia Eagles is one of the worst matchups you could ask for.
Seriously! Which team are you supposed to root for? In one corner, you have the Pats. They’re the Evil Empire of the NFL, but above all they represent Boston, the city that’s provided decades of one of sports’ greatest rivalries with the Red Sox and Yankees. There’s no way you can side with Beantowners on this one.
On the other side, there’s a team from Philly, another direct rival particularly for Giants fans. Do New Yorkers really want to hear from Eagles die-hards all year (and probably way beyond) about how they took down Tom Brady and the Pats? Remember the reaction to both Miracles at the Meadowlands? How can you side with that?
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(Aside: I’m a native New Yorker who also went to college outside of Philadelphia in the Donovan McNabb Era, who had to hear it from Eagles fans after the Super Bowl XXXV blowout. This is an issue near and dear to my heart.)
The answer can’t be “no one” or “I hope the game gets canceled.” That’s no fun. This is a gun-to-your-head, who-ya-got conundrum that needs a decision.
Backing the Pats means you dislike Eagles fans so much that you’re willing to support Brady ‘n Belichick – the tandem that the Giants took down twice and the duo that Jets fans are dying to see retire – in order to stick it to Philadelphia.
Rooting for the Eagles means getting behind a fanbase that will no doubt remind New Yorkers that there’s a second franchise that took down a Pats dynasty. It means putting aside what my Iggles-rooting friends in college always said was a “little brother/big brother” rivalry with New York, which they said NYC holds over Philadelphia’s head in perpetuity.
My take? If I’m forced to do it, I’ll band together with the City of Brotherly Love. Maybe this is what unites the two cities: The two NFC East teams who took care of their hated opponents to the North, with hard-working, smash-mouth defenses. Or, it’s way more likely that New Yorkers grit their teeth, say “congratulations,” Philly fans raise a glass and nod, and everyone resumes hating each other.
But anything is better than rooting for ( shivers) Boston.
Help us out: What team should New Yorkers root for?
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