The Steelers and Eagles reside on opposite ends of the state here in Pennsylvania, so normally you’d think that means there is some epic, heated rivalry similar to that of say, Cleveland and Cincinnati. While there is that factor of being so close to each other, the rivalry between these two teams is really much to do about nothing as far as the fans are concerned.
This was one of the topics in our forum here this week, and one of our members, Larry, here on SA has spent significant time living in both Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, and offers this insight into the so called rivalry that some Steelers and Eagles players mentioned earlier this week.
Seeing as I spent 30 years in Pittsburgh and 11 in Philly I think I have a pretty good idea. The rivalry is non existent in football.There never really was one in my lifetime. I believe Ben’s comments come from watching the Pens/Flyers that’s a true rivalry and hatred. Also anything that he can say that will help motivate them is good. Win the game for state bragging rights I don’t care just win it.
In Philly there’s really not much hatred for the Steelers. Most fans are jealous of our success but they respect they way the Steelers are run. Their biggest rival is the the Giants, followed by the Cowboys. They are jealous about everything New York. It makes them sick that the Giants have won so many SB’s especially since the Eagles usually beat them. I never understood how there could be so many Cowboys fans who grew up in Philly. I never met a person from Western Pa who wasn’t a Steeler fan.
In the 70′s the Pirate Phillies rivalry was huge but that died down when they split up the divisions”
Those comments that he was referring to was Ben Roethlisberger talking to the Beaver County Times about the game on Sunday: “It’s not a division game. It’s AFC versus NFC. But no matter what sport it is, it seems to be Pittsburgh versus Philly and a general hatred. That’s what I’ve noticed since I moved here about Philadelphia.”
Make no mistake, there are some Steeler and Eagle fans that do have a pretty solid level of hatred for each other as you can see by the replies in that forum topic this week. By in large though, neither teams fans really care that much about the other, except maybe in the Super Bowl department, as SteelerCountry58 talks about: “No football rivalry at all. I have family around the Philly area, if anything they like the Steelers as their “back up” team and have a lot of respect and a pinch of jealousy for not being able to do what the Steelers do and thats win Super Bowls.”
This game is big for the Steelers, not because they care about bragging rights in the Keystone State, but because coming in at 1-2 means they need to get back on track in a hurry. That won’t be easy with the Eagles entering Heinz Field at 3-1 and feeling confident after their big win over the Giants.
The players may or may not openly talk about this being a “must win” game, but the fans know it certainly ranks right up there as such.Having said all of that, both teams have a big fan base in PA, and as Steelers fans we’d love nothing more than to stick it to the birds! Rivalry or not.