Is Philadelphia vs. Pittsburgh Really a Rivalry?

I haven’t written anything about the Flyers this year because I don’t know anything about ice hockey. That’s Anthony’s beat anyway. He’s got you covered.

What I do know is that I hate Sidney Crosby and his fat face. I hate his smug demeanor and childish attitude and his 89 points. I hate his three Stanley Cups and his seven All-Star selections and his pair of Conn Smythe and Hart Trophies.

When it comes to Pittsburgh, however, that’s about it. Obviously Wawa is better than Sheetz, and it’s “soda,” not “pop,” but I really don’t dislike anything else about the Steel City.

But it’s not about me, it’s about you, the readers of Crossing Broad dot com, who overwhelming said that Pittsburgh and Philadelphia are not rivals:

Seems accurate to me.

When you go down the list of sports teams, it’s hard to find a ton of meaning:


Metropolitan Division rivals. Frequent games, playoff history, exciting matchups.


One AFC team, one NFC team. Infrequent games, no playoff matchups even possible outside of the Super Bowl.


It used to be something special before the Pirates moved to the National League Central back in 1994. You could go back to the 70s and find 10 NLCS appearances between the two teams, an era of success that saw the Pirates win it all twice (’71 and ’79’) and the Phillies once (1980). It’s been tempered since then, and when the Pirates began to turn the corner about five or six years ago, the Phils were sliding back to mediocrity after the 2008 and 2009 World Series appearances.

Sixers/no one

Pittsburgh doesn’t have an NBA team.

Union/no one

No MLS team, but Pittsburgh does have a USL team, the Riverhounds, who play Bethlehem Steel a few times a year.


Pitt kind of sucks in all sports now, so it’s hard to find meaning there. They don’t play Temple or Villanova anymore, and those football and basketball games weren’t rivalries anyway. What else is out there? Duquesne? Carnegie Mellon? The Point Park Pioneers?

I think that’s it, really, it’s just the Penguins and Flyers for real substance and meaning.

I hear a lot of people say that the Steelers/Eagles thing is much more apparent in the central part of Pennsylvania where the fan bases start to bleed together. If you were a Penn State student, you probably experienced shit talking with Steeler fans who had, until this year, experienced exponentially more success than the Eagles.

Relatives of mine live in Greensburg, about 45 minutes east of Pittsburgh. We used to go visit them every August for our family reunion, which would bump into the first week of Steelers training camp at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe. We went once or twice to check out practice and it was very, very similar to what you used to see at Lehigh – big crowds, active participants, passionate sports fans who seemed to know what they were talking about.

That’s my opinion in a nutshell. I don’t think Pittsburgh fans are much different than us. They come from a “lunch pail” steel town that has a lot of the same rugged and non-cosmopolitan features as Philadelphia. Even at WVU, surrounded by Steeler fans, I always felt like they were dedicated and knowledgeable, unlike Cowboy fans who came across as entitled front-runners.

Certainly the geography plays a role here. You can throw in the “Battle of Pennsylvania” thing with Pittsburgh, but it takes longer to get out there than to go to New York, D.C., or Baltimore.

I made a helpful infographic:

Someone made this point in response to the poll, and I kind of agree with it – he views Pittsburgh in the same way as Baltimore. Regional city, but a pair of teams in the Orioles and Ravens that don’t play the Phillies or Eagles on a regular basis. In the cluster of Mid-Atlantic/Northeastern rivals, Baltimore is just sort of “there.” I think most Philadelphia sports fans probably show similar indifference towards Baltimore and Pittsburgh.

There’s also this line of thinking, which I’ve heard before:

I sensed a bit of that when I lived out there, but I didn’t think it was too bad. I didn’t find the Pittsburgh distaste towards Philadelphia to be as severe as the Philadelphia distaste towards New York. And if reciprocity is the key, at least the Giants, Mets, Rangers, Islanders, Knicks, Nets, Red Bulls, and NYC FC play in the same divisions and conferences as Philly teams.

If some of those “rivalries” are considered to be a one-way street, then I think Philly/New York has ten-thousand times more substance than Philly/Pittsburgh.

There’s also a non-sports thing going on, where a lot of people, not just Pittsburgh residents, view Philadelphia as this evil east coast metropolis that sucks up state funding and spreads pansy liberal influence all over the state. I feel a lot of that outside of the Delaware Valley. There’s certainly the notion that Pittsburgh and Philly are the two blue cornerstones of the state, while the rest is “Pennsyltucky,” but only Allegheny County voted Democrat in the 2016 presidential race. Every surrounding Pittsburgh county voted for Trump, while Delco, Montco, and Bucks County (barely) went for Hillary.

That’s all I care to know or share about the political thing.

Another thing is that Pittsburgh has this moron:

And this moron:

I’m told Pittsburgh sports fans don’t take these guys seriously, which is good.

There’s also the cheesesteak vs. Primanti Brothers thing, and I think the Yinzers use the term “sprinkles” to refer to “jimmies.”

Otherwise, I don’t really think there’s much of a difference. The people out there are mostly blue collar, sports-crazed assholes, just like us.








18 Responses

  1. Crazy thing is that when you go to a game at PPG there is no Coke or Pepsi, somehow RC got the contract there. Diet root beer that’s not Stewarts tends to suck and has a shitty after taste.

  2. The rivalry is no different than Eagles/Cowboys. No need to compare cities especially when in the case of the Eagles/Cowboys the difference in location is way more than Flyers/Pens.

  3. Also how are you a writer for a sports blog and admitted my know nothing about one of the four major teams? It’s not about being a beat writer. I bet you know things about the Eagles and Phillies. Watch a few games. It’s not hard if you’re representing a sports blog.

    1. because we already have a Flyers guy. I’m the Sixers and Eagles guy.

      what does it matter to you anyway? why does that bother or offend you? would you prefer me to fake it and half-ass a story about Dave Hakstol’s line changes?

        1. bro, if you’re looking for in-depth ice hockey analysis, you’re reading the wrong author

          1. comment awaiting approval. I must’ve said cupcake too much.

            I think you’re misunderstanding, bro. Don’t even _____ post this shit then if you know nothing about hockey. This is literally twitter feed content. Written by cultural hipster bloggers.

      1. This whole sites coverage of hockey is half assed. It’s not out of line to ask writers who make money off your subscribers to know about all the sports. And when it’s 1pm on playoff game day and we have no posts about the damn game, people are going to call you on it. Sorry you’re the author of this post and have to see it, but it’s a joke. Most people who visit this site follow all the sports so we expect coverage of all the sports. Not just game recaps from the beat writer a day later

        1. bro you’re talking to the wrong person. I don’t run the site or go to the Flyers games. if you’re not satisfied, talk to Kyle and Anthony about it

          And I’d think, in the interest of honesty, you’d appreciate my admission that I don’t know the game. Because if I wrote about hockey, it would be half assed, and we’d be in the same place where we started.

          1. I get it, at least you’re not a prick about it. No big.

            It’s dudes like Marks, Mayes and Miss who I can’t stand. They don’t know hockey but instead of ignoring it, they shit all over it and berate the fans who attempt to call in about it. That pisses me off to no end.

  4. 12:30ET and still no meaningful post about the Flyers game tonight.

    Fuck WVU, and also, BOYERTOWN != Philly. You have no stake in this conversation.

  5. As a Pitt grad (lived out there in the early 2000s), I wanted to share some insights. First, the Pittsburgh hate for Philadelphia 100% exists. Their hate for the Flyers is arguably as large as their hate for the Ravens or Bengals. So much so that I had buddies from Pittsburgh tell me they couldn’t root for the Eagles in the Super Bowl because Eagles fans are also Flyers fans. Second, the difference between Philly being to Pittsburgh what New York is to us, is that whether we want to admit it Pittsburgh has had ridiculous success in the sports world outside of the Pirates, and has officially turned the corner from the rust belt steel town stereotype nationally. Pittsburgh is always on these “best”, “up and coming”, etc. lists of cities in much the same way cities like Austin and Nashville seem to show up. I believe success begets success so I’ll be interested to see how the national perception of Philadelphia continues to change as we enter a golden era for our pro sports teams.

  6. Appearently you never seen Pawnsylvania. You should work down at the wawa, I would only have to order a shorti considering all the filler you provide.

  7. Delicious cheesesteak versus stupid french fries-coleslaw-pastrami sandwich at Primantis?

Comments are closed.