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.
Pittsburgh doesn’t have an NBA team.
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:
There are no worse fans in sports than Philly fans. I'm guessing many — not all — are subhuman. I wanted to laugh watching their "celebration" Sunday night but I was too busy crying. What a joke they are. What an embarrassment.
— Ron Cook (@RonCookPG) January 22, 2018
And this moron:
Why the ***k is the Cup in Philadelphia? It should get there honestly, or not be there at all. Put on your white gloves, &get it the ***k out of there. https://t.co/y8FTLNbfqu
— Mark Madden (@MarkMaddenX) April 6, 2018
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.