Note: I wrote this column last year and decided to tweak it, update it, and publish a new version for 2018.
We all know one of these guys:
“Born and raised in Marlton! But I’m a lifelong Cowboys fan because my dad knew Nate Newton’s cousin.”
“Love the star on the helmet! I used to watch Roger Staubach on television back in 1974.”
“Well I grew up in Iowa, but we didn’t have a team, so I picked the Cowboys.”
These are all valid reasons to be a Dallas fan, according to Dallas fans. None of them involve being from Texas or ever having visited. “America’s Team” welcomes all front-runners and fakes.
This topic comes up every season. Eagles vs. Cowboys. It’s Dallas week on sports talk radio and disgusting locals crawl out their garbage pits to explain how they grew up in Northeast Philadelphia but support a 3-5 football team that hasn’t won diddly poo since the 1990s and is now being run into the ground by an owner who clings to the past and holds nobody accountable. The Cowboys “ain’t been nothing” for years, as Stephen A Smith recently said, yet you still have all of these bandwagon jabronies clinging to Dallas as if Troy Aikman is still out there slinging the ball around.
Philly is old-school and parochial. You grow up here, you support Philly teams. Eagles games are a family affair. You build memories through tangible experiences, like actually physically being inside of Veterans Stadium or meeting your favorite player after the game. You understand the city’s blue collar, non-cosmopolitan roots and why sport is a common thread. The third-shift factory worker who I saw puking outside of Les and Doreen’s in Fishtown last week might not have much in common with Rand Spear, the accident lawyer, but both were probably standing somewhere on Broad Street nine months ago, watching the Birds’ celebrate their first Super Bowl win.