I read an absolutely brilliant article the other day on how Eagles Fans are not true lovers of the sport of football and was surprised (in an appreciative way) to actually see such words printed in the terribly biased Philly sports media. The article echoes a theory I’ve maintained and publicly advertised for the past five years. To Eagles fans (and yes, this extends into other sports, as well), the NFL is comprised of one team – their own. There are no Sunday night games between the Rams and Raiders. There’s really no such thing as college football; Ohio State vs. Michigan – who gives a shit, right!? Hell, the Super Bowl doesn’t even matter to these folks if the Eagles aren’t participating. And while, like anything else, there are exceptions to the rule, I’m confident in saying this is characteristic of the majority.
For years, this truth has annoyed me to no end. The amount of futile attempts I’ve made to discuss a non-Eagles or non-Phillies topic with a local fan boggles my mind. And if you cannot discuss anything other than a single team, you’re just not a real fan of the sport. I’ve never understood it, and I’m happy to see that someone has made the same observations. They’re like the Penn State fans of the NFL, and I like to think that this is the sort of thing that gives outsiders reason to doubt Philly as a true sports town.
The new season approaches quickly, and for me, living here in Philly, it’s more of the same in the local sports media and fan environments. I’ll just keep enjoying my favorite college football rivalries that have absolutely nothing to do with Philly, and I’ll continue to catch every single NFL game that I possibly can (regardless of who is playing). And if the Raiders or Lions are losing 31-0, I’ll just keep on watching. Because it’s football, and it’s my favorite sport in the world.
I don’t mean to bash Eagles fans (disclaimer: I’m not one of them), but really, it’s just much more fun to be a fan of the entire sport.