Philadelphia. The City of Brotherly Love. A fan base classified, though often unfairly, as unruly and vicious.
A blue collar city where its residents work hard and expect the same from its professional sports teams.
You see, that's all Philadelphia fans want from their teams. Leave it all out on the playing field. Give it everything you've got. If you push yourself to the limit and fall short, so be it. You lost honorably.
Which is why football is the perfect sport for this great city. These modern day gladiators throw on pads and a helmet and sacrifice their bodies every Sunday afternoon.
Sure, Philly goes nuts for all of it's professional sports teams as well as a college basketball scene rich in tradition and history—but it has always been football that brought out the true passion.
The Eagles have been the toast of the town for decades. Even through those grim years when Rich Kotite roamed the sidelines of Veteran's Stadium, families and friends would set up camp hours before games in freezing temperatures to eat, drink and be merry. Even with inches of white snow on the ground, all anyone could see was green.
In the last 10 years, the Eagles have made it to five NFC Championship games and a Super Bowl. An impressive run for Andy Reid and his regime.
Yet, as I write this, it's the team across Pattison Avenue that has taken control of the city.
Philadelphia is no longer a green city. Relax environmentalists ... we are still environmentally conscious. It's just that we are a red city now.
Although most Philly fans will tell they don't care who the opponent is when the series opens Wednesday, the city collectively prays for the hated Yankees.
Ahhh, New York. Our hated cousin to the north. This matchup features the blue collar Fightin' Phils and the white collar New York Yankees, who have bought many championships in their day and attempted to buy another one this past offseason.
A dream matchup for Philadelphians.
You see, this Phillies team is the polar opposite of the Eagles from management, to coaches, to players, to style of play.
The Phillies brass goes out and gets the pieces they need to win a World Championship now (i.e. Cliff Lee), whereas Eagles brass are always looking for bargain basement guys who won't possibly impede the salary cap in five years.
Charlie Manuel? A down to earth guy who is as honest as they come. He may not be a professor of public speaking but he gets his points across to his players and the media.
Andy Reid? Robotic. He just doesn't get this town. His infuriating press conferences are nothing more than Andy dancing around questions and seemingly reading from the same script week after week (i.e. "I've got to do a better job of putting guys in the right places").
The Players? Who would like to punch Donovan McNabb in the face the next time he throws a ball to the feet of a wide open receiver and smiles? You can put your hand down now. Do you see Ryan Howard smiling after he strikes out?
The style of play? It takes 27 hard earned outs to beat this Phillies team, just ask the Dodgers. It seems the Eagles can't put together a run of consistent quarters let alone games, just ask the Raiders.
The current Eagles organization just doesn't get this city. They are not a likeable team. From a Public Relations standpoint they are as fan friendly as an old junkyard dog.
The Phils, on the other hand, accumulated a roster of hard working likeable players that have captivated this city. They are fun to watch and root for. To us, the winning is justice through karma for the 10,000-plus losses we have endured.
There's a reason Rocky was set in Philadelphia. We are a blue collar, underdog city.
Bring on the Yankees, our Apollo Creed—and go rent the Rocky series if you don't know how it ends.
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