Living in South Central Pennsylvania I am surrounded by an unusual combination of football loyalties, which falls into four general groups.
This area is sort of a "funneling point" for people who have moved from other parts of the state and country. The Harrisburg/Lancaster/York area has generally had more job growth, so people (like me) move here.
The first group are the natives. These people complain about how development has ruined the area (which, honestly it has) and are Philadelphia Eagles fans. Eagles fans can best be described as angry. They've dealt with failure after failure and generally don't expect the best from their team and give up quickly on them. They're the reason Donovan McNabb won't be an Eagle next year if they lose to the Cardinals this weekend.
The second group are transplants or children of transplants from Western Pennsylvania. My friend Matt falls into this category. These people are Pittsburgh fans. And Pittsburgh fans are generally positive about their teams. I don't know how many times I've been told about all the "young talent" that the Pirates have and "how good they're going to be next year." These fans are the reason that Ben Roethlisberger will probably always be a Steeler.
The third group are the Maryland transplants. They can be either Redskins or Ravens fans. They usually only come out of the woodwork when their team is doing well, usually in the form of simply donning a jersey or hat. I think they're scared of the Eagles fans.
The fourth, smallest group (to which I belong) consists of the transplants and the occasional native who follow a non-local team. We're a hodgepodge of Bills, Cowboys, Packers and Buccaneers fans who moved to this area and we usually don't say much unless our team is doing well.
You can see now potential unending annoyance I could be facing between January 18 and February 1. If the Eagles and the Steelers win their conferences and face each other in the SuperBowl, life will be darn near unbearable around here. The trash talk will be unending and I will be suppressing the urge to pummel perfect strangers day in and day out.
Eagles fans, while usually negative will be constantly spouting trash talk. This talk will mostly come in the form of "Steelers suck". Because "Everything sucks" is the official motto of the city of Philadelphia. I think. And if it's not, it should be.
Steeler fans will also be constantly spouting trash talk. Pittsburgh trash talk is usually at least a little more thought out. It will come in the form of "McNabb won't be able to handle the Steelers pass defense." Or "Westbrook won't be able to handle the Steelers run defense." And it may or may not be followed up with "besides, the Eagles suck."
So that is why I'm spurning those around me by rooting for the Cardinals and the Ravens this weekend. Because an all-Pennsylvania SuperBowl will simply be a nightmare scenario.