As the final seconds ticked off the clock during the Patriots’ comeback win over the Jaguars in Sunday’s AFC championship game, I turned to a friend at the bar where we had gathered in hopes of watching Blake Bortles dethrone Tom Brady and said, “Minnesota better beat the Eagles, because I don’t want to have to root for this team in the Super Bowl.”
One of the few Patriots fans at the bar, who dropped an f-bomb in our direction after Danny Amendola’s go-ahead touchdown minutes earlier, then turned around and let out an obnoxious woooooo before heading for the door. She had about as much interest in watching the confetti fall during yet another AFC championship game celebration (that’s three in four years and eight since 2002 for the Patriots) as Bill Belichick did holding the Lamar Hunt Trophy. In that moment, I considered the icky possibility, should the Vikings not win the NFC championship game, of rooting for the Eagles in a Philadelphia-New England Super Bowl. Then I came to my senses and decided an Eagles fan in that situation would’ve tossed cheesesteak innards — or worse — in our faces on her way out.
The Vikings did not, as it turned out, win the NFC championship game, setting up the worst Super Bowl matchup for Redskins fans since 2005. Look, you can root for whomever you dang well please two Sundays from now, but if you’re a Redskins fan, you cannot, in good conscience, root for the Eagles.
Root for the commercials, root for Nate Sudfeld, root for Torrey Smith (he’s a Terp), root for former Wahoo and all around good dude Chris Long, root for a hoagie and Tastykake-induced food coma, root for the asteroid, root for no one, root for referee Gene Steratore’s index card, root for your Super Bowl square and ridiculous prop bets, but for the love of Santa Claus and police horses and the late Chief Zee, do not, under any circumstances, follow die-hard Redskins fan Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s lead and root for the Eagles.
The Redskins haven’t won squat in more than two decades, but no matter how bleak things have gotten, fans of the burgundy and gold have always been able to taunt Eagles fans about their team’s lack of a Super Bowl title (and, for a hot second, signing Tim Tebow). The Lombardi Trophy scoreboard in the rivalry, which hasn’t been updated in 26 years, reads 3-0 Washington. That’s part of what made the Gatorade shower the Eagles gave Coach Doug Pederson following their Week 1 win at FedEx Field so amusing. It’s not so funny now, with the Eagles one more improbable upset away from breaking through and rubbing it in Redskins fans’ faces every chance they get.
The Eagles are not America’s sweethearts nor America’s team. It’s admirable that they did what the Redskins could not by overcoming an absurd number of injuries this season, including one to their MVP-worthy quarterback, Carson Wentz, but they’re not a lovable underdog. They’re Zoltan, Hound of Dracula.
No, the alternative isn’t much better, which is what makes rooting for the asteroid such an attractive choice. The Patriots are smug, arrogant cheaters who get all the calls, and they’ve got an insufferable fan base to boot. They’re also not a division rival the Redskins and their fans have to see twice a year, which is another reason you should hope the Eagles’ “championship” gear is shipped to developing and impoverished nations next month and not spotted throughout the lower bowl of FedEx Field next season.
The Patriots are already among the greatest dynasties most of us will see in our lifetimes, so what’s a sixth Super Bowl ring for Brady, Bill Belichick and Co.? Let the Redskins (heh), or Jimmy Garoppolo, or the Jaguars take another shot at toppling the dynasty next year. Root for whomever you’d like in the Super Bowl; just don’t root for the Eagles and their fans to get that satisfaction.
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