Loser-ville Philly versus Boston: Matt Burke on the backlash

Philly, versus, Boston, Matt Burke

MINNEAPOLIS — We’re only five days away from Super Bowl LII and I’ve gotta ask: Where’s all the vitriol?

I’m sure we’ll get there by kickoff, but one would have though by now that the rabid fan bases of Boston and Philly would be at one another’s throats.

I attempted to play a small part in re-igniting the fire that once was the Boston – Philly sports rivalry on Monday when I ran this column in Metro Boston, titled, “Philly Forever Loser-ville.” Considering that no sports fan in Boston or Philadelphia born post-1977 or so even remembers any sort of Boston – Philly sports rivalry, I had to go beyond the sports world to get the juices flowing.

I tried to play up every Philly stereotype in the book, but left out the tired, “Hey, did you know they booed Santa Claus?” and “Hey, did you know they cheered when Michael Irvin suffered a career-ending injury?”

That, and jokes about punching Mr. Ed in the jaw, I figured were just too easy.

A couple of tired angles that the rest of the country – namely Philly – likes to bring up consistently when it comes to Boston is that 1. Everybody in the city is a racist, and 2. The Patriots are cheaters. 

Boston people have to defend this garbage all the time, but I make one joke about blue Christmas lights and you would have thought I took a dump on the Rocky Steps or something.

I am fully aware that everyone in Philly is not a sucker-punching scumbag who eats nothing but cheesesteaks and drinks nothing but Yuengling. Just as Philly should know that everyone in Boston is not a racist Irishman who steals QB signals on the sidelines in Foxborough.

Look, I get it. This is the way the world works. I could go on all day about how Boston is not even close to being a “racist city.” I could go on all day about how that stereotype is based on something that happened 40 friggin’ years ago, and how the Adam Jones incident at Fenway last spring was entirely a “one bad apple” scenario. I could go on all day about how Philly has its own racial issues (racist fliers at Temple University last month, PhillyMag columnist saying Philly is more racist than Charlottesville this past August), and how there are “bad apples” in every U.S. city. 

But I know that the national narratives surrounding both respective cities are not going to change anytime soon. Most people simply read headlines about other cities, and don’t put any sort of real research into the topics. Why? Because it’s not their city. Who cares? Run with the stereotype.

As for the “cheating Patriots,” I could also go on all day about how the SpyGate and Deflategate scandals were both entirely overblown. It’s, like, my favorite topic to argue about. But Philly fans don’t want to hear about league memos sent to every single team in the NFL about filming sideline signals, and they don’t want to hear about how cold air changes the pressure in a football. It’s boring, and much more fun to paint with a broad brush and call the Patriots “cheaters.”

So, because Philly has won just one championship in the past 35 years, my broad brush figured “Loser-ville” was an apropos title. Maybe the Eagles can flip that script on Sunday, but I doubt it.

In the meantime, lighten up Philly.

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