Bruce Boudreau won't be cheering for the Steelers
A few weeks back, uber D.C. sports blogger Chris Mottram posted his rankings of which teams disgruntled Redskins fans should be rooting for in the NFL playoffs. Coming in last place were the Pennsylvania duo of the Philadelphia Eagles and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Pittsburgh, in fact, earned the shortest exposition of all 12 playoff teams. It went like this:
Now, like many Washingtonians, I had the swellest of times on New Year's Eve in Pittsburgh, and found the city to be charming, its residents friendly and welcoming, its beer well-priced and its zucchini strips well-fried. Still, after the FedEx Field invasion, the ostentatious and self-congratulatory loyalty of displaced Western Pennsylvanians and the rivalry with the Penguins, it's impossible to argue with Mottram's ranking for a D.C. sports fan. Which means we should all be rooting for Green Bay on Sunday.
Now, normally -- in this day of color-coordinated athlete outfits and one-year free agency stays -- you wouldn't expect many D.C. sports figures to be in touch with the fans on a matter like this. Bruce Boudreau, though, is right there with you.
"I think Pittsburgh's gonna win," Boudreau said Wednesday morning on ESPN 980's Tony Kornheiser Show. "But I can't cheer for a team from Pittsburgh, so I'm hoping for Green Bay."
Red meat to the listeners, or the honest truth? I asked Boudreau a few hours later if he was serious.
"Yeah," he said. "It's Pittsburgh. Hate that city. Unless I was working there. Then I'd love the city."
Boudreau's charges, of course, will be facing the Penguins on Super Bowl Sunday, in a game that figures to be attended by more than a few Terrible Towels and Polamalu jerseys. So I asked the Caps whether they share their coach's feeling.
"I can understand where he's coming from," Karl Alzner said. "I think his hatred runs a little deeper than a lot of other peoples', but yeah, of course, anything Pittsburgh, there's a little something in the back of your head. For me, it's not too intense when it comes to football."
"I don't think anyone likes Pittsburgh too much, so we'll all root for Green Bay," Jason Chimera said. "And Green Bay is like the hometown of my Edmonton Eskimos, too -- same colors -- so I'll root for them."
"I haven't thought about it, to be honest," Tyler Sloan said. "Obviously, I've got the distaste for the Pittsburgh hockey team...."
"I think the Ottawa Rough Riders will probably win," Matt Bradley said, when I asked about the Super Bowl. Then I tried to rile him into some anti-Pittsburgh rhetoric, but he wasn't having it.
"I don't care. I don't care either way, but I respect what the Steelers have done," he said. "You've got to give Roethlisberger and the Steelers credit. They're always in the mix, and they've shown that they have the chops when it comes down to the big games and the big plays. They get it done. So I'd have to say Pittsburgh [will win]."
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