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Posted at 1:49 PM ET, 02/ 2/2011

Bruce Boudreau won't be cheering for the Steelers

By Dan Steinberg

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]."

By Dan Steinberg  | February 2, 2011; 1:49 PM ET
Categories:  Caps, Redskins  
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Matt Bradley, of course, is the only one of the players on this Caps team who has actually played for Pittsburgh.

Still, I'm glad he's rooting for a defunct CFL team to win the Super Bowl.

Posted by: DC_BCF | February 2, 2011 2:01 PM | Report abuse

I mean, you really can't expect Boudreau to root against the team where the fans where huge pieces of cheese on their heads.

Posted by: RoachVA141 | February 2, 2011 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Boudreau's hatred of all things Pittsburgh is getting a little sad and ridiculous. Maybe he should concern himself more with beating teams within the Southeast division rather than obsess about Pittsburgh 24/7.

Posted by: LonnieBeale1 | February 2, 2011 6:46 PM | Report abuse

What exactly were people expecting? Of course he's going to root against Pittsburgh.
For whatever reason(s), the Pens are the Caps' greatest rival, at least to the Caps. As a Pens' fan I can tell you that the Flyers are the Pens' greatest rival.
That the Pens have dispatched the Caps in the playoffs twice recently only adds fuel to it...especially because the Caps were favored in each series.
I would have been shocked to hear anything different from Boudreau.
Bruce really reminds me of the guy from Monopoly. Put a top hate and monocle on him and they're twins.

Posted by: BigDaddy651 | February 3, 2011 11:03 AM | Report abuse

"Still, after the FedEx Field invasion, the ostentatious and self-congratulatory loyalty of displaced Western Pennsylvanians...."

Crap. Did you ever consider that there is something deeper about why there SHOULD be pride in and respect for a team with owners like the Rooney family, players like Polomalu who give 110% every damn moment they are on the field or and Coachs like Noll, Cowher, and Tomlin who consistently get the very best out of their players?

The Steelers are by no means perfect. Big Ben's digressions an example. But even then, look at how he handled it - taking his medicine, going the extra steps to apologize to his fans and teammates and busting his ass on the field.

The Redskins - from Snyder down to Fat Albert and Clinton (I'm an MVP) Portis. There is nothing from the top on down that could hold a candle to the role model the Steelers represent on the importance of being a cohesive, unselfish TEAM.

So quit being envious and suggesting that it's ostentatiousness that fills Fed Ex field with Terrible Towels. It's not that, it's RESPECT - which is something that too many Washington teams forget they need to earn.

Posted by: enovak1 | February 3, 2011 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Respect has nothing to do with it. The stadium is way too big (91,704 ). Heinz Field seats 65,050. There are a lot of folks that come to DC for work and support their "home" teams. Tickets in DC are expensive, season ticket holders sell their tickets to recoup some of their money. Stop trying to paint it as if the Steelers are some rare breed. I attended the Steelers vs. the Pats this season and had no problem getting a ticket. If DC locals upped and moved to Western PA - the same thing would happen.

I recall seeing an awful lot of Red at Heinz Field for the Winter Classic. Does that mean Pitt doesn't love their Pens? No.

As for Big Ben - please stop trying to defend him. If he wasn't white - a four game suspension would have been the least of his worries. Just ask Vick - who served real "hard" time, and has paid his dues. If the Steelers where losing, all this love for Big Ben would be out the window. Fans will overlook anything as long as their team wins. Do you think Ravens fans love Ray Lewis? Of course. Because he is a winner and a Hall of Famer.

And the towels, please, what a stupid gimmick. A radio gimmick from the 70s no less.

Posted by: tylerdurden1 | February 3, 2011 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Enovak, yeah, ostentatious and WRONG.

You call yourself the city of champions. All of your teams put together have won 14 titles. Congratulations.

But seeing how the Yankees have won 27 titles by themselves, to even attempt to claim that Pittsburgh is the city of champions is pathetic. And then when you add in the three titles from the Giants and the four titles from the Rangers, it's even more laughable. That's also without adding in the Mets, Islanders, or Jets.

Oh, but that's New York, so it's not a fair comparison? Okay, fine. The Canadians have won 24 Stanley cups by themselves.

City of champions? Only if you're delusional.

Posted by: tonyw44 | February 3, 2011 9:44 PM | Report abuse

Tylerdurden1you need a class in elementary logic. Or maybe you took too many shots to the head in Fight Club. WTF does the size of FedEx field have to do with anything? By your logic, your stadium should be overrun with Ravens, Eagles and NYG fans every time you play them. But the truth is you've never seen 1/3 that many opposing teams fans in your shabby ghetto stadium. Steeler nation exists because our franchise isn't run by a money grubbing little gnome playing his own wet dream fantasy football game. FedEx is the worst fan experience in the NFL. Snyder has destroyed a once great franchise through greed and mismanagement. Instead of hating the our team you should be trying to emulate them. But then that's not the Washington way is it? Good luck racing Jerry Jones to the bottom every year.

Posted by: jtfiore1 | February 5, 2011 3:32 AM | Report abuse

Hey tonyw44 before you start pulling other cities championship numbers out of your butt you may want to mention that your hockey and baseball teams have NEVER WON A CHAMPIONSHIP. NADA ZILCH ZERO.

Posted by: jtfiore1 | February 5, 2011 3:51 AM | Report abuse

"I recall seeing an awful lot of Red at Heinz Field for the Winter Classic. Does that mean Pitt doesn't love their Pens? No."

That is because the league gave a large percentage of the tickets to Washington for them to sell to their fans and season ticket holders.


Posted by: Mitch9 | February 5, 2011 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Also, as old championships go: you cannot compare Stanley Cup victories now with the ones that happened several decades ago. There were SIX, count them, SIX teams vying for a title so the odds were pretty strong that the original six teams will have a lot of titles. So grats to the Canadians for all of their Stanley Cup victories but they did not have to go through a full 82 game season and then 4 rounds of best-of-7s to win many of them.

Also, who cares about baseball?

Posted by: Mitch9 | February 5, 2011 6:31 PM | Report abuse

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