Pledge Your Allegiance: Football

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The NFL season is now officially in the books. Week one's slate of games, which started Saturday and concluded last night with a pair of Monday Night Football games, is complete. College football just wrapped up their second week of games. So what better time to pledge your allegiance publicly than right now?

Here's the goal here. Either on your own blog, or Facebook or MySpace etc. I want you to declare your allegiance in any or all of the following categories;
  • NFL
  • NFL alternate
  • College
  • College alternate
Let's get started.

Leading off should be no surprise to anyone who reads this blog or knows me personally. Before all others comes this college football team. I was born and raised on this team and someday my future kids will be. I have taught my wife a lot about this team and she has become one of us. I love her.

I pledge allegiance to Penn State. It is hard for people to believe when they meet me, because I did not go to Penn State. In fact I turned down my offer to go somewhere else and that fact astounds people. I am a big fan. If people have questions about Penn State I am often the one they come too (By the way Mike, Evan Royster is really good, and Oregon State's defense is pretty bad). I know a lot about the history of Penn State and while I was too young to understand it all I am an active rooter against the Big East. I think my dad influenced me of the stubbornness of programs like Pitt, West Virginia, Syracuse etc. to go along with Paterno's idea of an eastern football conference. Once Penn State joined the Big Ten, the Big East was formed. Wussies.

Anyway I grew up in a house that planned their fall schedules around Penn State football schedules. Birthday parties were scheduled around Penn State's game against Michigan. When I was born my dad said to my mom "Great job! What's the Penn State score?" Penn State beat NC State that day 22-15. When many families put a star or angel on top of their Christmas tree, we put up a small cutout of Joe Paterno. The first game I ever went to Penn State beat Cincinnati 81-0. I went to Penn State's first ever Big Ten game, a 38-20 win over Minnesota. I will tell you that Penn State was the national champion in 1994 and scoff at the idea that Michigan and Nebraska were co national champs in 1997. That 1994 Penn State team would beat both of those 1997 teams.

I will root for Penn State until the die I die and I wouldn't have it any other way.

My secondary college team stems from my five years in the small college town, and as a marching band member I developed a close personal tie to this team. Today I follow the careers of the two players that made the team when I was living in the area.

I pledge allegiance (on a division two level) to Shippensburg University. The team may not be great but the 2004 season is one that will never be forgotten in my mind. Today John Kuhn is a fullback on the Green Bay Packers who sees a decent amount of playing time. Down in Atlanta Brent Grimes has fought to earn a starting spot at corner back. I still love the football team and check the scores each week in hopes that they surprised me with a win. Ship hasn't beaten IUP since the Reagan administration, but noen of that matters. Shippensburg has played in Michigan Stadium (and spanked Slippery Rock) in front of the largest attendence for a division two game. Shippensburg football has the Rock. The band plays a 70's swanky song. And the head coach's nickname is Rocky. Hail to the Dear Old Red and Blue.

What's not to love? Ok, on to the pros...

I pledge allegiance to the Philadelphia Eagles. I take with it the pain of losing three straight NFC Championship games, zero Super Bowl trophies, last winning a world championship in 1960, and years of ridicule from fans of the Cowboys, Steelers, Giants and Redskins asking me "How many rings you got?" I don't need championships to be loyal. Some day my team will have a parade, and when they do all the years of agony will add to the sweetness of winning.

I don't care to hear about reporters and beat writers rehashing of old stories from the 60's about how Philly fans booed Santa Claus, one of the most tired cliches in sports writing ever, or how the Eagles fans booed McNabb, another very common misconception and bending of the truth that never ceases to end. I proudly wear my Donovan McNabb jersey on Sundays. I know the Eagles fight song.


By my rules I allow for a fan of an NFL team to root for another NFL team under three somewhat strict conditions;
  1. The rooting interest stems from long time family history (My grand pop watched this team and taught me everything about them; my parents are from there and rooted for them)
  2. The secondary team does not conflict with your primary (local) team's division intentions (No rooting for the Chicago Bears AND Minnesota Vikings)
  3. Your primary team is your main rooting interest in any conflicting match-up (If you are a Miami Dolphins fan primarily and like the Detroit Lions and they play in the Super Bowl, you are still upset if the Lions win the Super Bowl - that is a funny statement in itself)
Passing these conditions I have picked up my secondary team from the AFC. Mind you this is a relatively new following for me as it centers around one player and one player only. My passion for the team will remain with them for as long as the player plays there, so I guess it is more fo an allegiance to the player.

I pledge secondary allegiance to the Houston Texans. The Houston Texans? That's right. Only one reason; Matt Schaub. I went to high school with Matt Schaub and have been am founding member of the Matt Schaub Fan Club. I can tell you all about the best high school football game in West Chester East history (56-28 over Coasteville to win the Ches-Mont championship), and I will tell you that Schaub that night made a real statement for himself. His passes were perfect, leading the Vikings to a 28-21 lead in the first half as both teams exchanged touchdown drives to start the game. But Schaub's passes were spiral perfect. Great range, great accuracey.

That is the night we all knew that Schaub was going to have a legitiamate shot at the NFL after his career at the University of Virginia. Now you may be wondering what I felt when Penn State played Virginia during Schaub's college career. Simple. I wanted Schaub to have a good game, but Virginia's defense to give up 50 points.

You would be hard pressed to find somebody who was more happy to see Schaub go to the Texans from the Atlanta Falcons than me.

So there you have it, my teams that I am rooting for. Who are pledging too? Either leave a comment or send me a link to your blog post about it. I'll add them here if I get any.

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