When the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Philadelphia Eagles squared off this past weekend in a week five NFL match-up, PA was once again sent into a state of sporting polarization, as always happens when teams from its two largest cities face each other in any competition.
With offices in Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, and Wayne, PA, Bravo Group’s sporting fandom doesn’t shy far from the Pennsylvania norm.
Monday morning conference calls during the fall are often filled with banter exchanged between Bravo employees on opposite sides of the state about the weekend’s action in college and professional football.
Bill Miller, director of Bravo’s Pittsburgh office, explains his Steelers fandom and his strategies for trash talking to Topper Ray, Chris Getman, and Chris Bravacos, Philadelphia Eagles fans who work in Bravo’s Wayne and Harrisburg offices.
“I live in Pittsburgh,” says Miller. “If you live, have lived, or hope to live in Pittsburgh, you must root for the Steelers. I relish Sundays on which the Steelers play the Eagles because I know we’ll win. I don’t even do anything to celebrate when we win because I’m used to it. Even if we do lose, I just remind the other guys that we have six Super Bowl wins and they have zero.”
On Sunday, the Steelers beat the Eagles 16-14 by kicking a field goal in the game’s closing seconds.
As expected, Miller is doing absolutely nothing to celebrate because Steelers victories have become ordinary for him.
Sporting rivalries within Bravo have become so intense that the firm’s female contingent is down to talk smack, too.
Megan Dapp, who works in Bravo’s Harrisburg office, is a Steelers fan. She nominates Eagles’ quarterback Michael Vick, who had problems turning the ball over on Sunday, most notably on the Steelers one-yard-line after a 60-yard drive in the first quarter, as Pittsburgh’s MVP on Sunday.
Even Jennifer Riley, who works in Bravo’s Wayne office just 20 miles outside of Philadelphia, can show no love for the local team.
“There are six reasons why I am a Steelers fan,” Riley says, referencing the Steelers’ six championships.
While Bravo’s Steelers fans have been vocal, Eagles supporters within the organization have been tough to come by in the wake of their team’s crushing defeat Sunday.
The B.I.G. News sent emails to Topper Ray, Chris Getman, Brad Cary, and Chris Bravacos, Bravo’s noted supporters of Philadelphia sports teams, none of which were returned by Tuesday’s deadline.
Miller questions the legitimacy of his co-workers fandom.
“It’s peculiar that they won’t speak about their team after a loss like this,” Miller says. “Actually, I don’t even think they commented on the game last week before it happened, so it’s almost like they knew the loss was coming. I question their loyalty to the Philadelphia Eagles franchise.”
When the professional football rivalry within Bravo becomes as noncompetitive as it is now, Bravo employees still clash over other sports teams.
Kim Whetsell, a University of Pittsburgh graduate, notes that she and Brad Cary, a die-hard Penn State fan, often exchange barbs about their alma maters.
Other allegiances to sports teams within Bravo come straight out of left field. For example, Brian Abela and Bill Spinner, Bravo Harrisburg workers, support the Detroit Lions football team and the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team, respectively.
Most Bravo employees are kind enough to sympathize with Abela.