I should have known I would eventually get caught.
As a high-profile blogging personality, living a normal life has gotten so much tougher in this day and age of the paparazzi and camera phones. But this time I'm going to beat the media to the punch. I'm going to stand up, recognize my actions, and take the heat from the public reaction.
Now that I've officially announced I'm moving to Denver, I feel ready to come clean and clear up all the rumors that have been swirling the last few months.
Yes, that is me in the picture above and yes, that is me - a life-long, die-hard Philadelphia Eagles fan - wearing a the jersey of another team (A Brandon Marshall Denver Broncos' jersey to be exact).
It feels good to finally get that out.
Like any good affair, I don't know how it happened or where it started. There was a chain reaction of exterior events that I had no control over that led to the moment captured above.
In some ways, I think it was always just meant to be.
Follow me, if you dare, down the dark twisted path that brought me to this act of betrayal.
- When the Eagles were really bad in the late 90's (they went 6-9-1 in 1997, 3-13 in 1998, and were 5-11 in 1999) I had to find someone else to follow after the Birds' season was over by mid October. And that just happened to be when the Denver Broncos were really good and won back-to-back Super Bowls in '98 and '99. The Broncos were a safe pick for me because they had an aging super star quarterback in John Elway that every one was pulling for to get a title, they were an AFC team so there was no inner-conference conflict with the Eagles in the NFC, and there was no intense pressure on me for them to win. If they won, great. If not, I just went on with my life. They actually made it fun to watch football for once.
- No one believed me at the time, but when the Eagles made their Super Bowl run in 2004-05 I said I would probably be done as a Philly fan if they won it all. I even wrote in a blog post that I would be like a thief in a movie that just disappears to an exotic island after the huge heist, never to be heard from again. Life as a Philadelphia sports fan has been taxing since day one. Not just because of the losing but because of the almost perverted enjoyment of the torture. That wears on you after a while.
- In the middle of the NFL season last year, I was lucky enough to pick up a then unknown Denver Bronco wide receiver named Brandon Marshall for one of my fantasy football teams. I think I only picked him up because one of my starting wideouts was either hurt or on a bye week. Only once I put Marshall in my lineup, I couldn't get him out. He blew up as a premiere WR and basically led my team to my first ever fantasy football championship and actually scored the winning points in the championship game against my buddy Chris. I knew then that he would get a free pass from me for the rest of his career.
- Fast forward to the Phillies winning the World Series this year and I have to admit that there has been a cathartic release amongst Philly sports fans everywhere. The Eagles are terrible this season, but the for the first time I honestly don't care because that angst is gone. Andy Reid blows two timeouts in a close game to the Giants on back-to-back challenges? Don't care. With the season on the line, the Eagles tie the 1-8 Bengals? Don't care. Quarterback Donovan McNabb sounds like an idiot when he admits he didn't know that games can end in ties? Don't care. The Phillies handled their business during the playoffs and won the World Series. I got to celebrate it with my Dad and close friends at the Monarch and I have the t-shirt to prove it. No matter what happens from here on out, that moment can never be taken away from me. My worst day can only be so bad from now on.
- It should also be noted that I didn't buy the Marshall jersey myself, my Girlfriend bought it for me as a present. I don't think I could have pulled the trigger on that purchase in good conscience. Since it was a gift, it would almost be rude of me if I didn't occasionally wear it, right? That's only polite (never mind the fact that I had been asking for it for months!). Honestly, it did feel a little weird when I put it on for the first time. I had never seen myself in any colors other than the Eagles. I legitimately felt like I was cheating a little bit and I guess I was.
So there you go.
Flimsy and flawed, that's my defense.
Different people have different rules about who you can and can not root for as a fan. I've always been from the "you pick a team and pull for them until you die" school of thinking but I feel like I'm starting to soften as I get older.
You like who you like and you can't help it (the only no-no is front running. There are way more Celtics-Giants-Red Sox fans today than there were a few years ago and that's just annoying).
I'm going to be living in Denver and am kinda excited about being in a town that has pro teams and supports them instead of the Redskins-Steelers-Cowboys-Dolphins bouillabaisse that is the Hampton Roads sports community.
I know I'm always going to be an Eagle fan at heart for the rest of my life and that's something I will always share with my dad and buddy Kevin. But if I wear my Marshall jersey to a Broncos party out in Denver or if my kid is running around in a Rockies' t-shirt someday, I don't think I should have my fan rights suspended.
Now if I let my kid become a Cowboys fan, that's a different story.