Another chapter in the sports rivalry between the cities of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh gets written today, albeit a much different one. The Flyers and Penguins play each other six times over a normal 82-game season, and can then meet in the playoffs for seven more as they did in April. The Phillies and Pirates play at least two series per season as well, and also could meet in the postseason -- if the Bucs ever got there.
The Eagles and Steelers meet just once every four years, unless they were both to wind up in the Super Bowl. It appears both could be a long way from reaching that goal before 2013.
The Steelers are 1-2 entering today, and there is a belief their entire campaign could hinge on today's result. That's not being melodramatic either, not in the AFC North where both the Ravens and Bengals are 3-1. Luckily for the Steelers, they are coming off of a bye and return three great players in Rashard Mendenhall, James Harrison, and Troy Polamalu.
The Birds are in much better shape by virtue of their 3-1 record alone. As everybody would be quick to tell you though, the three wins are by a combined four points, and the loss was a blowout. The Eagles are in fine position for now, but only as long as Michael Vick stops turning the ball over long enough for the offense to kick a few field goals.
Still, these may not be the powerhouse Steelers we are accustomed to, but perhaps an aging group whose best days are behind them. However, they are still dangerous, especially at Heinz Field where they rarely lose, least of all to an out-of-conference opponent.
So any way you look at it, this is a big game, even if it doesn't fit the mold of the traditional Philly-Pitt rivalry. One season is riding on it, another could be defined by it, and any way you look at it, Eagles-Steelers tends to be a battle of two NFL juggernauts.