With the kickoff to the season's final game looming a few hours away, Eagles fans find themselves in the predicament of choosing which team to root for. The sentimental Eagles fan might choose to support a former Eagle in his quest to get a championship ring. Unfortunately, neither the Packers' roster nor the Steelers' squad is littered with former Birds.
In fact, only one player on either team's active roster is a former Eagle, and the player in question never played in a regular season game for the Eagles. Packers linebacker/special teamer Matt Wilhelm was signed by the Eagles during the 2009 training camp and was cut during the final roster cutdown. That's it for the active rosters.
Eugene Bright, a tight end on the Steelers practice squad, also spent the 2009 preseason with the Eagles and did not make that year's 53-man roster. Beyond that, the Eagles connection to both Super Bowl rosters is extremely thin, due, in large part,to the overwhelmingly homegrown construction of both rosters.
There are two other tangential connections in the form of siblings. Steelers starting running back Rashard Mendenhall's older brother Walter, also a running back, signed with the Eagles as a rookie free agent in 2009 but was cut before that summer's training camp. Going back further, Casey Poppinga, the older brother of Packers linebacker Brady Poppinga, spent time on the Eagles practice squad in 2004 as a tight end.
As for familiar names and former enemies, the Steelers do have former longtime Dallas Cowboys offensive tackle Flozell Adams, so perhaps the Eagles fan with a schadenfreude bent will root against the Steelers to spite the former Cowboy.
Meanwhile, the case for the Packers takes into account that they ended the Eagles' season. While that loss still stings, of course, there's at least some consolation in losing to the eventually champions. Sure, it's not much, but it's something.
Who are you rooting for?
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 3:30 p.m., February 6