Highway signs flash message supporting Pittsburgh, Philadelphia teams.
HARRISBURG, PA — After the successes by Pennsylvania’s two pro-football teams in the NFL Playoffs last Sunday, officials at the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission are rooting for a matchup of Keystone State teams for the big game on Feb. 1.
“It’s not often that you’ll see two teams from the same state competing for a national title,” said Turnpike CEO Joe Brimmeier. “In fact, it’s never happened for Pennsylvania NFL teams before, though it’s been close.”
Brimmeier said the Turnpike has an interest in these playoffs because it is the artery linking the state’s largest cities — cities whose NFL teams account for two of four teams now vying for the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Precisely 294 miles of toll road separate the Turnpike’s Pittsburgh Interchange (Exit 57) and Philadelphia Interchange (Exit 351).
“The Pennsylvania Turnpike is the physical connection between these two cities located at opposite ends of our state,” he said. “If the Steelers and Eagles both prevail this weekend, Super Bowl XLIII will probably be remembered as the Turnpike Super Bowl.”
The Pennsylvania Turnpike hopes to generate excitement among travelers by programming some electronic road signs with a message of team spirit. Depending on which direction you’re travelling, the messages, posted yesterday, read, “Go Steelers, Go Eagles, Turnpike Super Bowl.”
“Naturally, we had to list the Steelers first on the signs in Western Pennsylvania and the Eagles at the top on the Eastern Pennsylvania signs,” said Brimmeier, a Western Pennsylvania native and Steelers fan.
“There’s a lot of buzz out there about the chance of an all-Pennsylvania game, and we have many motorists and employees who are devoted fans of these teams,” said Brimmeier. “So we felt it was important to commemorate this accomplishment. After all, it’s the last stop before reaching Tampa Bay and the nation’s biggest sporting event.”
Brimmeier admitted that the Turnpike doesn’t expect to benefit by an increase in traffic from an all-Pennsylvania championship game; in fact, the big game will likely keep people closer to home that Sunday. He said it’s really just a matter of pride in our state.
“No matter what the outcome of this weekend’s matchups, Pennsylvania wins just for having two teams reach the conference finals,” Brimmeier said. “We at the Turnpike congratulate the players, coaches, management and fans of both organizations for an outstanding season and wish them the best in this Sunday’s games.”