Birds fan Ariane Herrera and her future husband, a Patriots fan, at an Eagles game in 2019. (Courtesy Ariane Herrera)

When the Eagles clinched the playoff game against the Minnesota Vikings that secured them a spot in Super Bowl LII, lifelong fan Ariane Herrera was watching at her partner’s parents’ house.

That partner, however, was a Patriots fan — and he laughed at the idea that Philadelphia might stand a chance against New England in the big game. 

“I just looked him straight in the eye,” Herrera told Billy Penn. “I was like, ‘I am not watching this game with you.’ And we didn’t.”

Conversations might’ve gotten a little heated that season, but it wasn’t a relationship-ender — the couple got married last year. 

Despite Philly’s reputation for having a rabid fan base, sports rivalry apparently isn’t a dealbreaker when it comes to finding the right romantic partner. Most Eagles fans are fine with being in a relationship with someone who doesn’t share their loyalties to the team, according to an online survey of NFL fans by sports website The Grueling Truth.

Just 21% of Birds fans surveyed said they want a partner who also supports their favorite team. That stat is pretty middle-of-the-pack — 11 other teams’ fans also fell in the 20% to 30% range.

The Grueling Truth says they surveyed 1,089 sports fans from all 50 states to come up with the results. Respondents were 69% male, 30% female, and 1% nonbinary, and the average respondent was 42 years old.

Arizona Cardinals fans were the most likely to find shared team loyalties important (67% said they’d want a partner who’s also a fan), and New Orleans Saints fans were the least likely (0%).

Billy Penn did our own unofficial survey via instagram, and the results weren’t too far off from The Grueling Truth’s results. Asked if they would date someone who doesn’t like the Eagles, just 18% chose “No way, go Birds.”

Results from Billy Penn’s survey about dating and Eagles fandom.

While 42% said football allegiances don’t really matter at all, others were only conditionally willing to put aside team loyalty: 40% said they’d be cool with dating someone who isn’t a fan — as long as they don’t support a rival team.

Carlos Feliciano, an Eagles fan who lives in South Philly, said cheering for the New York Giants or Dallas Cowboys would be a dealbreaker.

That’s a moot point for Feliciano, though. Both his wife and his almost 2-year-old daughter love the Birds, and game days mean putting on their jerseys, making some food, tossing around a little football, and singing “Fly Eagles Fly” whenever the team scores a touchdown.

His daughter has even learned the “E-A” part of the chant after hearing her parents yell it so many times. (The “G-L-E-S” part is still a work in progress.)

Carlos Feliciano and daughter, a budding Eagles fan. (Courtesy Carlos Feliciano)

His family’s shared support for the team adds “another level of camaraderie” to their lives, Feliciano said, giving them something more to bond over and to brighten their days.

“It just adds another layer of love,” Feliciano said. “It’s like you’re part of another family … you have your family, then you have the Eagles family and the fandom.”

For Herrera, her husband’s Patriots fandom has become less relevant to their lives since Super Bowl LII (and Tom Brady’s departure). “It’s kind of funny now to look back on how heated some of our conversations got during the playoffs that year,” she said.

Her husband “lost graciously” back in 2018 and was happy for her, although Herrera said he still maintains that there “wasn’t a Super Bowl LII — it just skipped from LI to LIII.”

Lifelong Eagles fan Ariane Herrera at age 5. (Courtesy Ariane Herrera)

So, if you’re one of the 79% who think it’s not essential to date another Eagles fan, what should you do if you end up in a relationship with a fan of a rival?

Ignore your partner “as much as possible,” Herrera recommended, especially if it gets into a postseason situation. “Just stay in your own lane and let them talk their crap and let the Eagles … do what they do.”

Asha Prihar is a general assignment reporter at Billy Penn. She has previously written for several daily newspapers across the Midwest, and she covered Pennsylvania state government and politics for The...