AFC title game: Divided family loyalties in Warwick – Times Herald-Record

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WARWICK — The Goldbergs are the model American family, yet their neighbors are worried about what might happen Sunday. One is thinking about preemptively hanging yellow police tape around the Goldbergs’ house. Another is considering sending over a divorce lawyer.

They are kidding, of course. But when Bruce Goldberg’s Steelers take on his wife Carmela’s Jets at 6:30 p.m. Sunday in the AFC championship game, tensions will be at an all-time high in the Goldberg household.

It all started about 35 years ago, when Carmela, a young Mets fan, decided that since the Jets used the same field at Shea Stadium, well, she’d root for Gang Green.

Bruce became attached to the Steelers in 1969, when Pittsburgh played his father’s beloved Giants twice that year. Self-described as “a very rebellious kid,” Bruce latched onto the Steelers and never let go after his father told him to stick with the team he had picked.

Nearly every Sunday the Goldbergs don their uniforms before they hunker down at home for the games — they did travel to Detroit to see the Jets win 23-20 in overtime on Nov. 7 and have been to Heinz Field prior to that. For Carmela, it’s a Mark Sanchez T-shirt and lucky pajama bottoms. For Bruce, it’s a vintage John Stallworth jersey.

During the regular season, the Jets and Steelers often play in the same afternoon time slot, so who wins the television privilege? They both do. With a pair of TV sets, they can watch the Jets on cable and the Steelers on DirecTV, simultaneously.

“I get the sound,” Carmela laughed.

The Goldbergs have two teenage children and, of course, their allegiances are split. Their daughter is a Sanchez fan (she supposedly backs the rest of the Jets as well). Their son, who proudly wears a Troy Polamalu jersey to school on occasion, is a Steelers backer.

For their family vacation this past summer, the Goldbergs didn’t go down the shore or visit an amusement park. Nope. They took a trip to Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa., site of Steelers training camp.

Football eats up a great deal of the family’s free time during the week as well. A few months ago, Carmela started a Twitter account (@Mela113) where she shares her Gang Green-related thoughts (“Does anyone else miss all the smack talk this week. Its like a love fest yuck!”) and chats directly, yet briefly, with Jets players.

“Damien Woody and Nick Mangold are the best at responding to you,” she said. “It’s fun. You get to hear from people who are season-ticket holders and fans that have the same feelings and intensity as you do.”

In the green glow of the lights Carmela left hanging to bring a bit of Jets cheer to January, she speaks in the “us” of a die-hard fan. No matter what happens Sunday evening, it will be a special, if not stressful, night for that other “we” in her life, her family.

“We just looked at each other and laughed,” Carmela said of Bruce’s reaction after realizing the Jets and Steelers would meet in the title game. “Oh, this is just horrible. But then we realized that one of us is going to the Super Bowl.”

Carmela Goldberg

How long have you been a Jets fan: About 35 years.

Favorite players: Current, Mark Sanchez; all-time, Curtis Martin.

Least favorite player: Neil O’Donnell.

Favorite moment of being a Jets fan: “It changes all the time, but probably beating the Patriots last week.”

Do the Jets have a chance to win Sunday: “They absolutely have a chance. Everybody has a chance. You never know what’s going to happen. I mean, who would have thought they could have beat the Patriots?”

Bruce Goldberg

How long have you been a Steelers fan: Since 1969.

Favorite players: Linebackers of old — Jack Lambert and Jack Ham; and now — LaMarr Woodley and James Harrison.

Least favorite player: Bubby Brister.

Favorite moment of being a Steelers fan: Santonio Holmes’ game-winning catch in the end zone against Arizona in Super Bowl XLIII.

Do the Steelers have a chance to win Sunday: “I don’t think it’s going to be as low-scoring as everybody else. I think it’s going to be a little bit high-scoring. I can see it being 24-17, Steelers, that type of score.”

Source: AFC title game: Divided family loyalties in Warwick – Times Herald-Record

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