Gov. Christie says he has long backed the Dallas Cowboys, but his allegiance drew fresh attention - and ire from some Philadelphia fans - Sunday night when television cameras showed the New Jersey governor high-fiving Dallas owner Jerry Jones during a Cowboys win over the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field.
"The first thing I thought was, wow, I might actually not vote for him if I had the opportunity," Greg Shields, 24, of Drexel Hill, said Monday. "It rubbed me completely the wrong way."
He was one of a number of disgruntled Eagles fans who took to Twitter to criticize Christie's decision to sit with Jones and cheer on the enemy in Philadelphia territory.
One of the most vitriolic reactions came from Philadelphia City Councilman James Kenney, who, in a series of tweets Sunday night, derided Christie as "fat-assed" and "a creep," accusing him of angling for Texas support in a potential 2016 presidential race.
Kenney, who this month introduced a resolution honoring the Eagles' fight song, said Monday that he stood by his remarks.
"When you're dealing with a person like the governor who feels the need to say whatever's on his mind and has done so his entire career, a similar response is appropriate," Kenney said. "I reacted the way I reacted because that's my team. . . . I see no reason why he needed to go to that length in an area that supports New Jersey and the Jersey Shore."
Asked about Kenney's remarks Monday night on New Jersey 101.5 radio's Ask the Governor program, Christie said, "First of all, who, by the way? Who?
"There's lots of people who attempt to use me to increase their own fame. And this guy obviously today has used me to increase his own fame," Christie said.
Christie - who said President Obama teased him about the game during his visit Monday to New Jersey - said that Eagles fans were "yelling all kinds of things at me when I was in the box with Jerry," but that he did not engage them in any discussion.
"Eagles fans are very passionate. That's great," he said at another point in the program.
Of high-fiving Jones, Christie said, "I'm a Cowboys fan, and I'm sitting with the owner of the Cowboys, and the Cowboys score a touchdown. What am I supposed to do, do the Mount Rushmore routine and stare straight ahead?"
If the Eagles had not lost, Christie said, "you wouldn't have heard anything about it."
Christie, who was born in Newark and grew up in Livingston, has said he began to root for the Cowboys after watching quarterback Roger Staubach play in 1971.
Becoming a fan of Staubach, coupled with "how bad the Giants were in the late '60s and early '70s when I was coming of age as a sports fan," cemented his Dallas allegiance, Christie said in a September 2013 NFL Network interview.
Sunday was not the first time Christie had attended a game with Jones. Last year, he watched the Cowboys take on the New York Giants while sitting in Jones' box in Dallas. He also was photographed with Jones before a Giants-Cowboys game last month at MetLife Stadium.
An October Washington Post story about Christie that mentioned his being a Cowboys fan quoted him as saying, "I'd rather have my teeth drilled than listen to that awful song, 'Fly, Eagles, Fly.' "
Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, a Democrat, said last week that Christie was "pathetic" for being a Cowboys fan.
"If you are a Jerseyite or a Pennsylvanian and you're rooting for the Cowboys, it means you're not secure in yourself and you wanted to root for a team that was a team in your youth that was a constant winner," Rendell said on 97.5 the Fanatic, a Philadelphia sports radio station. Rendell, who was mayor of Philadelphia before becoming governor, is originally from New York City. He appears on Eagles pre- and postgame telecasts on Comcast SportsNet.
The Cowboys were the least-popular team in the NFL in a January poll by Public Policy Polling, with 23 percent of respondents naming it. Second were the Chicago Bears, ranked last by 13 percent of respondents.
But the Cowboys were also the second-most-popular team, with 12 percent of respondents ranking the team their favorite.
One fan told Christie on Twitter that he was "always welcome in Texas." The governor responded: "Thank you."