They thought they ought to take a look, just to be sure.
Questions about photos circulating on the Internet showing that a Steelers logo had been surreptitiously added to a US Airways plane decked out in a Philadelphia Eagles paint scheme, supposedly while the plane was in Pittsburgh for maintenance, prompted the airline to check the plane out.
"The rumors of Steelers decals on board the Eagles aircraft appear to be greatly exaggerated," US Airways spokesman Todd Lehmacher wrote in an email Tuesday in response to an inquiry from the Post-Gazette. "We just had our stellar team of aviation maintenance technicians survey the aircraft a short while ago while the Eagles plane was on the ground in Philadelphia and they report back that, after a comprehensive search of the fuselage, tail and wings, no Steelers logos have been detected."
The photos of the Eagles plane with Pittsburgh's blue, red and gold hypocycloids planted firmly in the eagle's eye on the tail of the plane were tweeted by Washington Post sports reporter Kent Babb and picked up by several sports websites.
Mr. Babb said his father-in-law is a US Airways pilot and sent him the photo, though his father-in-law did not take it and was unsure of its exact origin.
"He just told me over the weekend that it had been worked on in Pittsburgh and left with that Steelers logo," Mr. Babb wrote in an email.
Contrary to what several sports sites that posted the photo reported, the plane is not the team plane and does not ferry Eagles players and coaches to games.
Mr. Lehmacher said US Airways operates four planes with NFL paint schemes -- the others bear the colors and logos of the Arizona Cardinals, Carolina Panthers and the Steelers -- as a "salute" to cities where the airline at one time had large concentrations of employees. The aircraft, all Airbus A319 twin-engine jets, were rolled out after the 2005 merger between US Airways and America West Airlines.
However, the Eagles plane, used mainly for domestic commercial flights, does get work done in Pittsburgh, where US Airways has a heavy maintenance center.
Mr. Lehmacher couldn't say whether the Steelers logo had ever been placed on the aircraft, though he suggested the airline might pay more attention next time the plane heads to Western Pennsylvania.
"Perhaps we'll need to post extra security around the Eagles aircraft next time this particular bird touches down in the Steel City as well as keep an eye on the Steelers aircraft next time it touches down in the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection for any clandestine showing of team pride," he wrote.
Robert Zullo: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-3909.