Have you ever walked into a store, restaurant or even just a stroll down the street while reppin your favorite NFL team and someone yells "Nice jersey", "they suck" or even booed? Well, if your favorite team has 6 Super Bowl trophies (most in the NFL), best fans (will travel to the other side of the earth to watch their team perform), most consistent every season (makes playoffs, contender in big time games) and of course the tradition aspect...then sounds like your team is the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Everyone does it but can they actually back it up? Take myself for example. A diehard Steelers fan, I have just about everything you can think of with the great hypocycloid logo from socks to a kick ass tattoo on my left forearm. I get compliments and boo's all the time but I ALWAYS back it up...because I can. I grew up in Pennsylvania drooling over the TV as The Bus ran over defender after defender on his way to becoming the Hall of Famer he is today...now I live in Dallas, TX, home to the Dallas Cowgirls, I mean Cowboys. I hear crap all the time, its always about them being "America's Team", having the most expensive stadium and being the most valuable team in the NFL, second in the world after Manchester United but does that make them the greatest franchise in American football? I don't think so. Sure, they have one less championship than Pittsburgh but it takes A LOT to win a Super Bowl, an entire season of blood, sweat and not sure if NFL players cry but a lot of tears as well. Dallas had their decade of dominance (90's) just like Pittsburgh (70's) but if you think about it, Dallas was coined "America's team" because of a highlight film in 1978...the year PITTSBURGH won their 3rd Super Bowl (defeating Dallas 35-31) in 5 seasons. While Pittsburgh was winning championships, Dallas was caught in the limelight and so were their fans.
Growing up in central Pennsylvania was rather interesting. One side you have Philly which have the second most annoying fans in the world, behind Dallas of course, then you have Pittsburgh to the west. You are either an Eagles fan or a Steelers fan, every season was always a disappointment for Philly fans since they had to watch the team from the other side of the state play a few more weeks than their team did (sorry, but Jaworski and McNabb were never going to win a ring since day one and everyone knew it, kind of reminds me of Tony Romo...). All of Philly's major sports teams have accumulated 7 total championships, one more than Pittsburgh, who doesn't have a basketball team and their baseball team, the Pirates...are very, very slowly getting better. No excuses of course, like I said, it takes a lot to win a championship nowadays.
As for the 1 billion dollar stadium in Arlington...Steelers are (unfortunately) 0-1 in Super Bowl's at Cowboys Stadium while Dallas is 0-0, isn't that why Jerry's World was built? I mean I know Pittsburgh lost, but it was to an amazing Packers team that was destined to win. If the game came down to a field goal in Cowboys Stadium, it wouldn't be that tough to kick it through the uprights (seems as though a few past Cowboys kickers didn't get the memo), Heinz Field (rated by the players/kickers) is the hardest stadium to kick the pigskin through the yellow sticks, and it only cost $281 million... I took my fiance for a tour to propose, as we walked into the Cowboy's locker room the first thing you see is a poster with all 32 teams and of course Dallas is highlighted with 5 but guess who is above them? I don't know about you but I sure wouldn't have hung that up there since Dallas assisted in giving Pittsburgh 2 of those rings. The other tourists were obviously giving me crap for wearing a Steelers shirt and having this amazing tattoo in their house but all I had to do was point to the poster and that made the room rather quiet. Don't get me wrong, the stadium is beautiful but it was built too soon ;)
No team has been more consistent and no team has fans that travel better than the black and gold faithful. Go to a game in Arizona or even Houston and you will see the 'mustard yellow' of the famous Terrible Towel spread throughout the stadium. Travel expenses aren't cheap, Pittsburgh is known for their blue collar workers and mentality. I was in Singapore for 3 months and honest to God, I saw three Singaporeans wearing a Steelers shirt and only one Cowboys. My fiance said that's where they send the shirts of the Super Bowl loser...funny...Cowboys 'spectator' obviously (Losing team apparel actually goes to the less fortunate in 3rd world countries like Haiti or Uganda, FYI). She has no clue how to defend her team. I have been training her for about 2 years now. No luck...
Since I was a kid I've been infatuated with the black and gold, the Steel Curtain, Mean Joe Greene, Mel Blount etc. I honestly can only remember one season where Pittsburgh was a disappointment to watch in the last 10 years. I feel bad for the 'new Cowboy fans' that have been watching them for the past ten years...10 seasons of sad faces, children have yet to see the Cowboys go past the Wild Card game. I feel so bad but so good. If only Tony Romo didn't eat that Butterfinger before he received the snap in the 2006 Playoffs against Seattle, maybe there would be some hope in Dallas...only the Mavs have opened the clouds here in the fine state of Texas. Not sure if the 'boys' will do that anytime soon, doesn't seem that way.
As you can see, I have no issues with the 49er's, Packers, Pat's or any other team as their fans are not as annoying. San Fran and Green Bay both have an extensive history but who has been more consistent? I would rather wake up every Sunday and be optimistic about my team the past decade than be negative. BUT, seems like this year will have to be one without Pittsburgh in the playoffs since Ben is out, I have a feeling San Fran will take this one all the way. Who knows, maybe Green Bay will, but we all know, once again, Dallas and Philly are stuck on the couch this year healing for the next season.
- Rayo Sr.