When it comes to team nicknames, some are more common than others and it should come as no surprise to learn that the most popular ones involve animals. According to the mascot database (yes there really is such a thing), more sports teams in America are called the Eagles than anything else. The second most popular name is the Tigers, with the Bulldogs, Panthers and Wildcats filling out the top-5.
While birds and cats appear to be featured the most in the NFL, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers are the only two teams whose nicknames are inspired by the industries in their hometowns. As unique as the name “Steelers” might seem, it’s not exclusive to the professional football team that resides in Pittsburgh.
From California to New York, a number of high school football teams have adopted the nickname. Fontana High School in California calls itself the “Home of Steelers pride” as does Lackawanna High School in New York. The Farrell Steelers in Pennsylvania even drew comparisons by reporters to the Pittsburgh version after a big win last season, a headline we’re sure they’ve all used more than once before.
Various semi-pro football teams have adopted the Steelers nickname over the years and, although many, like the Rhode Island Steelers, are no longer in business, the Philadelphia Steelers and Westchester Steelers are just two examples of active teams using the name today.
A number of teams with the nickname have been involved in professional basketball leagues — for example, the Alabama Steelers and Gary (Indiana) Steelers, plus several in professional baseball leagues as well. The Moose Jaw Steelers were a team in the Western Canada Baseball League in 1961 based in Saskatchewan. Canada also was once the home of a professional soccer team called the Hamilton Steelers.
The handle has even traveled beyond North America, with teams in a variety of sports bearing the nickname on three other continents. The Kobelco Steelers are a professional rugby team in Japan owned by the Kobe Steel company. While they might not officially carry the moniker, the Australian Paralympic wheelchair-rugby team is known as the Australian Steelers. Not to be outdone, New Zealand also has a rugby team called the Steelers, or to give their full name, the Counties Manukau PIC Steelers.
Surprisingly, the UK is home to the most teams outside of North America with the name, as well as the home of perhaps the most successful professional sports teams carrying the nickname and not based in Pittsburgh. The Sandwell Steelers are an amateur football team in the British-American Football league who apparently just secured their place in the playoffs last weekend. The Kings Cross Steelers are a rugby team based in London who won their league last season. The Sheffield Steelers are a professional ice-hockey team in the Elite Ice Hockey League who have won multiple league and cup titles dating back to 1994 and they’re one of the more dominant teams in the history of British ice hockey.
If you know of another sports team called the Steelers we’ve missed, please let us know in the comments section below and, should you ever find yourself near one of these teams in the future, be sure to try and catch a game in your black-and-gold attire to represent on behalf of the originals.