Diversity is what makes Pittsburgh such a magical place.
The diversity of the people that make up the area. The unique dynamic of hills, rivers and inclines. The history of a city once known for being industrial that is now home to one of the strongest medical facilities in the world. The tradition of a steel town that has been revitalized as of late by renovation and an influx of youth moving downtown.
There's also diversity in our sports teams, as Pittsburgh has three teams to cheer for in the Pirates, Penguins and Steelers. There wasn't much diversity in terms of cheering for a team in the city's primitive years, as the Pirates were the first franchise to be born back in 1887. And for nearly 100 years, the city's sports fans identified themselves with the Pirates, who rewarded them with memorable seasons and World Series victories. Before the Steelers were even a glint in Art Rooney's eyes, the Pirates had World Series victories under their belts and had just played the historic 1927 Yankees in the Fall Classic after winning the National League Pennant.
Pittsburgh's love affair with the Pirates rolled on into the 60s, as the Pirates won the most dramatic World Series ever against the Yankees in seven games. With Bill Mazeroski, who hit the most famous home run in World Series history to defeat the Yankees, Willie Stargell and Roberto Clemente, the Pirates had cemented their place in Pittsburgh lore.
At the end of the decade, something happened that changed the city of Pittsburgh forever. Once a baseball town only, the Steelers stormed onto the scene after hiring coach Chuck Noll and drafting Joe Greene and L.C. Greenwood in 1969. These moves were the beginning of the creation of the greatest NFL team ever assembled. Terry Bradshaw, Mel Blount, Gerry Mullins, Jack Ham, Jack Lambert, Dwight White, Ernie Holmes, Franco Harris, Lynn Swann, John Stallworth, Donnie Shell, Mike Wagner and Mike Webster were each drafted between 1970-74 and helped the Steelers win four Super Bowl in six years, capturing the hearts of Pittsburgh forever in the process.
The love Pittsburghers had for that team has been passed on through generations, as today, Steelers fans that didn't even live to see those 70s teams play can recite their greatest moments. Every Pittsburgh fan I know has ownership to at least one Steelers jersey, a jersey that belongs to a player his father or grandfather may have cheered for four decades earlier. Football Sundays are Pittsburghers second church service of the day; Heinz Field the city's chapel that on fall Sundays tries in vein to satisfy the city's unquenchable thirst for its football team.
This is what the 70s Steelers did to the city of Pittsburgh. They formed a bond with the city that bridges generational gaps, social and racial divides, and time. The greatest football team of all-time, Steelers, is ours, a birthright that is given to each baby at birth with a Terrible Towel given to us just hours after arriving into this world.
The city is diverse, but its also unique in that it is a true sports town. In the early 90s, the Penguins once captured the city much like the Steelers did two decades earlier, and even the recent teams have brought hockey fever back to the 412 area code. The recent resurgence of Pirates baseball is a marvelous thing to behold, as finally, a new generation of Pittsburgh baseball fans has their own memories and heroes to call their own.
Pittsburgh is a sports town, and there will always be love for each sports team. But at the end of the day, there's only one team that is revered in almost biblical proportions, and that's the team that, over four decades ago, captured the heart and imagination of a city that will never let go of its love affair with the Steelers.