As regular readers of NPC surely expect, this is where I’d usually post some random news and/or talk a little smack about our upcoming opponents. Considering this week’s game is against longtime rival the Dallas Cowboys, I’m sure many of you thought I’d unveil a masterpiece along the lines of “29 Reasons Pittsburgh Is Better Than Dallas” or “Top Ten Venereal Diseases Tony Romo Has Contracted From Skanky Blondes.”
Sorry to disappoint.
I tried to do something like that but my heart wasn’t in it. Don’t misunderstand, I hate the Cowboys, more than any team not from Cleveland or coached by a hoodie wearing douchebag. But at the same time, I also have to respect them. When you look at the NFL, there are really two teams which stand out as the crown jewel franchises. One of course is the Steelers while the only other choice has to be the Cowboys.
Whenever a team is successful, you’ll find a segment of the country jumping on the bandwagon trying to feel like winners. This allegiance is always short-lived, ending as soon as said team stops winning Super Bowls. In the late 80s, 49er gear was all over the place. Has anybody bought red and gold merchandise in over a decade? When Green Bay and Denver had their brief moments in the spotlight, they garnered a smattering of nationwide support but most of that was pity and none of it was sustained over the years. As for the most dominant team of the 00s, nobody outside of New England cares one iota about the Pats except to hate them.
The only two truly national franchises are the Steelers and Cowboys. The Cowboys call themselves “America’s Team” and while that bit of hyperbole is typical of an arrogant organization, it is also true you’re just as likely to find a Cowboy fan in Bangor, Maine or Butte, Montana as in Dallas, Texas. Likewise, Steeler Nation extends far and wide as is evidenced by the waves of Black and Gold which invade road stadiums in numbers like no other.
So why do I hate them? Why can’t I establish mutual respect and leave it at that? Why does Batman hate the Joker? Why does Superman enjoy punching Lex Luthor in the mouth? Why?
Because we are the same but opposite. One is summer while the other is the winter. One is light while the other is dark. One is good while the other is evil. I think you can figure out which is which.
The Steelers are and have always been a blue collar team which emphasizes gritty nose to the grindstone hard-work. The Cowboys are and have always been prime time flash and dash glitzy Hollywood red carpet superstars. In fact, they’ve had players named Prime Time and Hollywood.
The Steelers have always been about the whole being more than the sum of the parts. To quote the wise Mr. Spock, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one.” We’ve never had a situation where one specific player is our whole franchise. We never make one player the centerpiece of an entire team. That’s all Dallas ever does. Theirs is a culture of individualism. They’ll find a great RB or a great LB or a great QB but when that player goes down (as Romo did this year or Terrell Owens did last year), the team immediately falls apart. No wonder their fans wanted Bill Cowher and his belief in the team to come and save them earlier this year.
The Cowboys are owned by an irritating jackass of a man who insists on being the team’s General Manager. Jerry Jones shameless self-promotion stands in stark contrast to the quiet dignity exuded by one of the most respected owners in all of sports, Dan Rooney. This is no doubt why the Cowboys have experienced over a half dozen coaching changes since 1993 while we’ve had one. Their meddlesome owner is at the root of their Machiavellian “win at all costs” strategy. He will bring in any player, regardless of character or past misdeeds, if he thinks it will help them win. Locker room cancers (T.O), gun-toting maniacs (Tank Johnson), and stripper beating miscreants (Pacman Jones) are all welcome in Big D. The Steelers systematically rid themselves of such players, even if they’re supremely talented, such as in the case of Plaxico Burress, an undeniably superior WR whose pea-brained antics continue to embarrass his team to this day.
Tony Romo knows he has crossed over to the Dark Side. That’s why he recently tried to cleanse his karma by taking a foul-smelling bum to the movies. Sure, this isn’t nearly as impressive as Ben Roethlisberger using Jedi Mind Tricks to talk a crazed gunmen out of bustin’ a cap in his ass but it was nice of him to pay it forward since nobody has been luckier these past few years than ‘ol Tony. Besides, what’s so impressive about sitting next to a homeless pan-handler? He let Britney Spears sit on his lap so obviously he’s not put off by strange odors.
Look, here’s the moral of the story. Sometimes good wins but occasionally evil is triumphant. Like in Super Bowl XXX where coke-snorting Mike Irvin and his band of whoring madmen handed the Steelers their lone Super Bowl defeat when Christian gentlemen/future astroturf salesman Neil O’Donnell was paid off by Jerry Jones threw two badly timed interceptions. They’re still paying for that win as they’ve never won another. Hopefully when Good emerges victorious this week, we’ll set their playoff hopes back enough to add another year to that penance.
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