Pittsburgh Once Again City Of Champions


It’s 1979 all over again.

On Friday night, the Pittsburgh Penguins won a heart-stopping Game 7 victory over the Detroit Red Wings to earn the prestigious Stanley Cup.

The route taken by the young Pens was somewhat reminiscent of the march the 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers made to a championship. Both teams suffered through disappointing regular seasons. Both had to put together spectacular late season runs to even make the playoffs (In the Pens case, they won 18 of their final 26 games). They then had to battle the best their conference had to offer to even make the finals. And in the end, they both had to survive a close hard-fought finale.

This victory isn’t only special for the Pens and their legion of fans, a certain whistle-cranking ex-yinzer down in Carolina not included. This victory also marks the first time in professional sports history that one city has won the Lombardi Trophy and Lord Stanley’s Cup in the same year. This harkens back to 1979 when Pittsburgh double dipped with the Steelers and Pirates both winning titles in their respective sports.

I was five when that happened so my memories are hazy at best. I’ve heard the stories and remember the moniker but never thought I would see a double championship by my teams again. The odds against it are just too great. Then again, I live in Pittsburgh, the greatest sports city on earth, so maybe I should’ve had faith.

In my lifetime our teams have won 6 Super Bowls, 3 Stanley Cups, 2 World Series, had a #1 ranked NCAA Basketball team, and earned 1 National College Football Championship. Think about poor pitiful cities like Cleveland, who never win anything, or Philadelphia, whose four combined teams win one title approximately every 30 years. I’m almost tempted to feel sorry for them but then I realize they chose to live in those hellholes so they get what they deserve.

And speaking of deserving, does any team deserve this title more than the Pens? For Sidney Crosby it’s a culmination of a life’s dream. For Evgeni Malkin it’s a reward for a guy who literally had to run away from home in order to play in the NHL. And it’s sweet justice for Mario Lemieux, who saved hockey in this town not once, not twice, but THREE times.  First by coming here as an 18-year-old superstar, then by buying the team when it was mired in bankruptcy, and just recently when backwater cities like Kansas City and Hamilton tried to poach our team.  A heartfelt thanks goes out to them and the rest of the team that provided such excitement in the time between glorious Steeler seasons.

Let it be said, Pittsburgh is once again the City of Champions.

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  • http://yahoo.com Lynn

    Congratulations to our wonderful young team!! Mario certainly deserves this as do the players who fought tooth and nail to get to this point! Our teams give us such a sense of pride!!! God Bless the Black and Gold teams!

  • Simon

    You could not have said it any better. I actually was sitting here doing a job search also looking for coaching opps. God Bless the Black and Gold Teams.

    Mario is the man! Nothing was more satisfying than watching the Wings go down especially Hossa for not using his heart and thinking Detroit was the chosen team. He could have had all those millions in his bank account and the cup (putz). Being a Toronto Native and a huge hockey fan. If the cup can’t be won by an original six team then I can’t think of a more deserving bunch than the PENS. Congrats on both Stanley Cup and SuperBowl

  • http://nicepickcowher.com chris

    Simon, thank you for your kind words. I agree with your sentiments except for the part about Hossa having a heart. I honestly think he’s a mercenary who’s all about himself. I don’t think he ever cared about Atlanta beyond what they paid him, nor the Pens beyond how many goals Sid could feed him, nor does he care about the Wings beyond the Cup he thought they’d hand him. He’s a self-serving d-bag and I’m kinda glad he didn’t sign with us.

    But let’s not worry about that. Let’s rejoice in a hard-fought well-deserved Stanley Cup that was 17 years in the making.

    Good luck in the coaching search, btw.

  • Pat Stuthers

    Boy, the Pirates must be embarrassed for their stinkingness in the Burhg.
    I can smell them down here in Tennessee
    Yuck Buc’s 

  • http://nicepickcowher.com chris

    I don’t think the Pirates care. If they cared, they wouldn’t have been this bad this long. They’re definitely an embarrassment to this city.

  • Ken

    Why be ashamed of the Pittsburgh Pirates? If those players were your kids, would you be ashamed of them? As long as they try hard and make it fun, that’s what I enjoy.

  • http://nicepickcowher.com Chris

    Losing is never fun. Unless you’re from Cleveland.

    Although you’re right, I should make it clear I’m ashamed of the Pirates’ ownership and management. The players do play hard and put forth good effort. It’s not their fault they don’t have much talent.

    Still, if cities could trade franchises, I’d gladly ship the Pirates to Memphis or Oklahoma City for their NBA teams.