Happy Independence Day to all! Keeping today’s post brief so I can enjoy some much needed family time, I would like to correct one misconception about which team truly should be labelled America’s Team. With all due respect to Bob Ryan, the Pittsburgh Steelers are truly America’s Team.
Ryan was an NFL films editor, who, in response to the Dallas Cowboys losing Superbowl XIII, dubbed them ‘America’s Team.’ It’s still a little unclear as to why he did this, after all the Cowboys had just lost to the Steelers in one of the more exciting Superbowls ever. The game wasn’t finally decided until just twenty two seconds remained, but with their third Superbowl win of the decade, it was the Steelers who had established their selves as the true dominant team of the 70′s. For the Cowboys it was their last appearance in the big game until the early 90′s; for the Steelers they had one more Superbowl to win before they to would fail to appear again until 1995 (and against the Cowboys no less).
So why call the Steelers America’s team? Well, for starters they have the largest fan base of any team. They are the most popular team amongst female fans. I’ve been to Steeler-Giants and Steeler-Jets games in New Jersey and without fail the Steeler fans almost outnumber both the ones for the Giants and Jets. I’ve attended autograph shows in New Jersey that have featured such Steelers as: Jerome Bettis, Hines Ward, Joe Greene, Rocky Bleier, Lawrence Timmons, Antonio Brown, Jack lambert, Jack Ham, etc and again the Steeler autograph seekers are the biggest and most passionate crowd of all. I also truly believe that the Steeler fans are the most knowledgeable of all.
Want harder football facts? The Steelers have more Superbowl wins and appearances than anyone, including Bob Ryan’s Cowboys.
But beyond all this, to me what makes the Steelers America’s team is that while they have their flaws individually, collectively no team works or plays harder. And that is the American spirit, no country in the world rallies around itself better in times of crisis or celebration than the USA. The Steelers are a blue-collar team that represents the blue-collar ethic of America. The Steelers are not flash and dazzle, but grit and spit. Back in the early 70′s the ethnic flavor of America was best captured by Steeler fans with ‘Franco’s Italian Army’ or ‘Gerela’s Gorillas’. Even Polish fans had a Jack Ham fan club. Defensive end Dwight White had his own fan club called ‘Dwight’s whites’. And other than the American flag waving majestically on top a stadium, is there any more beautiful sight at a game than a sea of terrible towels being swung?
In regards to doing things the American way for our countries’ growth, has their been any other level of success in the NFL for as long as doing things ‘The Steeler Way’? I rest my case.
Sorry Bob Ryan and those delusional Cowboy fans…the Pittsburgh Steelers are truly America’s Team.