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mesaSteeler
08-01-2009, 11:48 PM
End Zone:
Are the Steelers the Greatest NFL Franchise?
http://www.wqed.org/mag/seasonpreview/steelers-greatest-nfl-franchise.php

Yinz had better believe it. It's not just the hardware (a half-dozen Vince Lombardi trophies) - it's the hearts of Steelers Nation they've won over and over and over.

By Stan Savran
Illustration By Patrick Neil

So as he concludes our interview, the radio guy in San Diego says to me, "I've never been to Pittsburgh. And people here love the Chargers. But just observing from way out here on the West Coast, it seems that it's a bit more special back there in Pittsburgh when it comes to the Steelers."

BINGO! He got it. They got it. Finally, they ALL got it. They - meaning all who don't understand french fries on sandwiches - "get" what the Steelers mean to Western Pennsylvania.

I'm supposed to be writing an analysis as to whether the Steelers are the greatest NFL franchise. I suppose the half-dozen Vince Lombardi trophies residing on the South Side are testament to the assertion, but it's more than that.

What makes the Steelers the best franchise is not judged by the hardware they've won, but rather by the hearts they've won. That's the first requisite to me to be considered for the mythical title. After all, when all is said and done, professional football is a business. And despite the competitive aspects, it is part of the entertainment business.

But the difference between following the Steelers and going to a movie or a musical is that no one roots for the guy playing the Phantom or Brad Pitt, despite his last name. People may root for a character or a good performance in order to get their money's worth, but no one ever called in sick the next day if his favorite actor stunk out the joint.

If football is the fabric of Western Pennsylvania, then the Steelers are the sutures that bind it together. The Hatfield Tigers may hate their neighboring McCoy Lions on Friday nights, but on Sundays, even they lay down their arms to form the common bond in rooting for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Clearly, any franchise winning four Super Bowls in six years, then another two in four years this decade, would be incredibly popular. But there's more to it here. Here, we like our football tough, because life here has often been tough. The people have been hardened to the vagaries of life and require their heroes to be at least as tough as they are. And so while 60-yard touchdown passes are nice, pulverizing hits are nicer. While winning is great, winning by punishing the other team is greater.

And franchise owners, general managers and coaches have unilaterally come to recognize that if it's not just success you seek, but enduring success and stability, then the Steelers' way is how it must be done. That is the measure of the greatest franchise, not merely the number of championships won.

It didn't take coach Mike Tomlin long to figure it out. He had a vague understanding of Steelers Nation when he took the job. But he admitted his understanding indeed was vague. It was the morning after his victory in Super Bowl XLIII when he made this observation:

"You know, when you're in other organizations, you recognize that it's different and you respect it. But until you're part of it, you have no idea the depths of it. I mean, it's generational. It's passed down from father to son. It's unbelievable. I don't know if I can use words to eloquently describe the relationship that this organization has with Steeler Nation. I know the more I get to understand, the more Steeler Nation drives me. I want to give them something exciting. I want to perform for them. I want to win for them because they're that special."

That's what makes the Steelers the best franchise in the NFL. The trophies are window-dressing. It's the fact that the rest of the country and the rest of the league finally get what we have always known.

That ought to make you feel good. It ought to make you feel proud to be part of something so grand. I know I am.

mulldog24
08-02-2009, 08:20 AM
I know exactly what he means, the world wouldn't be the same without my STEELERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kittyfish
08-02-2009, 09:39 AM
What a great read. Thanks for bringing it over.

revefsreleets
08-02-2009, 12:36 PM
No, the Patriots are. I read it in a blog, so it must be true...

rich4eagle
08-03-2009, 07:27 PM
Great read growing up in Youngstown Ohio during the "Greatest show in football, the Cleveland Browns" I was the penultimate fan of the Browns..........but Steeler Nation always had a place in my heart.........

That Steeler Nation love grew ever fonder during the Steel Curtain years.........and even stronger during the Cowher years

and even stronger when the drafted Big Ben whom I deemed as a supersar watching him in college

I have travelled the nation and been in many sunday sports bars and more than all but the home team Steeler Nation is adored

The Steelers have the largest fan base in football and well they should'

I am now a full fledged Steeler Nation believer no matter whom they play including my beloved Browns who gave me so many great memories over the years

Terrible Towels........Steelers Rule!

BigBenFn7
08-04-2009, 03:54 PM
Yeah, there's no doubt that the Steelers are #1 when it comes to NFL Franchises. That article was a nice read and spot on. Can the Steelers win #7 this coming season? I think so but the road is long and rough; of course us Steelers fans wouldn't have it any other way.

steelreserve
08-04-2009, 04:26 PM
I'm amazed that there was an article about the "greatest franchise" that did more than give the Steelers a perfunctory pat on the back and say "close, but no cigar," before driveling on and on about how many championships other teams won before there was electricity.

Steelboy84
08-05-2009, 12:35 AM
There is no doubt in my mind.

Yes, we are. :-)

scsteeler
08-05-2009, 09:58 AM
No, the Patriots are. I read it in a blog, so it must be true...

And we all know that anything written on a blog is 100% accurate and based on facts and not personal views and feelings!

steelballs
08-06-2009, 11:18 AM
Very nice read....it gives others a glimpse of what the Steelers mean to the fans and what SteelerNation is all about.
I say a glimpse, because unless you're a part of it or have lived it, it's just a glimpse.

Crow-Magnon
08-06-2009, 12:45 PM
Serious question: if the Steelers had not won four Super Bowls in a very short time frame in the Seventies, nor had such a dominant defense with the Steel Curtain and outstanding players on offense like Harris, Swann, Bradshaw, etc, do you think they would be this popular nation-wide?

I can see the Yankees being wildly popular throughout the USA, as they won a ton of World Series throughout the 20th Century and there are hundreds of thousands of ex-patriate New Yorkers living in all other 49 states. So why aren't the New York Giants that popular throughout the land? Or the Jets?

Pittsburgh isn't a bad city, but it's not a huge town on the order of New York, Chicago, LA, Phoenix, etc. So it's hard to imagine that there are hundreds of thousands of ex-Pittsburghers living in all other 49 states. Besides, what good reasons are there to support a team hundreds or thousands of miles away at the expense of the franchise closest to you?

Which, of course, certainly appears to be true in this case. Which leads me to believe that overall, America loves a winner, and as the Steelers have shown themselves to be a consistent winner over the past few decades, they have developed a strong following nationwide. Which is not intended to be demeaning or to downplay anything that the Steelers have accomplished in their history. It's a great record.

But does that ever irk you? That there are probably a ton and a half fans out there merely riding the bandwagon?

Fire Haley
08-06-2009, 12:49 PM
I'm still enjoying the last game.

http://www.sitharchives.com/board/THE-Catch.jpg

Dino 6 Rings
08-06-2009, 01:14 PM
Look at that pretty toe tap to make the Super Bowl winning Touchdown catch...

steelballs
08-06-2009, 01:25 PM
Serious question: if the Steelers had not won four Super Bowls in a very short time frame in the Seventies, nor had such a dominant defense with the Steel Curtain and outstanding players on offense like Harris, Swann, Bradshaw, etc, do you think they would be this popular nation-wide?

I can see the Yankees being wildly popular throughout the USA, as they won a ton of World Series throughout the 20th Century and there are hundreds of thousands of ex-patriate New Yorkers living in all other 49 states. So why aren't the New York Giants that popular throughout the land? Or the Jets?

Pittsburgh isn't a bad city, but it's not a huge town on the order of New York, Chicago, LA, Phoenix, etc. So it's hard to imagine that there are hundreds of thousands of ex-Pittsburghers living in all other 49 states. Besides, what good reasons are there to support a team hundreds or thousands of miles away at the expense of the franchise closest to you?

Which, of course, certainly appears to be true in this case. Which leads me to believe that overall, America loves a winner, and as the Steelers have shown themselves to be a consistent winner over the past few decades, they have developed a strong following nationwide. Which is not intended to be demeaning or to downplay anything that the Steelers have accomplished in their history. It's a great record.

But does that ever irk you? That there are probably a ton and a half fans out there merely riding the bandwagon?

Crow...As I am one of the estimated 3 million people that have left Pittsburgh since the mid-seventies (for employment reasons) there are in fact "native" citizens of Pittsburgh in every corner of this great nation.
You might find it hard to believe that these folks still have the love for their hometown and football team after all these many years, but it's true. Many of my neighbors and friends in B'More can't understand my fervor for the Steelers and the city of Pittsburgh after 25+ years away and it's hard to explain to them exactly why.

Growing up in the burg' is unique, the town has a small town friendliness even though somewhat large and the blue collar roots are still engrained to this day. The first thing that frustrated me when moving to B'More was the unfriendly, stand-offish mentality the city and surrounding counties have. I know a lot of "foreigners" coming to the state from everywhere fostered this mentality, but it doesn't excuse the overall unfriendliness.

I'm sure you're right in some respect that there are bandwagoneers that have jumped on board with the team's success, but don't discount the loyalty and enthusiasm of Steeler fans that have unfortunately had to disperse all across this great nation. The fact that you can literally find a Steeler bar in every state across the country speaks volumes in and of itself.

Does it bother me that people "not from the burg'" have jumped on the wagon and are fans and claim their uindying loyalty to the team...hell no, the more the merrier. Let's face it, it's a lot easier to root for a consistent winner than a fly by night wannabe.

Crow-Magnon
08-06-2009, 01:37 PM
Crow...As I am one of the estimated 3 million people that have left Pittsburgh since the mid-seventies (for employment reasons) there are in fact "native" citizens of Pittsburgh in every corner of this great nation.
You might find it hard to believe that these folks still have the love for their hometown and football team after all these many years, but it's true. Many of my neighbors and friends in B'More can't understand my fervor for the Steelers and the city of Pittsburgh after 25+ years away and it's hard to explain to them exactly why.

Growing up in the burg' is unique, the town has a small town friendliness even though somewhat large and the blue collar roots are still engrained to this day. The first thing that frustrated me when moving to B'More was the unfriendly, stand-offish mentality the city and surrounding counties have. I know a lot of "foreigners" coming to the state from everywhere fostered this mentality, but it doesn't excuse the overall unfriendliness.

I'm sure you're right in some respect that there are bandwagoneers that have jumped on board with the team's success, but don't discount the loyalty and enthusiasm of Steeler fans that have unfortunately had to disperse all across this great nation. The fact that you can literally find a Steeler bar in every state across the country speaks volumes in and of itself.

Does it bother me that people "not from the burg'" have jumped on the wagon and are fans and claim their uindying loyalty to the team...hell no, the more the merrier. Let's face it, it's a lot easier to root for a consistent winner than a fly by night wannabe.

Well, I can't argue with any of that!

How does it feel to live in the home of a bitter division rival? I've spent a lot of time in Pittsburgh, so I know what it's like to turn on the TV or pick up a paper and see and hear nothing but "Steelers this and Steelers that." Does getting all the Ravens news get you all riled up? Have you been able to watch the Steelers at M&T Bank? It doesn't have the charm and history of old Memorial Stadium, but it's a helluva place to watch a football game. I'd like to get up to Heinz Field soon. I was at 3R years ago. I wonder if it's the same difference? A great stadium but you still kinda miss the old place.

xfl2001fan
08-06-2009, 02:08 PM
Crow - to add in to what steelballs said. Of those great many displaced fans, you have to take into consideration their kids. I'm pretty sure that steelballs raised his kids as Steelersfans...and since he left 25+ years ago, it's possible that some of his kids have lil budding Steelersfans tryking around.

I have 6 lil Browns fans myself...though one of them can't do anything but coo and smile (being as he's 2 months old.) But the other 5, sit and watch sports with me and cheer on my teams. No matter where we go, no matter what we do, we'll be Browns fans.

steelballs
08-07-2009, 08:19 AM
Well, I can't argue with any of that!

How does it feel to live in the home of a bitter division rival? I've spent a lot of time in Pittsburgh, so I know what it's like to turn on the TV or pick up a paper and see and hear nothing but "Steelers this and Steelers that." Does getting all the Ravens news get you all riled up? Have you been able to watch the Steelers at M&T Bank? It doesn't have the charm and history of old Memorial Stadium, but it's a helluva place to watch a football game. I'd like to get up to Heinz Field soon. I was at 3R years ago. I wonder if it's the same difference? A great stadium but you still kinda miss the old place.

Living in B'More and having the media deluge of Ravens this and Ravens that is obviously expected, but it does get under your skin after the point of saturation. My youngest son (11) gets fired up more than I do. I guess the one thing that does rile me more than anything else is the annual declaration of the Ravens being SB bound, regardless of existing talent or lack thereof.
I've attended several games at M&T, but as I get older (48) I find myself not willing to put up with the juvenile BS you get from some fans. I wear my colors as any good fan does and having some jackass wanting to brawl because of it just isn't worth the headache anymore.
After B'More was granted the new franchise, I went to the first Steeler / Raven tilt at Memorial stadium (the one Modell chastised the local fans as it seemed like a Steeler home game) and had a great time.
I've been a Steeler season ticket holder since the seventies and I have to tell you that Three Rivers was a much more intimidating place to play. It was much louder (closed in stadium) than Heinz Field and the crowd was much more blue collar than it is now. The Heinz Field crowd is still loud and the fan base is still very football savy, but more subdued than what I remember at Three Rivers.

I do have a lot of fun with my neighbors (many of them Raven season ticket holders) during the season, it's been especially fun the last few years, but there are still quite a few that take this way to seriously, it is a game afterall. When my kids are berated because of their Steeler allegiance it's gone a little to far, but I will say that they give it back just as hard and with statistics to back it up...that usually shuts them up pretty quick. Afterall.....I can't help them with their Steeler jealousy.

steelballs
08-07-2009, 08:30 AM
Crow - to add in to what steelballs said. Of those great many displaced fans, you have to take into consideration their kids. I'm pretty sure that steelballs raised his kids as Steelersfans...and since he left 25+ years ago, it's possible that some of his kids have lil budding Steelersfans tryking around.

I have 6 lil Browns fans myself...though one of them can't do anything but coo and smile (being as he's 2 months old.) But the other 5, sit and watch sports with me and cheer on my teams. No matter where we go, no matter what we do, we'll be Browns fans.

Well done!...I see you're raising your kids the right way and your assumption is correct, I have three boys...two of which were born in B'More and they're all Steeler / Penguins fans. My youngest is as devout as my oldest and it's a traditional thing that you obviously understand. I was raised a Steeler fan by my Dad and older brothers and my grandkids have already started their indoctrination as well. I trust that no matter where they go or what they do they'll always be Steeler fans... just like your kids will always support their hometown teams.