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mesaSteeler
02-02-2011, 09:20 PM
Two Traditions, Zero Inhibitions
Never Mind the Game, How do the Packers and Steelers Compare in Pop Songs, Movies and Nicknames?
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703445904576118351939464860.html
By NANDO DI FINO

The Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers have long histories of excellence on the gridiron. But more than most NFL teams, they've also developed thriving cultures off the field.

After more than 150 combined years, the followings of both teams have picked up some lovable, odd and heart-clogging traditions. This Sunday, some Green Bay fans will be wearing Cheeseheads that are older than Selena Gomez while Steelers fans will drink alarming quantities of acrid beer just because it's made in Pittsburgh. And there's a high likelihood of somebody keeling over after eating fried cheese curds or a sandwich packed with french fries.

On Wednesday, this paper concluded that the Packers fan base was, by measures like TV ratings, popularity polls and ticket sales, slightly superior. But can the Packers faithful maintain that advantage in the other, more subjective areas?

Here's how the two fan bases stack up.

Gear: Cheesehead vs. the Terrible Towel: As lovably squishy as the Cheesehead is, the Terrible Towel, which Steelers fans wave to create a moving sea of unity, is just too versatile: you can wipe a wet stadium seat with it, sop up spilled beer, or whip the backsides of friends and neighbors. Legendary Steelers broadcaster Myron Cope, who introduced the towel, donated the copyright to the Allegheny Valley School, a Pittsburgh residence for people with disabilities—so every towel bought also goes to helping those in need. (You can't dry your eyes after hearing that story with a Cheesehead). Edge: Steelers

Icon: Vince Lombardi vs. Myron Cope: There's no doubt that Mr. Cope, who broadcast Steelers games for 35 years, is a legend. But while Mr. Cope's best-known quotes are "Yoi" and "Double Yoi," Packers coach Vince Lombardi was dropping nuggets of wisdom like, "It's not whether you get knocked down, it's whether you get up." The Super Bowl trophy is named after Mr. Lombardi, as is a service area on the New Jersey Turnpike. Dan Lauria, who stars as the title character in "Lombardi" on Broadway, says that playing the icon has brought him an entirely new level of celebrity. "Now people see me on the street and yell, 'Coach!'" he says. Edge: Packers

Pop Song Integration: "Bang the Drum All Day" vs. "Renegade": Mr. Rundgren's 1983 classic "Bang the Drum All Day" is played after every Packers touchdown, while Styx's 1979 number, "Renegade," is used as a montage to fire up the Steelers' faithful. The Styx hit went as high as No. 16 on the Billboard Hot 100, while Mr. Rundgren's.... didn't. In the end, "Renegade" is sort of dark and boring while "Bang" is merely repetitive. Edge: Packers

Food: Primanti's sandwich vs. fried cheese curds: What's a fried cheese curd? Essentially un-aged, pre-processed cheddar that's battered and boiled in oil. One can understand why this is a Lambeau delicacy. The Primanti Bros. sandwich, meanwhile, is pretty much an entire meal stuffed between two halves of Italian bread. Pick a meat, slap on some coleslaw and tomato, then add French fries. (Onions are available by request). Edge: Steelers

Superfan: Pittsburgh's Tom Santucci vs. Green Bay's Jim Becker: Mr. Santucci lives in "The Pittsburgh Steelers House," which he painted black and gold and decorated with Pittsburgh paraphernalia two years ago. It's become a local landmark of the first order. "We always have people stop and take pictures," Mr. Santucci says, "sometimes they knock on the door." Mr. Becker, beginning in the 1950s, would sell his blood in order to pay for his Packers season tickets without torching his family's finances. Doctors later discovered that he had a hereditary blood disease that can be treated by… draining blood. His Packers fandom may have unwittingly saved his life. Edge: Packers

Point of Confusion: The Meaning of the Steelers' Logo vs. The Deal with Green Bay Packers Stock: Before you try to guess what the colored diamonds on the Steelers' helmets mean, know this—they aren't diamonds. They are hypocycloids. And there are two meanings behind the yellow, orange (not red), and blue. The logo originated from U.S. Steel, who had imagined the colors thusly: yellow lightens your work, orange brightens your leisure, and blue widens your world. But the official meaning adopted by the Steelers is that yellow represents coal, orange is iron ore, and blue is scrap metal—the three elements used to make steel. The Packers, meanwhile, are a publicly owned company that has issued stock four times in their history to raise funds. According to the team, a total of 4,750,937 shares are owned by 112,158 stockholders. But there's a catch: none of them can be sold or traded. So the stock does exist, but don't expect to enjoy many privileges. (You won't have a vote at the annual shareholders meeting). Edge: Steelers

Long-haired Dreamboat: Polamalu vs. Matthews: Both players went to Southern Cal. Both endorse shampoo—Mr. Polamalu is a spokesman for Head & Shoulders, while Mr. Matthews enjoys Suave. Both sets of trusses have Facebook fan pages—Mr. Polamalu's hair page has about 7,000 "likes," while Mr. Matthews's has just over 1,000. Mr. Matthews sends gifts to TV host Ellen DeGeneres and has women in Green Bay imitating the slow-motion whipping of his hair. Mr. Polamalu, who was brought down in a 2006 game when Kansas City's Larry Johnson yanked him to the ground by the hair, has a $1 million insurance policy on his locks. The final tiebreaker: On Tuesday, Mr. Polamalu was named the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year by the Associated Press. He beat Mr. Matthews by two votes. Edge: Steelers

Most Awesome Nickname: Johnny Blood vs. Dobre Shunka: Green Bay's John McNally, who played for the team from 1929 to 1936, conjured up the "Blood" alias because he wanted to play professionally for the Duluth Eskimos while he was still in college. "Dobre Shunka," the nickname given to linebacker Jack Ham of the Steelers, which means "good ham" in a Slovak dialect. Edge: Steelers

Coincidence: Terrible Towels Made in Wisconsin vs. Mike McCarthy Born In Pittsburgh: McArthur Towel & Sports, based in Baraboo, Wis., handles the manufacturing of Pittsburgh's Terrible Towel. The owners were inspired this year to produce "Titletown Towels" in green and white, probably to try to reverse the Karmic flow. Meanwhile, Mr. McCarthy, the Packers coach, was born and raised in Pittsburgh. His father was a police officer. "Growing up in Pittsburgh is a big part of who I am," the coach says. Edge: Packers

Comedic Film Role by Team Legend: Brett Favre in "There's Something About Mary" vs. Terry Bradshaw in "Failure to Launch": Mr. Favre's brief appearance in the Farrelly Brothers film was a fun surprise. It also allowed Ben Stiller's character to ask a burning question: how "Favre" ended up being pronounced "FARR-ve." Mr. Bradshaw has had many bit parts before but he had a larger role in this 2006 romantic comedy as Matthew McConaughey's frustrated father. Though Mr. Bradshaw had a meatier role than Mr. Favre, "Failure to Launch" earned $88.7 million at the box office compared to $176.5 million for "There's Something About Mary." Edge: Packers

Odd Local Delicacy That's Slightly Endearing: Iron City Beer vs. Lutefisk: When you have your first IC beer, the Pittsburgher who goaded you into downing it will jokingly ask if you can taste the hint of steel. Wisconsinites who urge you to have a taste of the fragrant (some might say smelly) and jelly-like dish called lutefisk will just laugh. The difference: Iron City will eventually get you buzzed enough to make the taste bearable. Edge: Steelers