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mesaSteeler
02-05-2011, 11:48 PM
Perrotto: Game lacks the bluster
http://tribune-democrat.com/prosports/x570482968/Criticism-unites-team-feeds-determination
By: John Perrotto
Beaver County Times

Sunday February 6, 2011 12:06 AM

ARLINGTON, Texas — Super Bowl XVL might be the quaintest major professional sporting championship to be conducted in this country since those pre-television days when fans followed the progress of the World Series on radio.

When the Steelers and Packers play tonight, there will be no villain.

Instead, it will be a matchup of two of the nation’s most beloved pro sports franchises.

It will be a meeting between two organizations with owners who come from a time before corporations took over the world.

It will be the squaring off of a pair of teams that might mean more to their small cities and are more a part of the fabric of their blue-collar regions than any others.

It will be one set of fans waving gold towels and another wearing foam wedges of cheese on their heads.

“It’s really ironic that we’re playing each other in a Super Bowl,” said Steelers punter Jeremy Kapinos, who spent the previous two seasons with the Packers. “In a lot of ways, the situations are mirror images. Both teams have tremendously passionate fans. I’ve seen how much it means to the people in Pittsburgh and I can imagine from having played there how excited the people are in Wisconsin.”

The only thing not fitting about this matchup is the site. Cowboys Stadium is a monument to excess with more than 100,000 seats, a construction bill of $1.15 million, an HD video board that has more square footage than the borough of Fallston and a Walmart across the street from the main entrance.

“This is like Hoosiers,” Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk said, referring to the iconic basketball movie. “We’re going from our tiny gym in Hickory to the big-city arena in Indianapolis to play in the state championship game.”
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The most unique part about these small-market teams is ownership.

The Steelers have been in the Rooney family since the franchise’s inception in 1933 and they have avoided taking on corporate ownership partners for an infusion of cash. While they have made plenty of money from owning a wildly popular team, the Rooneys share the characteristics of most western Pennsylvanians as they are approachable and down to earth.

“Where else could you drive into the parking lot, see the owner’s car parked then go inside the building, walk upstairs and talk to him?,” Steelers nose tackle Casey Hampton said. “It’s just different than anywhere else. The whole city is that way. People are just regular people and they support their team. You feel like you’re playing for a lot more people than just the guys inside the locker room.”

Meanwhile, the Packers are the only non-profit, community-owned professional sports franchise in the United States. More than 100,000 individuals hold stock and no one is allowed to own more than 200,000 shares, which ensures that no one gains controlling interest.

“It’s a very unique circumstance,” Packers wide receiver Donald Driver said. “There can’t be a stronger bond anywhere between the players and the fans than in Green Bay because our fans are our owners. Everyone wants to win for their fans but no one has more incentive than us.”

Steelers’ fans, of course, would disagree.

steeltheone
02-06-2011, 07:12 AM
God Bless The Rooneys!