Reader's Take: The Pittsburgh Steelers

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(Editor's Note: We always welcome our readers to send in submissions for the site. We can't gurantee we'll post it, but if it's good enough and fits in with the site we will. Today's article from a reader is about the Pittsburgh Steelers. Disagree? Then feel free to send in an article about your favorite team here.)

The Pittsburgh Steelers currently have more Superbowl championships than any other NFL Franchise. This is a representation of sports excellence, no doubt. Does it however indicate a question within American society, which is: do we love winning at any cost? I will lay out one reason why the aforementioned question falsely appears to be true, and two reasons it seems to be false according to the six Lombardi trophies possessed by my hometown Steelers.

1.THE STEELERS HAVE A REPUTATION OF PHYSICALITY:

We are known as a defense that intimidates because of our style of play. To say we are malicious or show bad intentions is incorrect; mainly because we play within the rules. As a result of playing within the rules, Steelers fans are justified in taking pride in our style of defense. You will often hear sports analysts and commentators credit our defensive players and coaches with being effective year after year because of the tradition of Steeler football, a brand that is widely admired for it’s consistently high rankings. That is the benefit; the cost is the image in the eyes of some sports fans and even non-sports fans that we reflect what is wrong with American football

2. PLAYERS GENERALLY LOVE BEING RECOGNIZED AS A “STEELER”:

The Pittsburgh franchise inspires great loyalty; it is almost like a brand name. Few teams in sports do this, and the ones that do are almost always the most successful teams, with the most storied traditions. What this shows is that winning is not worth sacrificing a successful tradition. This idea is mentioned in trades made (ex. only bringing in a certain type of player), staff acquisitions, and sometimes in game strategy. Also, the teams that effectively become a brand name become associated with what is positive about sports in general, and said franchises have a reach beyond there geographic territory (Steeler bar in every state, that’s right “Here we go...”).

3. THE STEELERS HAVE LOYALTY DESPITE WIN-LOSS RECORD:

Do you know how hard it is to get Steeler tickets? Real talk, you literally are considered fortunate to get to attend any game once the regular season starts. This fact represents not only the popularity of a franchise, but a cultural connection with what that team represents. Yeah the Steelers are hard hitting, but guess what? Daily life in Southwest PA can it it citizens hard, but we like our “Stillers”, still find a way to be on the positive side of the ledger. Sure when we lose two games in a row we are critical, but when we come out of that losing streak, we swear “Pittsburgh’s goin’ to the Superbowl”. Even in seasons when we are below .500, talk soon shifts from how horrible we performed to all the options we have with a high 1st round draft pick. We as fans refuse to sacrifice our loyalty for statistics; instead we sacrifice our tears in hopes of doing better next year.

In summary, while the Steelers will always have the ghost of the danger of being too physical in the room. They will also always have the “Ghostbuster” (80’s kids RULE) of representing two of the most positive things about sports: having an honorable tradition, and being part of the cultural fabric as a piece of America.

-Henry Opoku

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