The term America's Team is a nickname that refers to the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League. The nickname originated with the team's 1978 highlight film, where the narrator opens with the following introduction: They appear on television so often that their faces are as familiar to the public as presidents and movie stars. They are the Dallas Cowboys, "America's Team."
First off, I hate that nickname. Not because I'm a Steelers fan, and not because I hate the Cowboys. I hate it because I don't think it's true. The Cowboys are a very popular team and have been one of the most successful franchises in the NFL and all of pro sports.
The Cowboys can have the name "America's team" but I don't think they truly are "America's team." The Pittsburgh Steelers' fanbase is more loyal and travels way better than the Cowboys'.
While the nickname has stuck with the Cowboys, few know the real story behind the name. The Steelers were actually given the nickname before the Cowboys. However, Steelers owner Art Rooney dismissed the suggestion that the Steelers were America's Team. "We didn't want that," Rooney said. "We're Pittsburgh's team. We feel strongly about that."
Mr. Rooney realized how much the team meant and still means to the city of Pittsburgh. No other NFL team embodies the city in which it plays, and the people it plays for, as well as the Steelers do. The Steelers and their fans have a connection that is unlike any other I've ever seen.
Of course, other teams have great fan bases. The New York Yankees, Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers have some of the biggest and most loyal fan bases in the world.
When it comes to the NFL, I think only the Steelers, Packers and Cowboys have a serious argument when it comes to having the best fan base in the NFL.
Packers fans travel well and are extremely loyal. The Packers are one of the most successful franchises in all of sports, especially the NFL.
Green Bay won six NFL championships from 1929 to 1944, where the league size was 12 teams (a 1-in-12 chance of winning). It was a much easier feat to win then. Green Bay won five titles in the 1960s, where the league size ranged from 22 to 25 teams. This is also the decade where the NFL and AFL were beginning interplay.
So most of the Packers' success came before the AFL and NFL banned together and created the Super Bowl. Since the merger, the Packers have three Super Bowl titles and are making their fifth Super Bowl appearance.
All that is great, but the Packers fan base isn't as big as Steeler Nation. I can't go down Carson Street in Pittsburgh and go to a Packers bar. However, I can go to any state or almost any country and find many Steelers fans and Steelers bars.
I bet I could even go downtown Dallas and find at least one Steelers bar. The Steelers were the team of the '70s. They won four Super Bowls and had arguably the most talented team in NFL history. Steeler Nation was in full force. Then the steel mills started to close down and a lot of people lost their jobs. Most Pittsburghers were forced to move out of the city or state and find work.
This is obviously the main reason you see so many Steelers fans at opposing teams' stadiums when the Steelers come to town. Steeler fans are everywhere in this country.
Not only do I think the Steelers have the best fan base, I think they're now the best, most successful franchise in the NFL.
After beating the New York Jets 24-19 on Sunday, the Steelers will be looking for a record seventh Super Bowl title against the Green Bay Packers on Feb. 6. The Steelers also tied the Cowboys for most postseason wins with 33, and set a new mark for most postseason home wins with 20.
If they beat the Packers in the Super Bowl they'll have two more Super Bowl victories than the Cowboys in the same amount of appearances. The Steelers are successful and do so without buying many big free agents. They're a classy organization that believes in teamwork, handwork and building from within.
If you still want to call the Cowboys America's Team, that's fine. But the Steelers truly have the best fans in the NFL. Steeler Nation is way stronger than the Cowboys fan base and it will show when half of the Cowboys' brand new stadium is filled with black and gold jerseys for Super Bowl XLV.