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fordfixer
03-07-2009, 12:26 AM
FRANKLIN: This Steelers Fan Celebrates
by Joe Franklin

http://www.arkansasbusiness.com/sports_ ... 749.125044 (http://www.arkansasbusiness.com/sports_article.asp?aID=112927.28749.125044)

It's a great time to be a Pittsburgh Steelers fan. Seems like old times again with two Super Bowl Championships in four years.

The Steelers, by defeating the Arizona Cardinals 27-23 in Super Bowl XLIII on Feb. 1, vaulted ahead of the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys in all-time Super Bowl championships with their sixth title. The 49ers and Cowboys each have five.

These three teams undoubtedly have been the class of the NFL during the Super Bowl era with 16 of 43 wins (37 percent). The league has 32 teams and almost half of them have never won a Super Bowl.

I became a Steeler fan as a young kid in the late 1970s by watching them win back-to-back Super Bowls. By the way, it's a feat they accomplished twice in that decade with four wins in six seasons.

I theorize that there are three ways you become a fan of a certain team as a youngster. First and most obvious is that you grew up in or around the area of this team. It almost seems embedded in you. Some people choose to go totally against the grain on this one and cheer for the team's biggest rival, and I'm not sure that's a wise decision, but whatever works for you.

Secondly (and this can go hand in hand with the first reason), you become a fan of one or both of your parents' favorite team. If you happen to live in a split household, you have a tough choice to make.

Lastly, it's all about exposure. The team you are exposed to the most may very well become your favorite. Once again, this can coincide with reasons one and two.In my case, it was solely reason three. My parents are from Chicago and they love every team affiliated with the city. Living in Arkansas (Go Hogs!), we know there is not a major professional sports team here. I saw the Steelers on TV more than any other team because they were on top of the sports world when I began watching. One thing I know about this is, Pittsburgh has gained plenty of young fans from this area within the last five years too, so fans of other teams, watch out. You may be outnumbered.

Things haven't always looked this promising for the Steelers. They experienced a dark period that all teams will endure at some point. The success of the '70s was followed by one AFC Championship game and no Super Bowl appearances in the '80s.

Longtime coach Chuck Noll retired in 1992, beginning the Bill Cowher era. Cowher brought back the winning ways, with much success. He couldn't quite get over the hump from 1994 to 2004, going 1-4 in AFC Championship games (all on the Steelers' home field) and losing a Super Bowl to Dallas.

Between 2003 and 2005, Pittsburgh acquired first-round draft picks Troy Polamalu, Ben Roethlisberger and Heath Miller. These selections would prove to be key in winning Super Bowl XL over the Seattle Seahawks in February 2006. The Steelers' 2006 No. 1 pick, wide receiver Santonio Holmes, came in as a rookie with a hunger watching his teammates celebrate a fresh championship. Cowher would retire after the up-and-down '06 season, in which the team went 8-8. In a surprising move, the Steelers went outside their organization and hired Mike Tomlin as head coach.

Two years later Tomlin and Holmes would become Super Bowl champions as well. Steelers' fans, wave your Terrible Towels.

Here we go!