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Setting the record straight

February 4, 2011

With the Super Bowl upon us, it is most important that you have the facts straight when Pittsburgh Steeler fans approach you boasting that they have won the most National Football League (NFL) Championships of any team.

The way Steeler fans talk, you’d think they awarded the ‘Chuck Noll Trophy’ to the Super Bowl winner each year. It’s of course the Vince Lombardi Trophy, named after legendary Green Bay Packers head coach Vince Lombardi.

The Green Bay Packers have won 12 NFL Championships (more than any other team in the NFL), including nine NFL Championships prior to the Super Bowl era and three Super Bowl victories in 1967 (Super Bowl I), 1968 (Super Bowl II) and 1996 (Super Bowl XXXI).

The Packers are also the only team to win three consecutive NFL titles, having accomplished this twice (1929-30-31 under Curly Lambeau and 1965-66-67 under Vince Lombardi).

Steeler fans like to boast they have won the most Super Bowls, which have only been played in recent times. Don’t be mislead. The Pittsburgh Steelers have won 6 NFL Championships (half that of the Packers).

At the rate the Steelers, who started play in 1933, are winning NFL Championships, they’ll catch Green Bay in 2090. That’s assuming the Packers never win a NFL Championship again, which of course they will on Sunday.

Younger Steeler fans forget that the Steelers were one of three teams jettisoned by the NFL (now known as the National Football Conference – NFC) when I was a kid in the 1960’s and placed in the newly-formed American Football Conference (AFC), made up of the lesser American Football League teams.

But for the Packers willingness to play the winner of the lesser American Football League (AFL) in the late 60’s, we may not even have the Super Bowl Sunday holiday we celebrate each year.

Steeler fans will also boast they have the greatest fan base. The facts?

The Packers’ fan base is famously dedicated.

  • Regardless of the team’s performance, every Packers game at Lambeau Field has been sold out since 1960.
  • Despite the Packers having by far the smallest local TV market, the Packers have developed one of the largest fan bases in the NFL. Each year they consistently rank as one of the top teams in terms of popularity.
  • The Packers have one of the longest waiting lists for season tickets in professional sports with about 78,000 people. There are more names on the waiting list than there are seats at Lambeau Field.
  • The average wait time for season tickets is said to be over 30 years; yet if a name were to be added to the list today, the estimated wait could extend well over 100 years.
  • For this reason, it is not unusual for fans to designate a recipient of their season tickets in their wills or place newborn infants on the waiting list after receiving birth certificates.

Based on the above, it’s understandable that Pittsburgh is envious of Green Bay, widely known as ‘TitleTown, USA.’ Have empathy for them.

Thanks to Wikipedia, from which I liberally borrowed.

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