Ben Roethlisberger held roughly his fifty-seventh Super Bowl XLV interview session yesterday afternoon. A reporter from Dallas, after drying the tears from his eyes, asked Ben if it irked him that the Cowboys are called “America’s Team.” Ah, Big D, keep grasping tightly at whatever straws you can in order to avoid the fact your team has become totally irrelevant because they haven’t won a damn thing in almost twenty years. Ben’s response was perfect, noting people can proclaim themselves whatever they’d like but he knows there is no larger or more passionate fan base than Steeler Nation.
Unfortunately, the Nation may find themselves in the minority this coming Sunday. Despite an infinitely larger national following than the Green Bay Packers, recent trends have shown a larger percentage of neutral football fans siding with the Cheeseheads over the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Hollwood Reporter magazine released its first ever Super Bowl Poll in the issue hitting newsstands today and the results are quite disheartening. Once upon a time, this country embraced greatness and looked up to their heroes with admiration while today they seem overcome by jealousy towards those who are wildly successful.
Then again, these same people said Fox was their favorite NFL broadcaster and Troy Aikman was their favorite analyst. Clearly we’re dealing with folks of dubious taste. Unless your idea of top-notch coverage is a break dancing robot.
According to the poll by Penn Schoen Berland, Americans are rooting for the Packers by a 45% to 39% margin. The spread is likely heavily influenced by the general unpopularity of Big Ben. Muckraking Georgia DAs and skanky college girls everywhere can rejoice because their disreputable behavior and character assassinations have succeeded in making Ben the fourth most disliked player in football. The three ahead of him are Bret Favre (proven pervert), Mike Vick (convicted animal abuser), and Tom Brady (uh, he’s just a dick). Which goes to show how media types with hidden agendas, aided by a biased commissioner, can convince the great unwashed to believe just about anything they tell them.
In a way, though, I’m kinda glad the Steelers are being underestimated this time around. Despite holding a number two seed and playing through a much tougher conference than the Pack, Las Vegas has maintained the Black and Gold as 2.5-3.5 point underdogs since the match-up was set. While Green Bay has wisely avoided providing any bulletin board material to fire up the proud Steelers, this gives Mike Tomlin plenty of fuel to fire the blast furnace. When these guys are written off like they have been all season, it only serves to make them want it more.
And, hey, at least one “expert” is picking the Steelers. The Madden NFL 11 video game, which I’ve passed up booty calls in order to continue playing because I’m a dork, predicts the Steelers will win by a score of 24-20. If you look over this history of Madden Super Bowl simulation, you’ll see the game is remarkably accurate. It missed the final score of our victory in Super Bowl XLIII by only two points. So let’s hope this Reverse Madden Curse holds true once again.
In the meantime, I’ll proudly wear my team’s colors and wave my Terrible Towel this weekend as will millions of fans across the country. Because at the end of the day, the Pittsburgh Steelers are and always will be “America’s Team.”
Oh and speaking of Steeler Pride, don’t forget my Stiller Pride Coveroo Contest running all the way through Friday. I’ve received about two dozen fantastic submissions but there’s still plenty of time to submit your most unique, funny, touching, sweet, clever, frighteningly obsessive, or (dare I say it?) sexy photo for a chance to win some awesome Steelers swag. Full details and how to enter by clicking here.