- Grove City, Pennsylvania

February 7, 2013

EXTRA INNINGS: Steelers only 5th in number of NFL titles

By Jim Sankey
Allied News Columnist

0pinion — I HAD TO smile every time I heard Steelers fans say they were rooting for Baltimore in this year’s Super Bowl. As much as it pained them, they had to pull for the much-despised Birds because a 49ers win would have tied San Francisco with the Steelers—still the only team with six titles.

I didn’t have the heart to tell them that according to NFL record books, the Steelers are no better than fifth in accumulating NFL championships.

The Green Bay Packers have won the most titles with 13; the Chicago Bears are second with nine. Even those Cleveland Browns have won more than Pittsburgh: they are third with eight total championships (counting four from AAFL). The New York Giants are fourth with seven titles, leaving Pittsburgh in fifth with six.

While it’s true that the Steelers are the only team with six Super Bowls, the other teams won titles before 1966, before the current championship format was instituted.

The Packers won titles in 1929, 1930, and 1931, when league championships were determined by record only.

In 1933, the NFL split into two conferences, with the leader of each meeting in a playoff to determine the league champion. Green Bay won titles in this system in 1936, 1939, 1944, 1961, 1964, and 1965.  

The Packers won Super Bowls in 1967, 1968, 1998, and 2011.

Does this mean that Green Bay should be considered to have won only four titles, since only four come with a Vince Lombardi Trophy?

You can’t win a Super Bowl if there was no such game available to play!

Or should teams’ statistics prior to 1966 “not count”?

This fact certainly does not diminish Pittsburgh’s accomplishments in the last 47 seasons, but it does remind that the Steelers are not yet halfway to matching the championships won by the team that plays in “Titletown, USA.”

And that’s why Green Bay’s helmet features the letter “G.” It stands for “Greatness.” If were to signify the name of the city, would it not have “GB”? Designed in 1961 by team equipment manager George Brashier, it reminds all of what the team with 13 championships has accomplished.

STILL NO LOMBARDI TROPHIES: On the other side of the coin, 10 teams have played in Super Bowls but not won:

ä Pity the fans of Buffalo and Minnesota, who have lost all four times each made it to the big game. The Bills are the only team to lose four straight years. (However, Minnesota does have an NFL championship.)

ä Philadelphia (NFL champion in 1960) and Cincinnati each have two winless appearances.

ä Arizona (NFL champs in 1947 in Chicago), San Diego (AFL champs in 1963), Atlanta, Carolina, Seattle, and Tennessee each have played in one title game.

Four teams have never won Super Bowls: Jacksonville and Houston have zero titles, as do Cleveland and Detroit, both of whom have NFL titles prior to the implementation of the Super Bowl.

FIVE FLORIDA GAMES ON TV: Pittsburgh Pirates telecaster Root Sports will add one additional pre-season game to the 2013 schedule. This year’s broadcasts include 7:05 p.m. games against Baltimore on Friday, March 8 Minnesota on Saturday, March 9; a 1:35 p.m. against Boston on Saturday, March 23 and a 1:05 p.m. game against Baltimore on Sunday, March 24. On Friday, March 1 the Bucs play split squad games against the Orioles (1:05 and 7:05 p.m.), with the decision not yet made concerning which contest will be shown.

ON THE AIR: Broadcasters again this year are Tim Neverett, starting his fifth season behind the mike; Greg Brown and Bob Walk, both serving since 1994; Steve Blass, on the air since 1986; and John Wehner, a member of the team since 2005. Wehner came on board (for away games only) in 2005, when Blass decided to do home games only.

Brown and Neverett do play-by-play, while the other three share the role of commentator for Pirates games.

Jim Sankey is a columnist for Allied News.