TitleTown, USA? OK. But win or lose this ESPN-created designation, Pittsburgh is the first and only "City of Champions."
You know about the history of the Steelers. Five Super Bowl titles: 1975, 1976, 1979, 1980 and 2006. That's tied with the 49ers (You're welcome for Joe Montana) and Cowboys (And you're welcome for Tony Dorsett. That's the same Dorsett who helped win Pitt's 11th national title in 1976, eighth most all time.) for the most all time. In fact, the Steelers are such a successful franchise, perhaps they feel almost too secure in their superiority, for there is no other explanation for things such as this Steelers mascot.
As for the Pirates, only the Yankees, Cardinals and Red Sox have more World Series championships than Pittsburgh's five. And the Pirates aren't even the best baseball franchise in the city's history. The Homestead Grays won the most World Series in Negro Leagues history. They were so good, many of the team's surviving players could play for today's Pirates.
Heck, even some of the deceased could.
The Penguins have been one of the NHL's most successful franchises since Mario Lemieux came to town in 1984. He led the Penguins to back-to-back Stanley Cups in 1991 and 1992 and now, as the team's principal owner, has helped build a squad primed to contend for Cups for the next decade. And Lemieux's Penguins would have won more titles in the mid-90s if terrorists hadn't rudely destroyed their arena Jean-Claude Van Damme's "Sudden Death."
For a city without an NBA franchise, Pittsburgh has an impressive basketball résumé. Almost more impressive, in fact, than many cities WITH an NBA team. (Looking at you, New York.) The first-ever ABA championship was won by Connie Hawkins and the Pittsburgh Condors. Pitt's basketball team has won the Big East tournament twice in the past six years. And, most impressively of all, in my opinion, was the ragtag, Dr. J and Meadowlark Lemon-led Pittsburgh Pisces winning a championship against a stacked Los Angeles team and revolutionizing sports by proving that the best teams are made up of players with the same astrological sign.
Football, baseball, hockey, basketball. Pittsburgh's résumé stacks up with the best in the big four.
Throw in Arnold Palmer from nearby Latrobe (seven major titles, 62 PGA wins), women's basketball star Suzie McConnell-Serio (gold in the 1988
Olympics) and well, Pittsburgh has so many champions -- Stan Musial, Joe Namath, Johnny Unitas -- it has to outsource them to help less fortunate cities.
TitleTown, USA, City of Champions, whatever you want to call it, it's Pittsburgh, Pa. There's more to come for the city, too and soon. The mighty Pirates are playing well early in the season and those Penguins aren't too bad either.