Saturday, January 29, 2011

Lesson 35: XLV means 45

On Sunday, February 6, 2011 my family will have the ultimate football showdown: a Pittsburgh Steeler vs Green Bay Packer match up in Super Bowl XLV--that's 45 if you aren't familiar with the Roman Numerals--We still use those, why?   It will undoubtedly be legendary.  The Overdorffs are die hard Steeler fans and the Groshek boys are big, giant cheeseheads.  With intermarriage, Karen is allowed dual allegiance.  This keeps her well pleased as she can buy twice the merchandise. 

Both teams are not only deserving to play in America's top game, but have the most interesting histories behind their franchises.  I thought I'd take a bit of cyber space to give you a little NFL history lesson.  When I am done, I hope that you find it almost hard to choose who to root for.  If you are one of my Slovenian followers, pick Pittsburgh because Eloise is a Pennsylvanian.

My sources of information are mainly personal comments from my father on the Pittsburgh side and brother in law, WisCONsin native, Steve, as well as my friend Mr. Wikipedia, and numerous NFL and fan websites.

We'll start with the underdogs in my opinion, but not according to the odds makers (who do they think they are anyway?):  The Packers.   Many people know that Green Bay is a fan owned franchise and that the wait for season tickets is now estimated to be 100 years.  Aunt Eloise loves to buy her nephews Erik and Jack, Green Bay team attire for Christmas every year.  I also love to find things with the big G on them because I tell them the G really stands for Groshek.  I was always under the assumption that the G was for Green Bay.  Here is a little gold nugget of information for you:  the original intent of the golden G was to stand for "Greatness."  The Pack also has quite a following that is admirable given the winters they have up in that God Forsaken Land.  I found out that every game at Lambeau Field has been sold out since 1960, regardless of their performance, no matter the temperature.  Now that readers, is something special to be said about loyalty to your team.  Hats off to.....,or rather, hoods up to the Packer fans on that one.

The Steeler fans, who have united under the name Steeler Nation, do not share quite as warm and fuzzy reputation.  They are often referred to as "white trash hillbillies". Given the working class town that the Steelers call home to, the fans match the rough and tumble nature of the team.  Sports journalists have sometimes portrayed the fans in according to Wikipedia, "an unflattering light."  One sports journalist called them the "grubbiest, loudest, and nastiest fan base in all of sports."  I think I should send that writer to Cleveland to visit all of the Ohio Overdorffs and sit him in the Dog Pound, or have him shout "I love LeBron James!" at the top of his lungs.  I beg to differ.  Cleveland fans are way worse.

Rough as the fans can be, Steelers fans are loyal too, as they bow down to the Rooney family who has owned the franchise since the beginning.  The Rooney family history is extremely interesting and if you want a good read, look up some of that on the internet.  They love the city of Pittsburgh and always use the team to help the betterment of the city. 

Love and loyalty are two themes are interwoven into both teams.  The Pittsburgh fans will surely be gnawing on Roethlisburgers and smashing the Iron City beer cans off of their foreheads next Sunday.  The Cheeseheads of WisCONson will be no doubt eating cheesecurds while swilling Milwaukee brewed Miller Genuine Draft.  Both will be 100% behind the team they love.  They'll cheer, clap, shout, yell, and even cry.  If you don't believe me, just come and see my mother watch a Steelers game. 

No matter where you live, or who you like, pick a team and watch the game.  It is part of our culture, part of America.  If you don't understand the game, wait for the commercials.  If you aren't much for those, watch the half time show.  If that doesn't trip your trigger than at least cook up some food and invite a few friends over and watch them watch the game.  If none of that catches your fancy you are a total loser so get off of my blog.  Eloise does not have any room in her life for crabby people.

I feel like I can't lose this year.  I got what I really wanted--the match up and two weeks of squealing and anticipation and speculation over what might happen.  The anticipation is often better than the actual event in my book.  I hope it's a great game.....legendary.

Here we go!

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