When it comes to the Pittsburgh Steelers, I have nothing but respect for the way they handle their business, as well as their fan base. Truth be told, I’ve never met a fair-weather or a bandwagon-ass Steelers fan before, which I certainly can’t say for the other organizations listed above. Even when the Steelers don’t go all the way, their fans always have their back. They’re waving The Terrible Towel when they’re winning, losing, playing great, playing like crap, overachieving, underachieving; it doesn’t matter. Those fans are the epitome of loyal. As for their team, they have plenty of players that are just plain raw. Ben Roethlisberger has been my dude since day one, Santonio Holmes is on the verge (if not already) of being a top-ten receiver. James Harrison is a monster, their secondary is off-the-chain, and you can’t help but love Mike Tomlin and the job him and his coaches have done with the team.
Tar Heel basketball gets similar respect from me as well. When it comes to college basketball, I see it as a positive when UNC is one of the elite programs in the country. They had the luxury of having a hungry, experienced squad, after they got thrashed by Kansas, in the 2008 Final Four. The core of their team came back with a vengeance, and literally ran through everyone on their way to the National Championship, and even when I wanted Oklahoma to beat them in the Elite Eight, and Michigan State to take it in the Final, I couldn’t be mad when UNC took the cake.
Now if anyone has been on this site enough, they know how ETSF feels about the Los Angeles Lakers, so there’s no need to re-hash that. (Ed's note - Yes there is, they got away with the HEIST OF THE CENTURY by trading KWAME BROWN for Pau Gasol!!! Where is Stephen A.? Oh, I found him...)
The bottom line is the Lakers made their primary goal to win the title, made the most of their opportunities, and in the end, they prevailed. I can respect that portion of it, especially because of what the team has gone through for the past several years. As for their fan base, I still think they have their fair share of bandwagon riders and fair-weathers, which my blogger-in-crime, The NFL Chick, has eloquently defined, but I’ve come to accept the fact that it comes with the territory.
This last brand (because I refuse to call them a team) is the one I struggle with even more than the Lakers. Now the facts are the facts: the New York Yankees won the World Series, which Ed went into detail about in yesterday’s post, and they should be commended. However, I still think The Pete Bell Philosophy (we got the best players money can buy) is the devil. I hate that there is no salary cap in baseball, so they can outspend everyone, and basically buy a championship. I don’t see that as being fair or constituting anything resembling team, even though it’s certainly within the rules. I hate that they’re a collection of the highest-paid players in baseball, like Neon Boudeaux, Butch McRae, and Ricky Roe were in Blue Chips. That’s why I call them a brand, and not a team. Even with that, the fact that they prevailed and won their 27th championship, the most in Major League Baseball history, culminates the fact that this is indeed the year of the storied franchise.
THOUGHTS? IS THIS WHAT PROFESSIONAL SPORTS SHOULD BE LIKE? WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE? LET US KNOW!