Originally posted on February 2, 2009 by Sportslifer
SportsLifer Rewind: I posted this blog two years ago, after the Steelers won their sixth Super Bowl by beating the Arizona Cardinals. Who knew that Super Bowl XLV would pit the Steelers against the Packers.
Not to rain on Pittsburgh’s parade (hey, we all love a parade), but to claim the Steelers are the best team in NFL history is a bit over the top.
Granted, the Steelers have now win six Super Bowls, more than any other franchise — the Cowboys and the 49ers have each won five. So if you want to give Pittsburgh the nod as the best team in the Super Bowl era, well who’s to argue. No disputing the fact that they are a model franchise, classy and competitive.
But the best all-time? Not. That’s like claiming the team that has won the most World Series since baseball adopted its playoff format in 1969 is the best ever. (That team happens to be the Yankees with six (now seven) championships, but they won 20 more before 1969).
The Steelers were formed in 1933, and were NFL doormats for more than 40 years, never winning so much as a conference championship. Five years after shifting to the AFC Central in 1970, the Steelers won their first Super Bowl.
You can’t ignore history.
Packers Have Most Titles
So who is the best? Counting three Super Bowls, the Green Bay Packers have won 12 NFL, including the first two Super Bowls, since the formation of the NFL in 1920, the Packers have actually won 12 titles.
Green Bay is the only NFL team to win three straight championships (1929-31) and (1965-67), the latter including the first two Super Bowls.
The Chicago Bears also supersede the Steelers with nine NFL titles, including Super Bowl XX. And the New York Giants have seven championships, including three Super Bowls.
The Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers rank behind the Steelers with five Super Bowl wins apiece
Another team that’s sometimes forgotten in the haze of football history is the Cleveland Browns. The Browns won four straight championships in the All-America Football Conference (AAFC) before that league was disbanded in 1950. The Browns then proceeded to make six straight appearances in the NFL championship game, winning in 1950, 1954 and 1955.
Cleveland won another championship in 1964, but has never been to the Super Bowl.
Cleaning out the Notebook
Among the dozen or more “experts” in the booth for Super Bowl XLIII, it’s hard to believe NBC would include Matt Millen. Yes, the same Matt Millen, the general manager who set the Detroit Lions back years. Heck, I wouldn’t trust this guy to pick my fantasy football team.
Jennifer Hudson’s emotional rendition of the Star Spangled Banner was moving, best since Whitney Houston at Super Bowl XXV.
Finally, why didn’t the refs review Kurt Warner’s last play? Fumble or incomplete pass? Close call. But at the very least the play deserved review.
According to the NFL head of officials, the play was reviewed and upheld. For what, 20 seconds?
Rules state that if Warner’s arm is moving in a forward motion with the ball still in his hand when it comes out, the play should be ruled an incomplete pass, not a fumble.
Oh, and one more thing.
After the play, the Steelers were called for a personal foul, so if the play had been reversed, and with the 15-yard penalty yardage marked off, the Cardinals would have had the ball on the Pittsburgh 30 with about seven seconds remaining.
Certainly time enough for a miracle.
The New York Giants have been to the Super Bowl four times in their history, winning three of those games, including last year.
In their previous three campaigns following those Super Bowls, the Giants have been Super flops. But not this year. This year the defending champs are off to a 7-1 start, the class of the NFL midway through the season.
The Giants won their first Super Bowl, XXI, in January of 1987, defeating the Denver Broncos, 39-20.
They entered the 1987 season favored to repeat, but opened with losses to the Bears and Cowboys. Then came an NFL strike and three more losses that left the team 0-5. They wound up 6-9, last in the NFC East.
The Giants defeated the Bills, 20-19, in Super Bowl XXV as Buffalo’s Scott Norwood missed a field goal wide right at the final gun.
Ray Handley’s Regime
During the off-season, coach Bill Parcells, right, stepped down and was succeeded by Ray Handley.
Although the Giants opened the 1991 season with a dramatic win over the 49ers, Handley was overmatched from the start. And the Giants wound up 8-8, fourth in the NFC East and out of the playoffs.
In 2001, the Baltimore Ravens throttled the G-Men, 34-7, in Super Bowl XXXV.
The Giants opened the 2001 season with a Monday night loss in Denver on the eve of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Coach Jim Fassel’s club bounced back to win three straight games, but successive one-point losses to the Rams and Eagles started a spiral that left the team 7-9 and out of the playoffs.
GIANT EXTRAS: When the Giants beat the Steelers, 21-14, a couple of weeks back, it marked just New York’s second visit to Pittsburgh since 1971. The Steelers won that game, 17-13, when Terry Bradshaw threw a touchdown pass to Ron Shanklin in the third quarter.
Twenty years later, in a Monday night game at Three Rivers Stadium, the Steelers rallied from a 20-0 deficit to tie the game, only to see New York’s Matt Bahr win it, 23-20, with a 44-yard field goal,
For decades, the Giants and Steelers were rivals in the NFL Eastern Conference, meeting twice each season. In what is probably the most important game in their rivalry, the Steelers came into Yankee Stadium for the final game of the 1963 season needing a win to reach the NFL Championship Game for the first time. The Giants, behind Y.A. Tittle and Frank Gifford, prevailed, 33-17.
Perhaps they’ll meet in Super Bowl XLIII in February.
Do the math. The Boston Celtics have won 16 NBA titles, the Los Angeles (nee Minneapolis) Lakers 14. When the 62nd NBA Finals are completed in a few weeks, the Celtics and the Lakers will have combined for 31 titles, exactly half of the 62 championships. This is their 11th meeting in the finals, another NBA record.
What about the other sports?. Who are the champions of championships?
It starts with the New York Yankees, the king of champions. The Yankees have won 26 World Series, the most in any of the North American team sports. That’s more than double the number of championships won by the St. Louis Cardinals (10) and Philadelphia-Oakland A’s (9).
In the NFL, the Dallas Cowboys, Pittsburgh Steelers and San Francisco 49ers have each won five Super Bowls. The Green Packers have won nine total NFL titles and the Chicago Bears 7 since the first NFL championship game in 1933.
In hockey, the Montreal Canadiens, Les Habitants, are far away the ring-leaders with 23 Stanley Cups. The Habs are followed by the Toronto Arenas-St. Pats-Maple Leafs with 13 and the Detroit Red Wings with 11, including this year’s Stanley Cup.
UCLA has won 11 NCAA basketball championships and Kentucky seven since the advent of the NCAA tournament in 1939. Kentucky also won a national championship in 1933.
Notre Dame is the king of college football with 13 national championships, including nine since the polls were first instituted in 1936. In the so-called “early years” of college football (1869-1935), Yale won 18 championships and Princeton 17. All told, Alabama and USC have each won 10 total football championships, seven apiece since 1936.