Fox Sports writer Clay Travis released an article in August titled the Ten Dumbest Fan Bases In America. This article was recently shared to me, as a joke, from my soon-to-be brother-in-law (since he's a salty Colts fan who still can't come to grips with Ben Roethlisberger's record shattering, Colt-stomping performance last Sunday.)
For those who are unfamiliar, Mr. Travis ranked the Pittsburgh Steelers as the sixth dumbest fan base in America. But unlike satire from websites like The Onion, Clay Travis' take on the subject was anything but funny, playing off of rude stereotypes and coming off incredibly mean-spirited.
If I were to guess, Mr. Travis is a salty fan who still cannot get over the Steelers victory over the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII; due to his constant mention of the city of Phoenix and the Cardinals. (Also, those Steelers fans from West Virginia will really dislike that WVU is on his list at #8.)
As a defender of Steeler Nation, I decided to refute the writer's claims...
What happens if a city is so crappy that everyone leaves that city yet continues to root for the same awful team even after they've left?
The worst part of this line is stating a city is crappy without as much as one reason for their opinion. Is it because it's an older city? Abandoned buildings? Cold winters? We'll never know.
And so what if someone leaves their city? The Cleveland Browns didn't have a team for three years, and look at the support for their franchise. (Maybe they'll end up higher on Travis' list?)
Forget explaining the same awful team part of his rant: the Steelers are so bad they haven't had a losing season since 2003, and in that same time, have appeared in 3 Super Bowls.
...where they wear Hines Ward jerseys, twirl towels, and bitch that the local team's game is on TV instead of the Steeler game. You want to know how to stop a Steeler fan from bragging about Jerome Bettis or Terry Bradshaw or penal league all-star Ben Roethlisberger?
...He's sitting at your neighborhood Applebee's bar in a Troy Polamalu jersey.
You bet they are? Want to know why?
It's because Steeler Nation doesn't have to buy a new football jersey every other year, because last season's draft pick busted their way out of the NFL.
With the exception of Bradshaw, all of these Steeler greats will be in the Hall of Fame someday. Bettis is currently a finalist in the voting each year. Ward is 9th all-time in career receptions and a Super Bowl MVP. Roethlisberger and Polamalu are still writing chapters in their storied careers, and Bradshaw, well, he's already in the Hall.
Our stereotypical Steeler fan's been living in Phoenix for the past thirty years...
"Arizona sucks!" he screams...
Occasionally he calls into local sports talk radio and berates Phoenix sports fans...
Everyone in Pittsburgh knows that the Arizona Cardinals are trying to be the Steelers, even jokingly called "Steelers West" around the Burgh. There's a good chance if the Black & Gold part ways with a player, they'll end up in the desert.
Just look at this list of former Steelers players and staff that landed in Arizona over the last decade, including two who became head coaches for the Cards:
- Ken Whisenhunt (former OC, former Cardinals head coach)
- Bruce Arians (former OC, Cardinals head coach)
- Russ Grimm (former line coach)
- John Lott (former Steelers player, Arizona strength coach)
- Matt Raich
- Deshea Townsend
- Larry Zierlein
- Joey Porter
- Nick Eason
- Clark Haggans
- Crezdon Butler
- Max Starks
- Rashard Mendenhall
- Jonathan Dwyer
- Chris Rainey
- Larry Foote
- Bryant McFadden
- William Gay
Then, our writer takes a blow another blow at fans:
He's planning on going back to Pittsburgh for a game sometime soon, but he can't afford the gas money to drive back
Hmm... maybe because the waiting list for Steelers season tickets is rumored to be around 50 years, because the Steelers have a sellout streak that began at Three Rivers Stadium and still stands to this day:
By 1972, the Steelers were a playoff contender and began a sellout streak in Three Rivers Stadium that carried over to Heinz Field and still stands to this day. The team is second to the Washington Redskins for the longest active consecutive sellout streak in league history. (source: Wikipedia)
Last but not least, the writer takes a jab at the most iconic piece of Steelers fandom: The Terrible Towel. Instead of taking his earlier approach of pour taste humor, such as making of the homeless, Mr. Travis takes a shot at charity:
My favorite thing about the terrible towl is that it was "invented" by Myron Cope...
At this point Steeler fans always say, "But the proceeds go to charity. You hate kids!" Easy there, Bart Starr, it's pennies on the terrible towel dollar that go to charity for kids. I've got a radical idea. If you want to help kids why don't you donate money directly to the kids instead of buying a towel and sending them a penny?
Let's get one thing straight: fans love the Terrible Towel. To say fans defend the towel by said donation is ludicrous. They would buy it even if there was no charitable donation. In fact, that's how it used to be, but the author never fact-checked, and made assumptions those proceeds:
In 1996, Cope gave the rights to The Terrible Towel to the Allegheny Valley School in Coraopolis, Pennsylvania. The school provides care for more than 900 people with mental retardation and physical disabilities, including Cope's autistic son, Danny. Proceeds from the Terrible Towel have helped raise more than $2.2 million for the school. (source: Wikipedia)
The writer knowingly made fun of donations to children, despite those donations going elsewhere.
Not sure which part of the above statement is worse; but it shows the character of someone who used children, the homeless and mentally handicapped as part of his attack on Steeler Nation.