America always roots for winners which inevitably leads to bandwagon jumpers. It is one reason fans from other teams can’t stand Yankee fans, new Red Sox fans since 2004, the Lakers, the Celtics, the Cowboys, and the Steelers. In football, the Dallas Cowboys have always been known as America’s team. Is it possible the Steelers are laying claim to that moniker? As much as America loves a winner, they also seem to love bad boys. The Steelers can match the Cowboys winning and also their penchant for bad behavior.
In the 90s, the Cowboys won three Super Bowls but also had several run ins with the law. The success and partying ways of the Cowboys inspired Jeff Pearlman to pen Boys Will Be Boys.
Here is a short list of incidents that occurred:
Barry Switzer, head coach- caught at the airport with a gun
Nate Newton, offensive line- caught by police with 213 pounds of marijuana in his car and then FIVE WEEKS LATER caught with another 175 pounds of marijuana
Michael Irvin, wide receiver- caught snorting cocaine in a hotel room for his 30th birthday
Let’s contrast that with the Steelers from this generation with players like Ben Roethlisberger, Hines Ward, Santonio Holmes, Rashard Mendenhall, and James Harrison. Prior to this offseason, the Steelers had a couple isolated incidents with behavior like Roethlisberger’s motorcycle accident and his sexual assault charge in 2010. Convenient how they got swept under the rug. Santonio Holmes with a 4 game suspension for abusing the league’s substance abuse policy. He gets traded for his troubles. However, this offseason has been a banner year for the Steelers with Rashard Mendalhall’s ignorant tweets following the death of Osama bin Laden, Hines Ward DUI arrest, Roethlisberger’s very secretive marriage, and James Harrison’s comments from Men’s Journal expressing his opinions in Men’s Journal about Commissioner Roger Goodell and his teammates from the Super Bowl loss. Stay classy guys.
When you lose and have knuckleheads, you have the Bengals. When you win and have knuckleheads, you have the Steelers and the Cowboys. So while the accolades don’t quite add up to everything from the Cowboys in the 90s, the Steelers are well on their way. I guess being a knucklehead is okay as long as you win.