Thursday, January 22, 2009

Hyperbole: Alive and Kicking

So today, after my World of Warcraft guild successfully completed an epic quest, but before I settled into watching Lost DVDs, I decided to check out's Page 2. The front story --Greatest of Them All? David Fleming Wonders If The Steelers Are The Greatest Sports Franchise Ever. Hmm, interesting concept. My immediate thoughts go to teams like the Yankees, Canadiens, and Celtics, teams that have racked up dozens of championships over the years. Still though, I'm intrigued. One could make a case that the Steelers are one of the greatest franchises in NFL history, with 5 Super Bowls and 7 AFC Championships. Maybe David was going to say something about how, with only 43 Super Bowls, having a team win such a disproportionate number of titles makes them the best ever. Let's see what he's got for us:

Are the Steelers the best sports franchise ever?

EVER? You tell me.

But since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970 (something Art Sr. helped orchestrate), no one's been better. No one.

Really? No one? Nobody even close? Oh... I forgot about these guys.

And now, after seven Super Bowls,

Those guys have been to 8.

30 postseason wins, seven championship games in the past 14 years,

This 14 years part will be relevant soon.

19 Hall of Famers and the dynasty of the 1970s that includes probably the greatest, baddest football team ever assembled

Nevermind that mini dynasty of the early 90s. That doesn't mean shit.

… if you factor in the popularity of the NFL and the quaint but sturdy Midwestern soul of this franchise, it's hard to argue against what the Steelers have built.

Oh, that's a great point -- Pittsburgh has a real quaint and sturdy Midwestern soul. Sidepoint: If you're East of say... Indiana, you're not in the midwest. I don't care if they have farms in Western Pennsylvania, it's not the Midwest. Hey, New Mexico has farms, let's call that the Midwest too). Either way, having a sturdy soul doesn't have anything to do with a team being the greatest EVER.

Ok, so Mr. Fleming has given us some reasons that he thinks the Steelers are a good franchise, so let's hear why they're better than some other historically great teams.

Yes, of course, I know the Montreal Canadiens have won 24 Stanley Cups. But if we're talking about the best-run, most successful franchise in our lifetime,

Well, because the point you're trying to make is about the best team EVER, we're definitely not talking about the most successful franchise of our lifetime. Unless you're talking with Jesus, who lives forever.

the Habs are disqualified for winning only two Cups in the past 30 years.

Wait, they're disqualified from being the best team EVER because of what they've done in the past 30 years? That doesn't seem right.

There are the defending NBA champs in Boston, of course, who have collected 17 titles, but they too were largely a non-factor for the past two decades.

Again, what? The last 20 years? And didn't they just win a title last year?

The Cowboys? America's Team? Please. They haven't won a playoff game in a dozen years.

What the fuck? You're trying to prove a team is the best of ALL TIME!!!!!!!! If you wanted to prove that they're the best team in the last 30 years, maybe you'd be on to something, but right now you're just being a fucking idiot. I'm pretty sure this article started out just like that, and then some editor said, "You know what would make this jump off the page? Calling them the Greatest EVER!!!"

This is really a huge problem with sports media. It's not enough for the Steelers to be a "Great Franchise", they're have to be the "Greatest EVER". USC's Defense? Greatest EVER. Patriots last year? Greatest EVER. Ray's turnaround? Greatest EVER. Tiger's US Open? Greatest EVER. Last summer's Wimbledon Final? Greatest EVER. Michael Phelps? Greatest EVER. NCAA Bball Final last year? Greatest EVER.

At a certain point, we just get desensitized to the hype. It's a shame really. We're so overwhelmed with Greatest EVER, that when something truly great happens, sometimes it can get lost in the mix.


Larry said...

I don't see this fascination with ranking everyone and calling every new flavor of the month the "greatest ever". Clearly the Steelers are nowhere near the greatest NFL franchise ever let alone greatest franchise in all of sports.

pnoles said...


Passive Voice said...

Off topic:
This was Larry B on Oct. 19:
"The Rays won a pennant.... John Kruk is talking sense... wow. Time to start watching the Arizona Cardinals verrrrrrry closely..."


Venezuelan Beaver Cheese said...

The guy keeps changing his criteria just to find a way to declare the Steelers the "best ever." I think the "puff pieces" label might have been appropriate for this post.

Martin said...

I wonder if he even realizes that the 49er's won 5 Super Bowls before the Steelers did, much less that the Cowboys did also? this article is jsut stupid on too many levels. Musta been a slow day in his office.

Tonus said...

This post by CHart was the best EVER.

Chris W said...

Has any other supposed "best team ever" been as unlikely to even be the best team in their sport as the Steelers?

Maybe the Celtics or the Canadiens. I DON'T KNOW. SHIT.

Chris W said...

I guess what I'm trying to say is that the Yankees are clearly the greatest franchise in professional sports.

"The stats definitely favor the Yankees, I know. In fact, the numbers are nearly impossible to argue: They've got a gazillion titles (26) in 109 years, but nothing since 2000."

As opposed to title....since 2000?

Yankees are #1. Steelers on the list of all-time greatest sports franchises probably rank somewhere below the St. Louis Cardinals and the Detroit Red Wings.

Chris W said...

"The Steelers could have six in the past 43, giving them 14 percent of their sport's titles as compared to 24 percent for the Yanks. I could go on with this, but the truth is math gives me a headache"


CHart said...

Thanks Tonus, this was the best fucking article EVER. Pop Tarts for all!

Larry B said...

Tonus is my favorite commenter of all time. Also thanks to Passive Voice for reminding me of that. If they win next Sunday I'm going to be a real asshole about it. HEY EVERYONE LOOK WHAT I DID

Anonymous said...

From an article by SI's Don Banks:

People forget, but before 1972, the Steelers were the Cardinals when it came to their futile history of making the playoffs. From their founding in 1933 through 1971, the Steelers made the playoffs only once, losing an Eastern Division tiebreaker game to Philadelphia in 1947.

I feel this needs no further comment...

Larry said...

Totally off topic but looks what I found

Top of the page kicking off the awesome list.