I've already beat the whole Steelers-popularity thing like a dead horse, but this recent article from Yahoo has brought the issue back up again. I saw the article linked and lauded as a quality piece of work... um, not really all that good. It's basically a guy going up and down Carson street asking the service industry about professional athletes in town. There are no real facts or statistics regarding approval or popularity. It's basically a run down of how the Penguins act in public compared to the Steelers.
Deadspin did the same thing a few weeks ago, but with swear words.
But I really liked the Empty Netters post on the subject. Seth hits the nail on the head (although again, not sure about his support of the Yahoo article); these two franchises have vastly different faces of the franchise. Hell, I'd say the Pirates have a better face of the franchise in Andrew McCutchen than the Steelers have in Roethlisberger.
But the most important thing is dispelling the notion that the Penguins are more popular than the Steelers. Maybe in the service industry that might be true (although, surprisingly, I've never heard of Ben leaving a bad tip, in fact I've heard two stories in which he's given a c-note on a small tab, which certainly doesn't make him a good person, but should make him more popular with the waiters of the world), but when it comes down to it, we're in the beginning of May, the Stanley Cup playoffs are off and running, the Steelers haven't played in five months, the Pirates are already out of it... no wonder people are so Penguins centric.
Mostly this comes out of my frustration with that Yahoo article, which was complete trash. And I don't really want to defend the Steelers players and their actions. But why is this news at all? I'm with Madden on this one; football players are generally assholes, while hockey players are much more personable and better people. That's a huge generalization, but I think we can find no better example than Sid vs. Ben.
But to say that the Penguins are more popular than the Steelers in Western PA is kind of ridiculous. Until there is a well-researched article on the subject that convinces otherwise, this is definitely still Steelers Country.