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Wednesday, December 27, 2006
No need to turn up the PA system to hear who's No. 1

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Pennsylvania: No. 1 pro | No. 7 college | No. 6 high school

By Chris Cotter
Maybe I'm a little biased, well OK, really biased, but in my expert (and I use the term "expert" loosely) opinion, Pennsylvania is No. 1 when it comes to pro football. Sure, that's pretty boastful, but I say this for a number of reasons, none of which being that I happen to have grown up there, although that helped.

Chris Cotter
Courtesy of Chris Cotter
It didn't take eight Super Bowl appearances to convince Chris that the Steelers and Eagles can play.

First, look at the NFL talent the state has produced, past and present. Do the names Johnny Unitas, George Blanda, Joe Namath, Joe Montana, Jim Kelly, Dan Marino, Tony Dorsett, Mike Ditka, and Jack Ham mean anything to you? No? Well how about Jason Taylor, Lavar Arrington, Kevin Jones, Ty Law, Marc Bulger, Rich Gannon, Marques Colston, and Larry Johnson? Yep, you guessed it, all from Pennsylvania.

And what about the players who served in the trenches for the state's two celebrated franchises? In the interest of space, I'll keep it as exclusive as possible: coaches Chuck Noll, Dick Vermeil, Bill Cowher, Buddy Ryan, and Andy Reid, as well as players Reggie White, Jerome Bettis, Greg Lloyd, Eric Allen, Rocky Bleier, and Rod Woodson embody the spirit of pro football in its truest sense.

Now that we've established that there is no shortage of Hall of Fame talent linked to Pennsylvania, let's talk Super Bowls. Yeah, Philly has a solid zero wins, but they have been to two, and combined with Pittsburgh's unparalleled five wins in six appearances, that's eight Super Bowls out of 40 that have featured at least one Pennsylvania team. Do the math, that's 20 percent. What's more, a PA team has made the playoff race in 18 out of the last 25 years, 72 percent of the time!

But when you really get down to it, it's the character and the history of Pennsylvania's teams that makes the state No. 1. With props and chants such as The Terrible Towel, "Here We Go Steelers," "Fly Eagles Fly," "E-A-G-L-E-S, Eagles," fans take great pride in their respective teams. When the team wins, the people feel a sense of accomplishment. When the team loses, it weighs on everyone for the next week. One thing is certain: Both communities expect their teams to win. Hard work and dedication are the backbones of this state's people, and in kind, their teams.

Stillers, Iggles, I dare you to find another state with as much character, tradition and talent as PA.

Oh yeah, and Kennett High School football rules!

Writer Chris Cotter occasionally blogs at Rockstarforhire.

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