64 Reasons Pittsburgh Rules

SteelersIt's too bad the Super Bowl will be held in Dallas this year. While Jerry Jones is packing 'em in in Texas, the world will be missing out on one of the most fabulous cities in the world.

Pittsburgh! Home to the Pittsburgh Steelers (duh), but also a town that boasts substantial economic and cultural influence. You don't have to watch the Super Bowl to know it: Pittsburgh rocks. Let us count the ways:

  1. The Steelers: Only the fifth professional football franchise in history, they were originally called the Pirates, then renamed for the city's biggest industry (steel).
  2. Best Super Bowl Record: The Steelers have brought home the Vince Lombardi Trophy six times, more than any other team in the NFL.
  3. Pro Football: People played football in other places, but it wasn't until William (Pudge) Heffelfinger was paid to play in an Allegheny Athletic Association football team against the Pittsburgh Athletic Club that it become a profession.
  4. Football Pay: Thank Pittsburgh for making football flashy! Colorado All-America Byron "Whizzer" White was signed to a $15,800 contract in 1938, making White the first "big money" player in the NFL.
  5. Terrible Towel: Waved by fans at every Steelers game, it's the one "gimmick" in professional sports that can also help you clean up your spilled beer, wipe down a stadium seat after a rainstorm, and clear your face of the black and gold makeup on the ride home from the game. Can a foam block of cheese do any of that?
  6. Big Mac: No one would have their two all-beef patties on a sesame seed bun if it weren't for the Steel City. The signature sandwich was invented by Jim Delligatti, a McDonald's franchisee from Pittsburgh.
  7. The Bridges: At 446, Pittsburgh has more bridges than any other city in the world. Take that Venice.
  8. Troy Polamalu: The Steelers' star safety has the best hair in the NFL; it's been insured for $1 million.
  9. Brett Keisel: Sorry Magnum, PI, your mustache has nothing on this defensive end and his 'stache and luscious beard.
  10. Mister Rogers: Fred Rogers' real neighbors all live in Pittsburgh. That's where he was raised, where he fell in love with the trolleys that showed up on his show and where kids can still visit his neighborhood.
  11. One Wardrobe, Three Ways to Represent: The Steelers, the Pirates, and the Penguins all sport the same team colors so Pittsburgh fans only need to buy one outfit to show their pride.
  12. Most Livable City: In 2010, both Forbes and Yahoo! listed Pittsburgh as the most livable city in the United States.
  13. International Poetry Forum: Since 1966 Pittsburgh has hosted the top stars of the poetry world every year.  
  14. City Maintained Steps: Located all over this hilly city, if the steps were stacked on top of each other, they'd top 26,000 feet high. That's higher than a lot of the Himalayan Mountains.
  15. Ferris Wheel: You can thank Pittsburgh native and civil engineer, George Washington Gale Ferris, for all those happy "going to the fair" memories as a kid. He created the first wheel that bears his name.
  16. First World Series: What would baseball be without a fall classic? The Boston Pilgrims defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates five games to three in baseball's first modern World Series in 1903. Naturally, several of the games were played at the Pirates' home.
  17. First Baseball Stadium: Before Forbes Field, there was no "stadium" for pro games.
  18. First Night Game for the World Series: Relieved you don't have to skip out of work early to watch the World Series games every year? Thank the Pittsburgh Pirates for hosting the first championship night game ever.
  19. Primanti Brothers: Like French fries on your sandwich, not beside it? Thank the geniuses at this Pitt landmark restaurant.
  20. Adventure City: National Geographic Adventure named Pittsburgh "number one" on its Adventure Cities list.
  21. Banana Split: Imagine the world without three scoops of ice cream on a piece of fruit. It's a dessert you can pretend is healthy. Hey -- there's fruit in there! And it was invented at Strickler's Drug Store in Latrobe, Pennsylvania (right outside of Pittsburgh).
  22. First Air Brake: It takes a city known for its steep inclines to give the world the ability to stop on a dime. The first practical air brake for railroads was invented by George Westinghouse in the 1860s ... in Pittsburgh.
  23. Medical Miracles: The first simultaneous heart, liver, and kidney transplant was performed at Presbyterian-University Hospital.
  24. My So-Called Life: Jordan Catalano made us swoon in a town called Three Rivers, a fictional suburb of Pittsburgh.
  25. The Smiley Face: Every time you send a happy face on the Internet, you can thank Carnegie Mellon University and computer scientist Scott Fahlman. He invented the emoticon in Pittsburgh in 1980. Come on, give us a :)
  26. Hines Ward: Speaking of smiley faces, this Steelers wide receiver makes the ladies melt with his big grins. He also happens to be the all-time team leader in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns and the only receiver in Steeler history to surpass 1,000 receiving yards for four straight seasons. Oh yeah, and he's President Obama's pick for his advisory commission on Asian-Americans and Pacific islanders.
  27. Adventureland: What would Twilight fans do without a Kristen Stewart fix? Her 2009 movie was filmed here.
  28. Heinz Ketchup: The 57 special ingredients all came together in Pittsburgh, where the Steelers play on Heinz Field.
  29. Flashdance: Jennifer Beals won an Oscar for her acting, but Pittsburgh provided the setting.
  30. Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum: Proving it's an All-American town, Pittsburgh is home to the Nation's only Military Museum dedicated to honoring the men and women of all branches of service.
  31. Kennywood: One of the oldest amusement parks in the U.S., it's on the National Historic Landmark and has earned Pittsburgh the title “the Roller Coaster Capital of the World.”
  32. Iron City Beer: How many cities have a beer named for them? Drink up!
  33. Best City for Relocating Families: Pitt got the vote in 2008. Come on kids!
  34. Sidney Crosby: The Pittsburgh Penguin was the youngest team captain in history to win the Stanley Cup.
  35. Christina Aguilera: She's singing at the Super Bowl and doing her town proud -- Aguilera grew up right outside the city.
  36. The Silence of the Lambs: Next time you've got a taste for fava beans, thank Pittsburgh for lending Anthony Hopkins the backdrop to creep us out.
  37. First Pull-Tab on Cans: Making soda accessible to anyone with an opposable thumb, the first pull-tab was developed by Alcoa in the '60s.
  38. National Aviary: Home to more than 200 species, it's considered the number one destination for bird enthusiasts.
  39. First Zippo Lighter: And then there was fire! In 1932 George G. Blaisdell invented the Zippo lighter in Pittsburgh.
  40. Water Gateway: Pittsburgh has the nation's largest inland port.
  41. Saving the Kids: The first Mr. Yuk sticker was created at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh in the '70s, ensuring no kid would ever be tempted to drink bleach again.
  42. WQED: The first public TV station in the U.S.
  43. KDKA: The first U.S. commercial radio station.
  44. F. Murray Abraham: Long before he was an Academy Award winner for Amadeus, he was a kid from the Allegheny area.
  45. Dialect: According to linguistics professors such as Barbara Johnstone of Carnegie Mellon University, it's a city that's spawned its own sector of the English language. Pittsburghese sounds like nothing anyone else in the U.S. says.
  46. Bye Bye Polio: We all know polio was eradicated, but who knew it was Dr. Jonas Salk's work at the University of Pittsburgh that made it happen?
  47. Friendly People: Ask a new resident of Manhattan or Los Angeles how helpful their neighbors are, and you'll get a blank stare. Ask a new resident of Pittsburgh, and you'll get an earful. "They actually give directions! Good ones!"
  48. Mary Cassatt: An Impressionist artist who made it big in an era when women were still supposed to be home in the kitchen, she was born in Allegheny City (now Pittsburgh).
  49. Gas Stations: Would the world be mobile without gas stations? Thank you Pittsburgh for the first auto service station, opened in 1913!
  50. Braddock Carnegie Library: The first of the 2,500-some Carnegie built libraries, it remains one of the most impressive looking in the states and still provides all the free amenities library lovers depend on.
  51. People Statues: Most cities have gargantuan stone sculptures of the most famous citizens. Pittsburgh folks show they're down to earth with the small terra cotta figures of everyday folks (and a few celebs) created by Jerry Caplan. And when we say small, think 3 feet tall.
  52. Duquesne Incline: Built in 1877 to carry people up to the top of the steep hills outside the city, it's still showing visitors the panoramic view of Downtown Pittsburgh from the observation deck 400 feet above the three rivers.
  53. Driving a Stick Shift: With all those hills, this is the one city in the world where you can learn to drive a stick shift and know you "really learned."
  54. Love and Other Drugs: Somewhere in the world are people kvelling that they got to see Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal make sexytime. And they did it in Pittsburgh!
  55. First All-Aluminum Building: The first aluminum-faced skyscraper was the Alcoa Building.
  56. Martha Graham: Modern dance was born in Pittsburgh in the form of Martha Graham.
  57. Spelling FTW!: Pittsburgh lost the "h" in its spelling in 1891, but after 20 years of protest, the U.S. Board on Geographic Names relented and the "h" was restored.
  58. Gertrude Stein: The feminist movement owes a big thanks to this Pittsburgh native.
  59. Economy Boost: Pittsburgh ranks 25th in the nation for jobs within the urban core and 6th in job density.
  60. First Motion Picture Theater: The first movie theater in the world was the "Nickelodeon," opened by Harry Davis on Smithfield Street in Pittsburgh.
  61. Andy Warhol Museum: A native son turn pop art icon, he's now celebrated with a museum that boasts an extensive art collection and various cultural opportunities.
  62. Mike Tomlin: The Steelers coach is one of the youngest in NFL history, and the youngest to lead a team to a Super Bowl. And he deserves an extra award for being the coach with a Hollywood doppelganger. Anyone seen Omar Epps?
  63. Mike Ditka: One of only two people to win Super Bowls as a player, an assistant coach, and a head coach, he was born in Pittsburgh.
  64. Liberty Tunnel: When it opened in 1924, it was the longest artificially ventilated automobile tunnel in the world.

Packer Fan? Check out 64 Reasons Green Bay Rules.

Image via PburghStever/Flickr

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