A comment on a recent article disputed Pittsburgh’s claim to the “City of Champions” moniker we so proudly display on this site, saying Boston was the true holder of that title.
While we derive our name from the confluence of Pirates’ and Steelers’ championships in 1979 – and the ’70s in general – it’s true that other cities may have a beef with our self-appointed lofty status. Site contributor Matt Lipcsak dug into the numbers to see whether Pittsburgh or Boston is more deserving of the crown:
As with many things these days, it all started with a Facebook post.
The Red Sox had just wrapped up the World Series, and a friend posted something along the lines of “Congratulations Boston, City of Champions.” Now, this friend was born and raised in Ellwood City, Pa. For those of you who don’t know where that is, it’s about 45 minutes northwest of Pittsburgh, straddling the line between Lawrence and Beaver Counties.
As you may expect, several people took offense to this comment, as we from Pittsburgh like to style ourselves as the “City of Champions” thanks to the outstanding work of the Pirates and Steelers in the 1970s. A tweet from City of Champions co-editor Matt Gajtka about a Boston fan who was trying to lay claim to the nickname reignited the idea in my head and got me thinking: “Which is the true ‘City of Champions?’”
I decided to take an empirical look at it to get an answer.
Here’s how I broke it down:
NHL: I counted the number of Stanley Cups each team has won and divided it by the number of years the team has been in existence. This number does not include the years the cup was not awarded due to labor stoppages.
NFL: Counted the number of Super Bowls won since the AFL/NFL merger and divided by the number of Super Bowls played. That’s right Cleveland, no one, and I mean NO ONE, cares about your six NFL titles.
MLB: Counted the number of World Series won and divided by the number of years the franchise has been in existence, again not including labor stoppages (Can we have a moment of silence for the 1994 Montreal Expos, please?)
Here are the results:
Red Sox – 7/111
Patriots – 3/47
Bruins – 6/88
Boston total – 16/246 (6.5%)
Pirates – 5/126
Steelers – 6/47
Penguins – 3/45
Pittsburgh total – 14/218 (6.42%)
If you add the Celtics’ 17 NBA titles in 66 years, the numbers really go funny:
Boston – 33/312 (10.58%)
Pittsburgh – 14/218 (6.42%)
So as you can see, those chowder-cramming, Sam Adams-guzzling, wicked-smaht nor’easters have a slight edge over us Yinzers for the “City of Champions” moniker. But if you really want to grind the gears of someone from the Massachusetts capital, point this out:
Yankees – 27/112
Mets – 2/51
Rangers – 4/86
Islanders – 4/41
Knicks – 2/66
Giants – 4/47
Jets – 0/47
New York total – 43/439 (9.79%)
No NBA – 41/373 (10.99%)
Nothing like reminding a Bostonian that they’re still second fiddle to New York to warm your heart. And with the current state of your Penguins and Pirates, that 0.08 percent gap between Pittsburgh and Boston may be closing rather quickly.