Whether you were alive in the ’70’s or not, you damn well better know about the rivalry that ensued between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys. So-called “America’s Team” full of glamour and filled with a prim and proper style up against the “Men of Steel” from the harsh, dirty environment of the rust belt.
Twice they would meet in two of the greatest Super Bowls of all-time which both finished with Steelers’ victories. The rivalry would go on long periods of hiatus with the two teams being in separate conferences they rarely played in the regular season. In 1995, the two rivals would square off again in Super Bowl XXX where the Cowboys won 27-17 in a game where the Steelers outplayed them in may facets but turned it over twice late .
The rivalry would even spawn a best-selling book about how the two teams were built and eventually how they met up. It was an excellent take on just how different the teams truly were.
There is no such thing as fan who likes both the Steelers and Cowboys. If there is, you should be shunned from both fan bases. In fact, if you have more than one ‘favorite’ team period then you better be in 4th grade.
Under the NFL’s new scheduling policy, the teams are now guaranteed to play every four years and the location will rotate between Pittsburgh and Dallas. The last meeting ended with a Steelers’ win in Heinz Field in 2008. Now the Steelers head to ‘Jerry World’ and both teams are stuck in neutral at 7-6 and in ‘must-win’ situations.
This game is much more than just keeping playoff hopes alive though, this is also about a rivalry born long ago which still burns in the hearts of both fan bases. Earlier this week, Ben Roethlisberger was asked about Dallas being “America’s Team.” He said, “If they’re America’s Team, then we’re the World’s Team.”
Consider that a shot across the bow.
Both teams have injuries and both teams are dealing with off-field issues. Those things will not be taken into consideration by either organization however because there can be no excuses. The Cowboys are coming off a win in the type of game they usually lose while the Steelers are coming off one of their worst performances ever under Mike Tomlin. In essence, something’s gotta give.
The last time Pittsburgh set foot in the billion-dollar theme park known as a football stadium, they were getting beat by the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XLV. There are many guys still on the roster from that team and I would certainly hope they would like to gain just an ounce of revenge in getting that horrible taste out of their mouths.
Despite the fact the Steelers lost at home last week, they still control their own fate for the playoffs. A win in Dallas would give the Steelers a tremendous advantage with two home games remaining, yet they will mean noting should they come out and play as they did last week.
There should be no need for motivation. The motivation is there for many reasons. While I love seeing the black ‘n gold jerseys at home, I take a special amount of satisfaction when I see them on the field against the white jerseys in Dallas.
Although he shouldn’t have to, I hope Mike Tomlin gives his team a history lesson this week. He should show them the play of guys like Lambert and Swann, Stallworth and Blount and Bradshaw and Bleier as they played against Dallas. Perhaps if anything, it will encourage this team and provide them with just enough reason to beat Dallas for more than just the obvious one.
Marc Uhlmann writes for and co-owns www.steelcityblitz.com. Follow him on Twitter @steeldad and follow the website at @SCBlitz. He can be heard Mondays on Trib-Live Radio at 4pm ET talking Steelers.