Sports in Pittsburgh have been played dating back to the American Civil War. Baseball, hockey, and the first professional American football game had been played in the city by 1895. Pittsburgh was first known as the "City of Champions" when the Pittsburgh Pirates, Pittsburgh Panthers, and Pittsburgh Steelers won multiple championships in the 1970s. Today, the city has three major professional sports franchises, the Pirates, Steelers, and Penguins; while the University of Pittsburgh Panthers compete in a Division I BCS conference, the highest level of collegiate athletics in the United States, in both football and basketball. Local universities Duquesne and Robert Morris also field Division I teams in men's and women's basketball and Division I FCS teams in football. Robert Morris also fields Division I men's and women's ice hockey teams.
Pittsburgh is once again being called the "City of Champions" as its Steelers and Penguins are recent champions of the NFL and NHL, respectively, in 2009. These accomplishments and others helped Pittsburgh earn the title of "Best Sports City" in 2009 from the Sporting News. Including the 2008-09 seasons, the Steelers have reached the NFL playoffs in six of the last eight seasons—winning two Super Bowl titles—and the Penguins have reached the NHL playoffs the last four years with back-to-back finals appearances, an Atlantic Division Crown, and a Stanley Cup championship.
The flag of Pittsburgh is colored with black and gold, based on the colors of William Pitt's coat of arms; Pittsburgh is the only city in the United States in which all professional sporting teams share the same colors. The city's first National Hockey League (NHL) franchise, the Pittsburgh Pirates were the first to wear black and gold as their colors. The colors were adopted by founder of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Art Rooney, in 1933. In 1948, the Pittsburgh baseball Pirates switched their colors from red and blue to black and gold. Pittsburgh's second NHL franchise, the Pittsburgh Penguins, wore blue and white, due to general manager Jack Riley's upbringing in Ontario. In 1979, after the Steelers and Pirates had each won their respective league championships, the Penguins altered their color scheme to match, despite objections from the Boston Bruins.
In 1975, late Steelers radio broadcaster Myron Cope invented the Terrible Towel, which has become "arguably the best-known fan symbol of any major pro sports team." Cope was one of multiple sports figures born in Pittsburgh and its surrounding area; others include golfer Arnold Palmer, Olympian Kurt Angle, and basketball player Jack Twyman. Pittsburgh is also sometimes called the "Cradle of Quarterbacks" due to the number of prominent players of that position who hail from the area, including NFL greats Jim Kelly, George Blanda, Johnny Unitas, Joe Namath, Dan Marino, and Joe Montana.
Famous quotes containing the words pittsburgh and/or sports:
“The largest business in American handled by a woman is the Money Order Department of the Pittsburgh Post-office; Mary Steel has it in charge.”
—Lydia Hoyt Farmer (18421903)
“Come, my Celia, let us prove
While we may the sports of love;
Time will not be ours forever,
He at length our good will sever.”
—Ben Jonson (15721637)