Kids are back to school, the days are becoming shorter, and America’s new favorite pastime is back…football. I’m not talking about the professional team, either. To only speak of the NFL would do this area a huge disservice. Pittsburgh isn’t an NFL town. Pittsburgh is a football town to it’s core. From mighty mites, to termites, to high school, to college, to women’s leagues…this city celebrates every level of football.
Let’s start with how many players the Pittsburgh area has sent to the professional level. Known as “The Cradle of Quarterbacks”, the Western Pennsylvania area has sent a unprecedented 37 quarterbacks to the NFL. Sit back and digest that statistic for a moment. Pittsburgh and it’s surrounding counties could have a quarterback represent all 32 NFL teams, with 5 extra just in case of injury or expansion! What’s even more impressive is the list of quarterbacks who are native to the area. Hall of Famers Joe Montana, Johnny Unitas, Joe Namath, Dan Marino, and Jim Kelly are just naming a few!
Last fall, the Esquire network chronicled the Beaver County Youth Football League in it’s third season of Friday Night Tykes, this time subtitled “Steel Country”. This was the first time in the Friday Night Tykes series where they filmed outside the state of Texas. Yes…we’re as passionate as the state of Texas when it comes to football. And, trust me, Ohio and West Virginia are very envious. 😉
Speaking of Beaver County, Aliquippa is known as one of the country’s hottest football towns. Mike Ditka, Ty Law, Darrelle Revis, Sean Gilbert, Frank Ribar, Tommie Campbell and Jonathan Baldwin have all played in the NFL. Even neighboring school Hopewell has sent 4 players to the NFL, including Tony Dorsett, Paul Posluszny, Dan Rains, and Bill Koman. In essence, the 15001 postal code has 11 NFL alum to brag about, with a couple Hall of Famers and future Hall of Famers mixed in. Keep in mind, that’s only one postal code. We haven’t even grazed the surface of players Western Pennsylvania has sent to the pros.
Showing no bias, the Pittsburgh area also had it’s share of women’s teams to dominate the gridiron. The Pittsburgh Passion, Pittsburgh Force, and Steel City Renegades have all staked claim in various women’s leagues, however only the Passion remain active today.
So, we can all sit back and talk about a certain team that plays on Sundays, but where’s the fun in that? Go check out your local teams and feel the real football fever. Football has become America’s game, but the crux of the love starts at the youth and high school levels. Appreciate the tradition and talent we have in our area!
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