So, Packers or Steelers?
The case for both sides
I supposed last week that the Green Bay Packers are slightly more deserving of Jew-love than the Pittsburgh Steelers. On the other hand, I yesterday published a feature about the fundamental and crucial Jewishness of the American Football League, the defunct federation whose 10 teams were absorbed into the American Football Conference—whose representative, this year, is the Steelers. On the other hand, the Steelers (like the Packers) are of course an old-line NFL team that existed decades before the AFL; they were merely one of three teams that moved to the AFC after the 1970 merger (can you name the other two? Answer* after the jump).
Before you make up your mind, consider two excellent recent JTA articles. In one, we learn that Curly Lambeau, who in 1919 founded the Packers (whose legendary field bears his name), had a good friend who was a Jewish cattle rancher, Nate Abrams, who helped him and even played on the squad. In the other, top Jewish-sports blogger Ron Kaplan talks to Randy “The Rabbi” Grossman, the Jewish tight end of the legendary 1970s Steelers squads that reached four Super Bowls, and won ‘em all.
So: Who’s your team? I’ll be rooting for the Packers, as will Rabbi Andy, as will, apparently, James Besser of New York Jewish Week (a Bears fan, no less!). But reasonable minds can differ.
Most of all: What are you planning to eat?
* The three pre-merger NFL teams that landed in the AFC are the Steelers; the Indianapolis (formerly Baltimore) Colts; and the Cleveland Browns (who were themselves refugees from a now-defunct league, the All-America Football Conference).
If you were convinced by my article, incidentally, then you may wish to know which were the 10 AFL franchises (non-original ones italicized). They were the Buffalo Bills; Cincinnati Bengals; Denver Broncos; Kansas City Chiefs (originally Dallas Texans); Miami Dolphins; New England (formerly Boston) Patriots; New York Jets (formerly Titans); Oakland Raiders; San Diego (originaly Los Angeles) Chargers; and Tennessee Titans (originally the Houston Oilers).
‘Curly’s’ Sidekick Nate Abrams a Forgotten Man in Packers’ Lore [JTA]
The Ring’s the Thing: Ex-Steeler Randy ‘The Rabbi’ Grossman Recalls Glory Days [JTA]
Related: The Other League [Tablet Magazine]
Earlier: Packers Versus Steelers