Big Lead Sports Bar


Pittsburgh's 10 Biggest Rivals...Who is #1?

I'll make this short and sweet: I just wrote 3,000+ words on 10 teams that most of you hold great dislike for. There are lots of memorable YouTube clips, tons of links, and history on these rivalries. I'm trying to get a pulse on what the city thinks is THE #1 rivalry in Pittsburgh sports, so you're a key factor in the storyline itself. If I need any more of a sales pitch than that to sell a feature I think you'd really enjoy, I should probably turn in my Blogging Card right now. Have at it.

On-air discussion on the Fan Morning Show Monday at 9:20 a.m. and
The John Phillips Show Sunday at 4:20 p.m.

Listen online at


Yinzer Girl said...

I'm voting Flyers. Based on the team itself and its fans. They are both truly the worst.

Adam said...

Still laughing at the concept of Penn State being a top 10 most hated team in a city where it's fans outnumber the fans of the team that hates them by a substantial margin.

But hey, it's on "The Fan." Strokes the egos of the Pitt fans, so I guess it works.

BURGH08 said...

So what radio station owned by CBS are you going on to refute him?

Yeah, that's what I thought.

Rege said...

I think Mondesi based that list on fan bases (Steelers,Panther,Pens,ETC.) not so much Pittsburgh city geography.
PennState should be flattered to be on that list, it means MH believes they are still relevant in the steel city. You should look at that as a good thing.

ukraine_train said...

The list is of the top rivals of "Pittsburgh" sports teams, i.e. teams actually located in Pittsburgh. Last time I checked, State Penn was still in Happy Valley.

BurressWithButterflywings said...

I couldn't vote for anybody but Philly. I hate everything about the team and playing style, their players, their coaches, administration, fans, and city down to the last person.

This is a team that couldn't beat anyone based on talent so they called up Reg Dunlop and the Hanson brothers to goon it up. However, there is no Ned Braden to protest and strip down to his jock and all of the filth they have brought in since has only embraced the attitude.

The fact that dirtbag Bobby Clarke is in their front office proves that point. The fact the Hartnell bit Letang, Richards tried bend Fleury's neck over the crossbar, etc. Hell, people comparing Richards to Crosby is laughable. Richards and Crosby each have 5 years in the league, Sid has over 500 points, Richards around 280. 'Nuff said there.

I even remember a Flyers fan saying when they won game 5 of the 2009 playoff series that game 'just proved why Philly is a better sports city than Pittsburgh'. One win in a series they went on to lose a game later?

Chad said...

ukraine_train: Ummmm...Penn State is a huge rival of Pitt's.

I'd move the Browns down the list. They are a bigger rival than the Brewers or UConn. Even though we have owned them for some time. But as my idiot Brown's friend reminds me, the Browns did help keep the Steelers out of the playoffs last year

Papa Eo said...

I think the inclusion of Penn State was just to fire up some emotion here on this comment board.

Personally, I think the New England Patriots could/ should be on there. Granted they have gotten the better of the Steelers in the majority of the recent battles, the games were on HUGE stages. I didn't realize the magnitude of the hatred I still have for them until I found myself happy that the RAVENS beat them last year and we wouldn't have to see Belichik and Brady go deep into the playoffs again. Maybe toss the Pats to 8, bump the Brownies to 10, and drop PSU altogether.

Also, the Philadelphia Flyers and Washington Capitals should be flipped in my opinion. As much as I hate the Capitals, the Flyers are a divisional opponent and we've played them in big, BIG games over the past couple years. Flyers/ Pens is more of a hatred, Caps/ Pens is more of a rivalry, in my opinion. Every time I see that stupi, unimaginative winged P, I start to twitch.

AJ said...

I am showing my age here, but I remember a time when the Philadelphia Phillies would easily have been in the top 3 of that list. There were some fantastic matchups between the Bucs and Phils.

I miss having a pro baseball team in Pittsburgh.

ukraine_train said...

Chad: My comment was directed towards Adam who though Penn State shouldn't be on the list. I totally agree that Penn State should be on the list.

Spatula said...

Because I went to school in Cleveland (CWRU) from 1979 to 1981 and had to put up with idiot Brown's fans, I have to vote for the Browns. I know it hasn't been much of a rivalry lately, but my hate burns purely.

Unknown said...

I voted for the Purple Browns (Ravens). The rivalry stays so strong because generally both teams are relevant each year. But my most hated team in all of sports is not up there (understandably): the Atlanta Braves.

Rege said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rege said...

I'm with Burress: Living in Harrisburg I've had the pleasure to see 5 games in Philly. If you have any doubt about your hatred, you will leave with a distain like no other after seeing those scum bags in their natural environment. I’ve never seen any Pens ever be as a deranged as them. Jeez, they were chanting Crosby Sucks during the SCF last season.

Spatula said...

I taught all three of my daughters to yell, "Touchdown Steelers! Browns stink!" from the time they were two years old. Hearing a two-year-old kid yell this at the top of her lungs in a high, piping voice is hilarious. They would yell this out of the blue and it would crack me up.

BurressWithButterflywings said...

EO, that ripoff logo is also another good reason! They truly make me physically angry, but so do the Ravens!

I was listening in the car last night to the beginning of the Ravens/Panthers game on Sirius and it was the Panthers broadcast crew. Their play by play guy made a comment that it took Ray Lewis " 10 minutes to gyrate his way onto the field, but who is going to tell someone who has killed a grown man with his bare hands to stop that".

I honestly thought I imagined him saying it because it was so awesome. Even more ironic is that Eugen Robinson is the color commentator and he was arrested for soliciting a prostitute at the same SB Lewis and his buddies killed those dudes.

Adam said...

Hey, to everyone that noted that Penn State isn't in Pittsburgh, thanks, I get that mixed up all the time.

That doesn't change the fact that there are more Penn State fans than Pitt fans in the city. It's a fact. The newspapers and radio stations (pretend) to cover Penn State for that reason. Like it or not, it's a Pittsburgh team because the vast majority of college fans in the area are Penn State fans and not Pitt fans.

Therfore, it's really silly to suggest Penn State is the rival of the city. It's Pitt's rival. That's it. That's not enough to make it a hated team over teams in the pros that Pitt and Penn State fans collectively dislike.

You're really trying to tell me more Pittsburghers hate Penn State than hate the Patriots? or Rangers? Or Colts?

Give me a break.

Rege said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rege said...

Adam, so by that merit b/c PSU in your eyes is a "Pittsburgh" team, Michigan State should be included on that list?

Chad said...

ukraine_train: sorry, I misunderstood.

75% of my friends are Pitt fans and of the Penn State fans I know most live at least 30 miles outside Pittsburgh. I have no strong feeling towards either but I tend to root for Pitt. Mostly because I find most Penn State fans obnoxious and arrogant.

Adam said...

@ Roge

Michigan State isn't included on Penn State's top 10 list, so no, probably not.

It's not like I expect Ohio State and Michigan to be on there either, because most Pitt fans are probably indifferent toward them, and might even root for them against Penn State.

I think Notre Dame should be where Penn State is, though, and possibly Miami considering how both fan bases tend to despise them.

BurressWithButterflywings said...

I would like to formally petition Don to stop mentioning Penn State on this site so that I don't have to scroll through 140 paragraph posts from Adam because he feels Penn State, God's gift to the Universe, has been unjustly slighted one way or another.

to everyone but Adam:

There are 9 other teams listed on that post. Let's discuss how much we hate them as opposed to geogrpahy and demographics.

The Abiding Dude said...

Geezeus Chirst do I agree with you Burress.

And I agree with Papa Eo as well. Pats deserve that spot MUCH more than a team that doesn't even qualify on my list of Pitt "rivals" that I hate. It's impossible to hate a team they don't play? I don't hate them, it's the Nitter fans that I hate. And I wouldn't even hate on them so much, but they always find a way into making me dislike them with their nonsensical talk.

Top hated rival (for me) is WVU with the Pats in second.

Adam said...

@ Burress

If you're going to write a blog, or worse go on a radio station's website and state that Penn State is a bigger Pittsburgh target than the freaking New England Patriots, you deserve to be called out for it.

I hate the Patriots. You hate the Patriots. We all hate the Patriots. Why aren't they on this list? Like someone said above, Don just likes to stoke the passions and get arguments like this going, regardless of whether his arguments make sense or are factually correct (Penn State's policy on Pitt ain't dying when Joe does, sorry folks).

Scott Zigarovich said...

I think there are too many hockey teams on list. We don't really have a rivalry with the Red Wings and the Capitals. We almost never play the Red Wings, and the Capitals aren't competitive with us in the playoffs. I think the rivalry between Crosby and Ovechkin is bigger than the rivalry between Pittsburgh and Washington. Even if you factor in the Jagr trade, which is probably before most of the current Pens "fans" watched hockey, I still wouldn't call them a top 10 rival. If we have a string of 3 or 4 years where we meet in the conference finals and the teams play a bunch of good series, then I would put them really high up on the list.

I think the Dallas Cowboys should be on the list. They call themselves America's team. That is insulting to every Steeler fan.

I think Penn State deserves to be on the list at 10, but no higher. They may not play Pitt, but the rivalry is still there. Look at how many times we compare the two teams on this site. If and hopefully when the series gets renewed, I think everyone will realize just how much fun this rivalry can be.

Adam said...

@ Scott

How does Penn State being PITT'S rival make it a rivalry of the city though?

There are more Penn State alums and fans in Pittsburgh than Pitt fans. Period. Shouldn't it be Pitt who's the rival then? Just because Penn State isn't located in Pittsburgh doesn't mean A) It's not a local team and B) It's a rival on the level of a Dallas, or New England, or something like that.

It's silly. I realize Don is a Pitt fan, but most of us in this city aren't. He's just doing PR for the Fan at this point.

The Abiding Dude said...

I laugh that you insist there are more PSU fans in this city. Just because it is your opinion does not make it fact.

truello said...

I have a tough time believing there are more Penn State fans in Pittsburgh than there are Pitt fans.

I live here. I work here. And have my whole life. I see 1 Penn State logo for every 5 Pitt logos. Perhaps I subliminally avoid talking to Penn State fans but I also see and work with many more Pitt fans.

However I'm not too dumb to admit I could be wrong, so I'd love to see some real statistics other than "Adam from PSU says..."

The Abiding Dude said...

Even better...the 3 or 4 PSU fans that I know of are Pitt basketball fans. And I shit you not, this is truth.

BurressWithButterflywings said...

I don't subliminally avoid PSU fans, I make a concerted effort to steer clear because of people like freaking Adam.

My best friend's wife is a Nitter. I went up with him once to visit and got a jug of Iced Tea from the Holy Creamery. It was the same as any jug of iced tea we get at Sheetz or Sunoco. I referred to it as a "Thug Jug" and was scolded by her and her roomates who informed me it can't be a thug jug b/c it was from the Creamery. That is their general disposition and I am a misanthrope to begin with, but they are literally not much different than Branch Davidians.

Regarding the Pens/Caps rivalry goes back a ways. I remember in the early 90's wanting to crawl through the TV and choke Dino Ciccarelli and Joey Juneau in many a playoff series in which we always seemed to climb out of a 3-1 deficit.

Anonymous said...

I don't think there are more PSU fans in Pittsburgh than Pitt fans, would love to see this fact printed somewhere.

The only issues I have with the list are the Caps being number 1 and Detroit being on the list at all. Would rather have New England on the list than Red Wings and would like to shuffle the top 3: Ravens as most hated, then Flyers and Caps. Division rivals have got to go first.

Rege said...

So Adam since you consider PSU a "Pittsburgh Team" then couldn't technically PITT be on this very list? So Pitt Football is a rival of Pittsburgh City in your mind?

The Abiding Dude said...

Joe Juneau reference....AWESOME!!!!!

Dallas Mike said...


Pretty good characterization of the cult mentality at PSU. I received my undergraduate degrees from PSU, and it was stunning to witness the nostalgic musings and the Kool-Aid being consumed by students and alumni. Then again, it sometimes reminds me of the loyal Pirate fans. Maybe I'm the cynical one with the abnormal perspective, but I am able to separate an education from my childhood following of Pitt athletics. State College was a great place to spend 4 years, but it is not more compelling than other small college towns all over the U.S. But if you think PSU fans are bad, I need to introduce you to some Texas A&M fans. The definition of cult is an Aggie fan.


Great point about the Phillies as a former Pirate rival. The hatred of Pete Rose was my earliest memory of baseball. I can also remember the days when the Mets would have been #1 on that list. How about those Muck the Fets shirts that were worn to the stadium? Safe to say those days are long gone.

JW said...

I think Adam is pushing hard to crack this top 10 list himself.

Scott Zigarovich said...


My four years at PSU gave me a similar opinion. I have a theory as to why this is the case though. Most students at PSU are either Philly fans, New York fans, or fair weather fans. The overall terribleness of these fan bases rub off on impressionable 18 year olds and suddenly we are left with PSU fan looking a lot like Philly fan; and we all hate Philly fan.

I don't know if anybody can say how many Pitt vs. PSU fans there are in Pittsburgh. There are a lot of each.

BurressWithButterflywings said...


I have heard that about A&M fans. Are they that way with school pride or just football obsessed like the rest of the Lone Star State?

Also, I don't think it is impossible for their to be more PSU grads/fans in the PGH area than Pitt fans. I base this on the fact that PSU has a larger student body, thus more graduates per class. Not to mention locality of branch campuses.

Scott Zigarovich said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Scott Zigarovich said...


There really are a lot of Pitt and PSU fans in the area. I am also sure that there are a lot of people who like both schools and hate both schools.

Papa Eo said...

The Penguins/ Capitals rivalry may have been even BETTER in the 90s than it is today, and was at least in the sheer volume of playoff matchups. The Jagr trade did nothing to make Pens fans hate the Caps, it just made Jags look like a dick. Like a previous commenter said, Ciccarelli, Juneau, and even more so Dale Hunter, Don Beaupre, and Peter Bondra were big time public enemies back in the day.

That being said, Flyers are still much worse. I'd root for the house in a game of Blackjack with my house on the line before I'd root for the orange and black.

BurressWithButterflywings said...


I don't understand, I was saying that it's not unreasonable to believe there could be more PSU fans based on those facts.......


If you have the "Pens Again" VHS, there is a summary of our series vs. the Caps which includes Ciccarelli scoring a Hat Trick and the announcer dubbing it "The Dino Ciccarelli SHow". That always made me so angry.

Adam said...

@ Burress, Dallas Mike

There's a difference between a kool-aid drinker and someone who just doesn't like their school being misrepresented, as Don and many commenters on here have a tendency to do. There's not really much difference between State College and the South Hills community of Pittsburgh other than the gigantic university stuck in the middle. I'm not one to suggest it's this magical cloud kingdom where everyone's whistling a happy tune. It's a nice, safe town, but that's about it, so don't paint me as some person who think life only exists within the Valley.

@ Scott

I work at a student publication in State College (you can figure out which one I'm talking about) and the sports staff is made up almost completely of East Coast sports fans and they drive me nuts. You think I take myself seriously, you need to spend 10 minutes in a meeting there. I'd leave in a heartbeat if it was a good career move.

As for everyone else who thinks it's insane that Penn State could have more alumni than Pitt in Allegheny County, look, Pitt has 200,000 alumni worldwide. Penn State is nearly double that at over 450,000 and the home to the densest population of those is Allegheny County. Even if all of Pitt's alumni still lived here, Penn State wouldn't be too far behind.

Adam said...

And folks, this seriously isn't a Penn State vs. Pitt issue.

It's just numbers. There is a significant Penn State population in Pittsburgh and that population generally supports the other Pittsburgh teams. To suggest that because Pitt and Penn State being rivals makes Penn State a rival of the CITY is silly, because the city is made up of a large amount of Penn Stater's. Apparantly Don and a lot of people here put geographics ahead of demographics, but the fact remains, if you took a city-wide poll of whether people hated New England, Dallas, or Penn State the most, Penn State would be a distant, distant third, which is why this list is crock used to stir up the 40+ comments we've already generated.

Bravo Don.

Scott Zigarovich said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Scott Zigarovich said...


I totally agree with you. I was just putting it out there that it really is impossible to gauge something like fans of a team. All we really know for sure is that both teams have a big following in the area.


I guess we have found some common ground. The New York and Philly fans at PSU are impossible to deal with. I honestly feel bad for you having to not only spend time with these people, but actually work with them. The New York fans are worse than the Philly fans. Not only are most of them from New Jersey, but they really know nothing about the sports they claim to be interested in. There are also a ton of people who like the Giants, but like the Jets when they're good, and like the Yankees when they win the World Series, and like they Knicks with lebron, and Rangers on Tuesday, and the Islanders on the second Thursday of each month.

Anonymous said...

If only someone we knew ran a website with a large amount of Pittsburgh followers who during their weekly 'Hot Button' article could run a poll to see who is hated the most, New England, Dallas or Penn State, maybe even throw in Detroit. O well, one can dream.

By the way very good list overall. Maybe I'm just a little too young to hate the Caps as much as some.

JW said...

As an apparent minority, i.e. a Pitt fan, does our extreme hatred for Penn St. make up for what we seem to lack in numbers?

I'm joking of course, as I largely have a great ambivalence toward State College, other than the fact that my wife is an alum. No worries though, she's almost as big a Pitt hoops fan as me.

This entire argument (PSU as a Pittsburgh rival) reeks of incredible insecurity. I don't care how many alums/fans live in Western Pa. (and I agree there are a ton). Until they are renamed the Pennsylvania State University Within Proximity of Pittsburgh (PSUWPP) I think you can relax and allow Pitt a moment of perspective.

The Abiding Dude said... stop it. You stop be sensical RIGHT now. I don't like agreeing with you on anyhting but found myself just doing that.

Adam said...

@ JW

So let me get this straight. Let's say, for the sake of discussion, it's 75-25 Pitt in terms of breakdown (that completely throws out West Virginia).

That's still only 75% of people in the city that'd consider Penn State a rival, while I bet it'd be darned near 100% of people who hate New England or Indianapolis, or another pro team that has wronged the Steelers, Pirates, or Penguins.

JW said...


First, I never said nor do I believe the split to be anywhere near 75-25.

As far as your argument goes, I do dispute your reasoning to an extent. I think most Pitt fans feel more hatred toward PSU than Steelers or Pens fans feel toward all but a few teams: Patriots, Ravens, probably Browns, maybe Cowboys; Flyers, maybe Caps. Any other opponents are more or less simply opponents: teams we hate for that game, but not too much beyond that.

Don't you think there's room for Pitt-PSU in the Top 10? Do you really think Steelers fans have a hatred for Indy? Why???

JW said...

My point is that you can't turn an argument about passion into a mathematical equation involving fractions, percentages, etc.

Pittsburgh'er in AZ said...

Using YOUR list, this is the order most of us would prefer:

10) Milwaukee Brewers

Why? They are hated, but we are the Pirates. End of Story.

09) Penn State Football

Why? We haven’t played in ten years. Nobody gives a shit.

08) Detroit Red Wings

Why? We have played TWO meaningful series with them EVER. And they have been in the last three years. Not much of a “rivalry” in my eyes.

07) UCONN Basketball

Why? We have been handed a few miserable defeats by these guys. For all college BBall fans, this deserves to be on the list.

06) Cincinatti Bengals

Why? Just because they are the Bungles and everytime I see a video or picture from hushmanhashbrown cleaning his shoes with our beloved Terrible Towel, I want to punch a tiger.

05) Washington Capitals

Why? Because it’s not so much the team as it is Ovechkin. If he played for the Tamba Bay Lighting I would hate him too.

04) WVU Sports

Why? In my eyes it is one of the best football rivalries in all of college football. It is the epitome of Western Pennsylvania football, only these guys play it for free. Hatred is the only fuel the Panthers need.

03) Cleveland Browns

Why? Because they are Cleveland. Plain and simple. As a matter of fact, we yinzers seem to hate any team with orange (see Flyers). The only reason this isn’t higher is the fact that it is so one-sided. Cleveland Sucks. Period.

02) Philadelphia Flyers

Why? Because we can all remember that OT goal by Primeau at the Igloo at 3:00am or so. Broke Pens fans hearts everywhere. The Penguins took 6 years to get over that heart breaking loss.

01) Baltimore Ravens

Why? There is nothing I can say that we as Pittsburgh’ers don’t already know. They WERE the Browns. They have beat us, we have beat them. Regardless of who’s playing QB, or what our record/their record is, EVERYONE knows it’s going to be a smash-mouth, injury prone, “call your grandma, the kitchen is burning down” game.

End of Story. If you agree, go ahead and click that little green thumbs up botton on the side of my post. Go Steelers!

okel dokel said...

Wow! I knew Adam had to be involved with this many comments.

I wasn't sure whether to laugh, or cry, when I saw the Brewers on this list. Seriously. The Fucking Brewers!

Just goes to show you how far the Succos have fallen. I agree with those who feel the Phillies would have been on this list quite a few years ago. Hell, I would have added "The Big Red Machine" as well. That is where my hatred of Pete Rose was cultivated.

IMO the Capitals are not #1. I do have a deep seated hatred for this franchise but this is from Dale Hunter, Dino Cicerelli, Rod Langway, Steve Konowalchuk, their completely lame fan base and douchebag owner. Not AO, although he is gaining ground quickly. I still think I hate Semin more.

A few years ago I would have added the Rangers. Remember Adam Graves breaking Mario's wrist in 92? I still hate those Blue shirts even though they are laughable.

My loathing for the Ravens, Flyers and Bengals is palpable. I can literally taste it! Living in Philly I hear way too much from the cretinous fan base, but I still hate the Ravens the most. They have the same foul stench as the Browns, only three times worse.

I would offer the Jaguars and Titans for your consideration.

I agree with those who feel the Patriots should be on the list but the Titans, when you consider their Oilers lineage, have been a Steeler rival for decades.

The Mike Renfro non-touchdown, Donnie Shell breaking Earl Campbell's ribs, Dan Pastorini running for his life every year and Bum Phillips still trying to kick the door down. That was an easy team to hate.

Add Steve McNair, LenDale White, Jevon Kearse and Jeff Fisher and it is easy to see why my disdain continues.

It did not take long, but I have a strong dislike for the Jaguars. Coughlin, Brunell, Taylor, Garrard and Del Rio - I remember when my God son told me he was a Jaguars fan. He dropped a few points in my book and that day and has never gained those points back.

10. Jaguars
9. Patriots
8. WVU
7. Villanova
6. Titans/Oilers
5. Browns
4. Capitals
3. Bengals
2. Flyers
1. Ravens

JD said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JD said...

I have no idea why the bengals are on this list...i have never considered them a rival just a team when i look at the schedule, i just assume 2 victorys...

Borsk said...

This is old news now, but how a person compiling this list doesn't immediately put Baltimore and Philly at the top and then divide up the rest is confusing.

The Baltimore/Philly rivalries run deep, bone deep. The Capitals and Red Wings rivalries exist only in hockey and only for a game or two a season. It's not even that big of a deal.

Especially Detroit. We've played them twice, they beat us, we beat them. Ho hum.