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Pittsburgh's dedication to sports has a long history. All of its major professional sports teams—the Steelers of the National Football League, the Penguins of the National Hockey League, and the Pirates share the same team colors, the official city colors of black and gold. This tradition of solidarity is unique to the city of Pittsburgh. The black-and-gold color scheme has since become widely associated with the city and personified in its famous Terrible Towel.
The Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team, often referred to as the Bucs or sometimes the Buccos (derived from buccaneer), are the city's oldest professional sports franchise having been founded in 1882, and play in the Central Division of the National League. The Pirates are nine-time National League Pennant winners and five-time World Series Champions. The Pirates played in the first World's Series in 1903, losing to the Boston Americans, but won in 1909, 1925, 1960, 1971, as well as in their most recent World Series appearance against the Baltimore Orioles in 1979. The Pirates play in PNC Park, which is annually ranked as one of the most beautiful Major League baseball parks because of its location on the banks of the Allegheny River and the view of the Pittsburgh skyline. An ESPN.com feature remarked that "[t]his is the perfect blend of location, history, design, comfort and baseball…The best stadium in baseball is in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh also has a rich history in Negro League baseball teams with the former Pittsburgh Crawfords and the Homestead Grays credited with as many as 14 league titles and 11 Hall of Famers between them. In addition, the Pittsburgh Pirates were the first Major League team to field an all-nonwhite lineup in 1971. One sportswriter claimed, "No city is more synonymous with black baseball than Pittsburgh."
Football is the most popular sport in the region, with high school games routinely getting over 10,000 fans per game as well as extensive press coverage. College football is also popular, with the majority of residents supporting the local Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) Panthers of the University of Pittsburgh who compete in the Big East Conference. Pitt's program has a storied tradition and claims nine national championships throughout its history, and most recently won the 2009 Meineke Car Care Bowl en route to a 10-3 record. Some Pittsburghers also cheer for the Division I FBS teams of Penn State University and West Virginia University, with both teams also receiving coverage in the local papers. Additionally, local universities Duquesne and Robert Morris field lower Division I Football Championship Division (FCS) teams. Arguably the most popular team in the city is the NFL's Pittsburgh Steelers, who have been owned by the Rooney family since the team's founding in 1933. The Steelers receive extensive media coverage and with a long waiting list for season tickets, have sold out every home game since 1972 The team won four Super Bowls in a six-year span in the 1970s, a fifth championship in 2006, and a league record sixth Super Bowl in 2009. Both the Steelers and Pitt Panthers play home games at Heinz Field.
Hockey in Pittsburgh has become increasingly popular on both the amateur and professional levels since the Pittsburgh Penguins of the NHL were founded in 1967. The Penguins have won four Eastern Conference championships (1991, 1992, 2008, and 2009) and three Stanley Cup championships in 1991, 1992, and 2009. They are owned by Mario Lemieux, who was a pivotal player for the team from 1984–2006, and play their home games at Mellon Arena, which is being replaced by the Consol Energy Center that is slated to open for the 2010–2011 NHL season. Robert Morris University also fields a Division I college hockey team which plays at the Island Sports Center.