a newspaper man adjusts his pen

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Why Pittsburgh bleeds black and gold

With a bit of embarrassment today, I had to admit to a question from a Texas visitor to Pittsburgh that I didn't know why all of the city's professional sports teams wear black and gold uniforms.

It seemed to be sacrilegious for a native member of Steelers Nation like me to not have a clue as to why the city bleeds these colors.

But, there was some redemption when the guy from Dallas turned up his nose at Primanti Brothers, a Pittsburgh landmark restaurant that smothers its sandwiches with French fries and coleslaw.

So to make sure I never make such a faux pas again while hosting an out-of-towner around the Burgh, tonight I looked to Google for enlightenment about why the Penguins and Pirates also wear these colors. It turned out the colors were taken from Pittsburgh's official city flag, which was inspired by the family coat of arms of William Pitt, the English gentlemen for whom the city was named.

Janet Pickel, a reporter at the Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa., of all places, appears to best explain the story. Click here for the skinny.

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