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Steelers tops in NFL merchandise

| Wednesday, June 7, 2006

If it seems like Steelers paraphernalia is everywhere you look -- even outside of western Pennsylvania -- that's because it is.

For the first time since 1980, NFL-licensed Steelers merchandise is the top seller among the 32 NFL teams. Second on the list is the Philadelphia Eagles, marking just the third time that teams from the same state ranked Nos. 1 and 2 in sales.

In 1990 and 1991, the Los Angeles Raiders and the San Francisco 49ers were first and second, respectively. The league began tracking merchandise sales in 1979.

The popularity of Steelers players such as retired tailback Jerome Bettis, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, Super Bowl MVP Hines Ward and Pro Bowl strong safety Troy Polamalu enhanced the team's image in Pittsburgh and beyond during their Super Bowl title run.

Last year, the Eagles held the top spot, but the Steelers were able to knock their in-state foes off their perch. It is just the second time the Steelers ranked No. 1.

In 1980, the franchise was coming off its fourth Super Bowl in six years.

After the Steelers and Eagles, the Oakland Raiders ranked third on this year's list, followed by the Dallas Cowboys, the New England Patriots, the Green Bay Packers, the Indianapolis Colts, the Chicago Bears, the New York Giants and the Denver Broncos.

Sales were tracked from April 1, 2005 until March 31, 2006.

Popular viewing

Last season, 13 NFL games had as many or more viewers than prime-time's five most-watched May season finales, up from 11 such NFL games in 2004). The Steelers participated in five of those games.

Game Date Average Viewers

Super Bowl XL (Seattle vs. Pittsburgh), ABC Feb. 5, 2006 90.7 million viewers

AFC Championship Game (Pittsburgh vs. Denver), CBS Jan. 22, 2006 39.0 million viewers

American Idol (season finale), FOX May 24, 2006 36.4 million viewers

NFC Championship Game (Carolina vs. Seattle), FOX Jan. 22, 2006 35.2 million viewers

AFC Divisional (Pittsburgh vs. Indianapolis), CBS Jan. 15, 2006 33.9 million viewers

NFC Divisional (Carolina vs. Chicago), FOX Jan. 15, 2006 32.7 million viewers

AFC Wild Card (Pittsburgh vs. Cincinnati), CBS Jan. 8, 2006 30.4 million viewers

NFL Thanksgiving Game (Denver vs. Dallas), CBS Nov. 24, 2005 26.4 million viewers

AFC Divisional (New England vs. Denver), CBS Jan. 14, 2006 26.3 million viewers

House (season finale), FOX May 23, 2006 25.5 million viewers

CSI (season finale), CBS May 18, 2006 25.4 million viewers

NFC Divisional (Washington vs. Seattle), FOX Jan. 14, 2006 24.3 million viewers

NFL National Game (mostly NY Giants vs. Seattle), FOX Nov. 27, 2005 24.246 million viewers

Desperate Housewives (season finale), ABC May 21, 2006 24.233 million viewers

NFL National Game (mostly Wash. vs. Philadelphia), FOX Jan. 1, 2006 23.1 million viewers

NFC Wild Card (Carolina vs. NY Giants), FOX Jan. 8, 2006 22.8 million viewers

Monday Night Football (Pittsburgh vs. Indianapolis), ABC Nov. 28, 2005 22.636 million viewers

Grey's Anatomy (season finale-part 1), ABC May 14, 2006 22.599 million viewers

Source: NFL, Nielsen Media Research

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