But who needs a game to break the tie. All you really need is the proper use of some Cold, Hard Football Facts. Fortunately, these facts don't come with that same day-after-game jock strap smell.
1. Ohio is one of the premier NFL pipelines
Ohio should simply be known as a state that consistently produces NFL talent. For proof look no further than the most recent NFL draft. Of the 255 players selected, 18 played their high school football in Ohio
. Included in the group of Ohioans are three first-round picks (Ted Ginn Jr., Brady Quinn and Anthony Gonzalez) and the most recent Heisman Trophy winner (Troy Smith). Not too shabby for a state whose two professional teams have a combined zero Super Bowl titles in 82 tries and whose last NFL championship came in 1964.
Ohio produces about 1 NFL player for every 138,000 residents. Only Texas (1 per 134,000) and Florida (1 per 102,000) are better. Even those numbers pale in comparison to the state of Washington, which produces one Starbucks drinker for every 2.3 residents.
2. Pennsylvania is the home of Legends
Pennsylvania has produced 26 players enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame – more than any other state (California, a state several times larger in population, is second with 25 HOFers). The list of Pennsylvanians includes legends such as Joe Montana, Johnny Unitas and Chuck Bednarik, the captain of the CHFF All-Time 11
And, of course, if you're looking at the most important position on the football field – quarterback – no state produces talent like PA. There are 23 Modern Era (two-platoon era) quarterbacks in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Six of them – that's better than 1 in 4 for those of you keeping score at home – came out Pennsylvania: Montana, Unitas, George Blanda, Dan Marino, Joe Namath and Jim Kelly.
Ohio, for its part, is well represented with 21 members in the Hall of Fame. This group includes two quarterbacks: Len Dawson and Roger Staubach.
3. PA's recent talent pool does not live up to tradition
PA can still claim some top-level NFL talent, as evidenced by its nine NFL Pro Bowlers from a year ago. Marvin Harrison is a sure-fire Hall of Famer out of Philadelphia, while Ty Law, from Aliquippa near Pittsburgh, has had a memorable career and may have his own shot at HOF immortability.
But of the 255 NFL draftees this season, just three came from Pennsylvania. That's the same number from American Samoa, an isolated territory of fewer than 60,000 residents far from the Gridiron Breadbasket
. PA products Darrelle Revis and Paul Posluszny are both good players, and the Jets and Bills are surely happy to have them. But is that really the best Pennsylvania can do? (The other PA draft product was Steve Breaston, a – what else – WR grabbed by Arizona.)
Overall, the talent coming out of PA has fallen far behind that found in a number of other states, including California, Texas, Florida, and, yes, even arch-rival Ohio.
Pennsylvania is the state that has produced more Hall of Famers than any other. Yet in 2007 it only had one more player drafted than Idaho. Seriously, Idaho? Even worse: Boise State probably would have smoked Penn State if they met up last season.
4. The Gridiron Breadbasket is smaller than we give it credit for
We generally include all of Pennsylvania as part of the Gridiron Breadbasket
. But the truth is that the mother lode of PA pigskin talent is found in the western half of the state, and around Pittsburgh in particular. All three 2007 NFL draftees out of Pennsylvania came from the Pittsburgh area. And those six quarterbacks who represent the state in Canton? That's right. They're all from the Pittsburgh area, too.
The Bottom Line
Contributions from Pennsylvania and Ohio are both firmly implanted in football lore at all levels. Pennsylvania has a slightly greater history of producing legends, but there is little doubt Ohio has surpassed PA in modern-day results.
The case for Ohio is strong: the state has more Div. 1 college football programs; its preeminent program (Ohio State) in recent years has far outpaced the performance of PA's top football power (Penn State); it gave birth to the NFL and the best players in the history of the game ultimately find their way back to the sport's spiritual home, in Canton, Ohio; and, finally, the high schools of the Buckeye State produce more NFL talent, and more talent per capita, than those of the Keystone State.
But don't worry, PA. You'll always have Intercourse ... which is more than the average CHFF troll can say.