PITTSBURGH — A rare Super Bowl stumble by the Steelers. A season- and perhaps career-changing injury to Sidney Crosby. Signs of life from the Pittsburgh Pirates.

All highlighted another eventful but championship-less year in western Pennsylvania sports.

The Steelers tied the Dallas Cowboys' NFL record by making an eighth Super Bowl appearance in 2011. But they couldn't bring home their seventh Lombardi Trophy, falling to the Green Bay Packers.

The Pittsburgh Penguins began 2011 in the NHL Winter Classic at Heinz Field. The Penguins lost the game, then lost superstar Sidney Crosby for more than 10 months due to concussion-like symptoms. He returned briefly last month until his symptoms resurfaced.

And while the Pirates didn't end their ugly 18-season losing streak, the club did post a 15-win improvement over 2010.